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Types of Child Maltreatment have Different Impacts on how Children Learn Social Behavior<img alt="Little girl sitting lonely watching friends play at the playground.The feeling was overlooked by other people. Concept child shy" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Maltreatment_child-main.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/child-maltreatment-impacts-social-behaviorTypes of Child Maltreatment have Different Impacts on how Children Learn Social Behavior2022-01-19T06:00:00Z<p>​Rewarding good behavior, punishing bad behavior, and redirecting a child to help show him or her how to act or behave across situations are tried and true reinforcement strategies that parents use every day. What Boys Town has known for years is that while these strategies work for most children, not everyone benefits as much as others – especially children who have suffered from abuse or neglect. </p><p>A new study from the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral">Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children</a>, looked specifically at reward and punishment processing, known as reinforcement processing, in children with a history of abuse or neglect. What they found was neglect, not abuse, was associated with reduced brain responses to the receipt of reward. Findings from this study demonstrate the neurodevelopmental impact of childhood maltreatment, particularly neglect, has on a child's ability to learn from reinforcement as well as the impact it has on developing serious behavioral problems.  </p><p>“It is important to understand how maltreatment affects different types of core processes necessary for socialization. That can help inform and bolster how we intervene," stated <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/karina-blair">Karina Blair, Ph.D.</a>, research scientist at Boys Town.   </p><p>Many children who come to <a href="https://www.boystown.org/about/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Boys Town</a> have a history or abuse or neglect. The incidence of exposure to early life stressors in childhood is extremely high with 1 in 8 children in the United States experiencing some form of maltreatment by 18 years of age. Child neglect is identified as the failure of a parent or caregiver to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision that a child needs to remain healthy and safe from harm. </p><p>Previous studies have typically grouped together these two early life stressors. This new research from Boys Town separated the two to better understand the developmental impact of each specific childhood stressor so that better and more effective interventions can be created to help every child. </p><p>This research provides a baseline to why traditional reinforcement learning may not be as effective for children who have experienced neglect. Boys Town can then move forward in developing and studying new intervention methods, as well as enhancing current methods, to continue to help more children who struggle with the lasting impacts of neglect. These findings are important not only to the youth care work at Boys Town, but for all who work with children who have experienced neglect.  </p><p>“To quote Father Flanagan, he said, 'There is no such thing as a bad boy, only bad environment, bad modeling and bad teaching.' Boys Town continues to work every day to uncover ways to help every child reach a positive and successful future, no matter what the child experienced in his or her past," said Dr. Blair. </p><p>Read the entire study here: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101051" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101051</a></p><h2> Study Model​<br></h2><p>The study was conducted at Boys Town. Participants included 142 adolescents ages 14-18 with varying levels of past abuse or neglect. The participants received an fMRI scan while performing a learning task that would engage the area of the brain that responds when stimulated to engage in a reward or avoid a punishment. Researchers found the level of neglect was negatively associated with responses to reward and punishment. They also found that the level of neglect was associated with the level of behavioral problems, meaning higher levels of neglect corelated with higher incidence for conduct and aggression difficulties. ​</p> <br>
New Center for Human Performance Optimization Is Awarded a Grant in Its First Month of Operation<img alt="boy exercising" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/CHPO_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/grant-awarded-to-center-for-human-performance-optimizationNew Center for Human Performance Optimization Is Awarded a Grant in Its First Month of Operation2021-12-21T06:00:00Z<p>​The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research announced the presentation of their 2021 Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Award to <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/brad-corr"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Brad Corr,</span><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> PT, DPT, </span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Associate Director of Physical Rehabilitation</span></a> at the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/human-performance-optimization"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Center for Human Performance Optimization</span></a>, for his clinical trial “Powering Through Transition: Therapeutic Power Training for Adolescents and Adults with Cerebral Palsy."