Page ContentOverviewWhy study word learning? Imagine a world without words. Could you learn? Could you work? Could you fall in love? Words give wings to our thoughts and emotions. Whereas most of us—even very young children— learn and use words readily, some people find word learning and use to be slow and laborious. As a result, they have smaller vocabularies and associated problems with reading, learning, and socializing. We want to understand why these problems occur and what we can do to help.There is another, more nerdy motivation. There are hundreds of thousands of words in any given language and each of these words represents a complex association of information: meaning, sound, and grammatical form. The lexicon, then, is a large, complicated, and exciting problem space for the learning scientist to explore! What are Developmental Language Disorders?If you would like to participate in our research, please contact Nichole Eden at Nichole.Eden@boystown.org. We would love to hear from you! Our TeamFaculty & Staff Biographies Karla McGregor is a Senior Scientist and the Director of the Word Learning Laboratory in the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language, and Learning at Boys Town National Research Hospital. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa, an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, and a Fellow of the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association. Dr. McGregor's full curriculum vitae can be viewed here. Favorite words: shenanigans, waft Tim Arbisi-Kelm is a Senior Research Associate in the Word Learning Laboratory. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral training in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are in phonological and lexical development, and the role of prosody in language disorders. Favorite word: so'sol ch'iich' Nichole Eden is a certified speech-language pathologist with a background in early language intervention. She has been employed as Laboratory Coordinator in the Word Learning Laboratory since 2006. Nichole thoroughly enjoys her work, and loves that it continually provides her with opportunities to interact with, and learn from, students, faculty, and research participants. Favorite word: mischievous Bogi Perelmutter (they pronouns) is a PhD student and Presidential Graduate Research Fellow in Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Iowa. Bogi has master's degrees in Psychology - with a specialization in Experimental & Cognitive Psychology - and Theoretical Linguistics from ELTE University of Budapest, Hungary. Bogi's research has to do with developmental language disorder in adolescence and adulthood, assistive technology, and mixed-methods studies. Favorite words: luminous, plonk Jacob Oleson is an Associate Professor in Biostatistics, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Public Health Statistics for the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. He conducts both biostatistical methodologic research and collaborative clinical research for a variety of research ventures. He has served as the lead biostatistician on numerous hearing, speech, and language related projects working closely with team members on study design, statistical methods, analysis, and results. This experience includes longitudinal, spatial, spatio-temporal, mixed models, growth curves, Bayesian models, missing data, and functional data analysis. Visit Dr. Oleson’s website. Favorite word: merryProjects The Children's Vocabulary Project (2017-2022)The objective of this project is to discover how the word learning of children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) changes over developmental time. Improving STEM Outcomes for Young Children with Language Learning Disabilities by Intervening at the Intersection of Language and Scientific Thought 2017-2019The sophisticated language of science can be a barrier to the learning of science, and this is especially true for children whose abilities to produce and comprehend language are deficient. The purpose of this project is to test interventions that have the potential to ameliorate language as a barrier to science learning. Memory and Word Learning 2012-2017The objective of this project was to examine the memory processes that support word learning in people with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Learning Strategies of Post-Secondary Students with Language Learning Disabilities 2014-2019Most studies of language learning disabilities focus on children or adolescents, not adults. Yet, at the same time we know that the largest group of incoming college students with disabilities are students with learning disabilities. While learning disabilities are heterogeneous, language is often affected. It is thus a pressing issue to find out more about college students with language learning disabilities, and locate ways these students could be supported better in achieving their educational aims. Early Word Learning (2011 – ongoing)The long-term goal of our ongoing collaboration with Drs. Natalie Munro and Elise Baker in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney is to inform early identification and interventions for children at risk for developmental language disorders, broadly defined.Useful Resources Understanding communication and communication disorders Understanding developmental disabilities Fun with words and word learning for young children Fun with words and word learning for older children and adults More fun with words and word learning for older children and adults Children’s books to read for free Child-friendly science articlesIf you would like to participate in our research, please contact Nichole Eden at Nichole.Eden@boystown.org. We would love to hear from you!