</p><p>Having just opened in November of 2021, the Center for Human Performance Optimization will benefit from this $40,000 grant.</p><p>“Launching the center with a grant establishes our momentum and enhances our opportunity to grow," Corr said. “This gets us right out of the gate with a grant. It allows us to collect data, and then we use that momentum to roll it into larger grants and additional projects."</p><h2>This Project and Beyond</h2><p style="text-align:justify;">The transition from childhood to adulthood for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) is met with unique challenges. Power training, which requires moving quickly against resistance, is emerging as an intervention for pediatric physical therapists. This research intends to explore Therapeutic Power Training (TPT), which uses wearable technology often employed by elite athletes for visual feedback combined with functional movements to optimize mobility for adolescents and young adults with CP.</p><p>Corr felt that this grant was not only a vote of confidence in his research but also a tribute to the state-of-the-art facilities and world-class technology of both Boys Town's Institute for Human Neuroscience and Center for Human Performance Optimization.</p><p>“When you submit a project, you get feedback on the grant and there's always pros and cons," said Corr.  “In this instance, the environment and the collaborators were cited as primary reasons this grant got funded. The resources at the center, as well as the research resources here at Boys Town, were noted by the reviewers as strengths of the project."</p><p>Brad Corr is a physical therapist by training with over 14 years of experience working with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan. He pairs his clinical care expertise with equal experience in developing research and therapeutic interventions to support children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/human-performance-optimization"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Learn more about the Center for Human Performance Optimization</span></a>.</p>
Patterns or Phonics? Unraveling Dyslexia and Statistical Learning<img alt="young girl reading book" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/conway-dyslexia_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/dyslexia-statistical-learning-researchPatterns or Phonics? Unraveling Dyslexia and Statistical Learning2021-12-02T06:00:00Z<p>​Sometimes looking at a learning issue from a new angle will generate innovative ways of helping those who deal with the problem.</p><p>This may be the case with a new research paper published by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/christopher-conway">Christopher Conway, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/speech-language/brain-learning-language">Brain, Learning and Language Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital</a> and Sonia Singh, Ph.D., of The University of Texas at Dallas, which looks at an aspect of human cognition called statistical learning and how it relates to dyslexia.</p><p>Their paper, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.734179" target="_blank">Unraveling the Interconnections Between Statistical Learning and Dyslexia: A Review of Recent Empirical Studies</a>, examines whether dyslexia is associated with reading and language deficits or more associated with the ability to discern patterns in letters and words and the patterns related to how sounds map with the letters and words. The ability to learn these types of patterns is referred to as statistical learning.</p><h2>A Different Kind of Problem?</h2><p>“The primary view of dyslexia is that it is a phonological issue, meaning that some people have problems processing and perceiving speech sounds," Conway said</p><p>If dyslexia is a statistical learning problem, then it's not about understanding speech sounds per se, but instead about learning the patterns you're exposed to throughout your life.</p><p>Conway said that from infancy, we are perceiving and hearing sounds of speech, coming to an understanding of what order words should go in and the meanings of words. These patterns show us how to order words to make sense. The same is true of written language. Most people learn what letters can go together and what letter combinations don't make sense.</p><h2>Earlier Diagnosis Potential</h2><p>The research looks at whether dyslexia is associated with impairments in recognizing patterns when it comes time to learn to read. If you're having trouble figuring out patterns of letters and their associated sounds, that means you'll have trouble reading apart from any difficulties processing speech sounds.</p><p>“Statistical learning is a cognitive measure," Singh said, “so it can be measured outside of reading." </p><p>She said a measurement for pattern learning can provide more accessibility, so parents and healthcare providers don't have to wait until reading age to predict whether a child will have trouble reading. It has the potential to solve a dyslexia problem before it appears.</p><p>Read the full published article here: <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.734179" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2021.734179</a></p>
IMPACT Reveals the Importance of DEI in Speech Pathology and Audiology<img alt="IMPACT (Innovative Mentoring and Professional Advancement through Cultural Training) and Boys Town logos" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/IMPACT-Announcement-rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/importance-of-diversity-equity-inclusion-in-researchIMPACT Reveals the Importance of DEI in Speech Pathology and Audiology2021-12-01T06:00:00Z<p>​​​As Boys Town presents more Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) opportunities to our associates, it becomes more apparent that there are always additional avenues to be explored. That's why faculty at the <a href="/news/impact-efforts-expand-diversity-in-speech-language-pathology-audiology-fields">Boys Town Center for Perception and Communication in Children joined forces last year</a> with a new program created by Jessica Sullivan, Ph.D., of Hampton University and Lauren Calandruccio, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University called <strong>IMPACT</strong> (<strong>I</strong>nnovative <strong>M</strong>entoring and <strong>P</strong>rofessional <strong>A</strong>dvancement through <strong>C</strong>ultural <strong>T</strong>raining). </p><p>Realizing that the fields of Audiology and Speech Pathology are populated by 92% white and 96% female personnel, Drs. Sullivan and Calandruccio decided to create a program that would support diversity in the Communication Sciences and Disorder (CSD) field. </p><p>With this in mind,<strong> </strong>the professors founded IMPACT, an innovative new mentoring program run jointly between Hampton and Case Western Reserve Universities and external collaborations and mentorships with other colleges and research facilities like Boys Town.  It aims to engage and support students from underrepresented minority groups interested in CSD as a career path. IMPACT provides a supportive environment for students to explore graduate programs and navigate the graduate school application process. Students also work on building their professional networks and communication skills. In combination, the IMPACT program activities strive to help students feel confident and prepared for success in graduate school and beyond. </p><h2>IMPACT at Boys Town</h2><p>Boys Town researchers met the IMPACT program's inaugural class over virtual 'Family Dinners' and provided virtual tours of the laboratories. Students connected with researchers they could identify with and gained exposure to exciting career paths and CSD-related research initiatives through these activities.</p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/lori-leibold">Lori Leibold, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the Center for Hearing Research and the Human Auditory Development Laboratory, noted that programs like this help train the next generation of scientists and clinicians. “It was a great learning opportunity for all," stated Dr. Leibold. “ Boys Town Researchers were able to support students of color who are pursuing careers in audiology, speech-language pathology, and research. In turn, the students provided our researchers with insight into some of the difficulties they encounter in reaching their professional goals, such as racism, feeling isolated, poverty, opportunities to gain experience, and advocacy. “</p><p>Dr. Sullivan pointed out that the virtual tour of Boys Town's research facilities made a lasting impression on the students who attended. “They're working on a presentation for ASHA, and they specifically named some of the Boys Town labs that stuck with them. A year later, they are still talking about Chris Stecker's lab and Karla McGregor's mobile van to do language assessment. It's important to understand how participating in activities like these can spark and change the future of research," said Dr. Sullivan.</p><p>Boys Town looks forward to furthering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within our own Boys Town community and with further virtual and in-person activities with IMPACT scholars.  Both Boys Town and Drs. Sullivan and Calandruccio hope that by spotlighting this program, other universities will explore having an IMPACT program of their own for CSD students or similar programs for other career paths and graduate school programs that have under-represented populations.</p><p style="text-align:center;"> <img alt="IMPACT (Innovative Mentoring and Professional Advancement through Cultural Training) and Boys Town logos" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/IMPACT-Announcement.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /> </p>
Improving the Diagnosis of Otitis Media (Ear Infection) in Pediatric Patients<img alt="Toddler boy during hearing exam" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/little-boy-hearing-test_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/research-improves-ear-infection-diagnosis-in-pediatricsImproving the Diagnosis of Otitis Media (Ear Infection) in Pediatric Patients2021-11-29T06:00:00Z<p>​​Waking up in the middle of the night to a crying child suffering from an ear infection is an all too familiar event for many parents. In fact, most parents would not be surprised to learn that otitis media (ear infection) is the No. 1 cause for pediatric office visits, the No. 1 cause for antibiotic use in children, and the No. 1 cause for surgery in children. </p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital is leading the way to discover new techniques that can determine the level and type of fluid in a child's middle ear, as well as whether the cause is bacteria, a virus, or fluid build-up due to anatomical differences in a child's middle ear. Having improved diagnostic tools will help physicians deliver the most accurate diagnosis and care plan for their patients. </p><h2>Improving Otitis Media Care and Treatment</h2><ul><li>Placing tubes in ​a child's ear, while a common procedure, is still a big deal for the child and parents. At Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat, we deal with this every day. With the help of volunteer families, our researchers were able to gain valuable knowledge by examining and testing children before and after tubes were placed. We'll <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33974785/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">use this research</span></a> to better understand how fluid in the ear affects hearing, and to determine the best treatments for ear infections.</li><li>To ensure proper treatment, getting an accurate diagnosis is vital, but making that diagnosis as simple and objective as possible is important when dealing with young children. The Boys Town research team is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33928915/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">studying a new objective middle-ear test</span></a> that involves simply placing an ear tip with a microphone in a child's ear. This new method gives us valuable information about middle-ear status, lessening the chance for a misdiagnosis.</li><li>Lastly, we are researching ways to refine the information we get from our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34470321/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">advanced diagnostic techniques</span></a>. This involves applying computational models to the data we get from an exam on a child with an ear infection to further improve the new diagnostic tools we are developing.</li></ul><h2> Accurate Diagnosis Means Improved Outcomes</h2><p>Getting the diagnosis right is of the utmost importance. While doctors do an admirable job of diagnosing and treating otitis media, there's a need for more accurate measures that can determine the level and type of fluid in a child's middle ear, as well as whether the cause is bacteria, a virus, or fluid build-up due to the dysfunction of the child's middle ear.</p><p>The Boys Town Center for Hearing Research is leading the way to discover new techniques. </p><p>"We want to better understand ear infections and differentiate between causes more effectively," said <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/gabrielle-merchant"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Gabrielle Merchant, Au.D., Ph.D.</span></a>, Director of the Translational Auditory Physiology and Perception Laboratory. "By improving the diagnosis, we are improving the treatment and ultimately improving the lives of children." </p><h2> Three Recent Research Papers</h2><p>The Center for Hearing Research recently published three papers on improving diagnostic testing for otitis media.</p><p>"Our goal is to find objective ways to say 'yes, there's an ear infection' or 'no, there is not bacteria present' or 'it is caused by a virus,'" Dr. Merchant said. "Ultimately, we want to avoid unnecessary surgeries or unnecessary use of antibiotics while ensuring the child is properly treated."</p><p>The first paper, “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33974785/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Audiologic Profiles of Children with Otitis Media with Effusion</span></a>," illustrates research done with children recruited from ear, nose and throat clinics who were having tubes placed. </p><p>The researchers first perform a battery of standard hearing tests, including tympanometry and behavioral audiometric testing, following up with experimental tests that are FDA-approved.</p><p>After the tubes are placed, the effusion is studied for the type and amount of fluid present, which is then compared to the results from testing. This work found that the amount, or volume, of effusion is an important determinant of the impact a given episode of otitis media has on a child's hearing. </p><p>The second paper, “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33928915/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Improving the Differential Diagnosis of Otitis Media with Effusion Using Wideband Acoustic Immittance (WAI)</span></a>," utilizes a relatively new diagnostic tool called wideband acoustic immittance (WAI). WAI measures how the ear drum is moving in an affected ear. This, in turn, can tell us things about what is happening behind the ear drum. This paper found that WAI could determine the volume of effusion in a child's ear. This is particularly significant given the findings of the first paper, which demonstrated that volume is an important factor as to how a child is hearing. </p><p>"It's quick and easy," Dr. Merchant said. "We place a microphone in a child's ear, press a button, then take it out."</p><p>Dr. Merchant said that larger sample sizes are needed before moving this diagnostic tool to clinical settings. The advantage of WAI is that it takes the subjectivity out of assessment of ear drum and middle-ear status. </p><p>The third paper, “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34470321/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Influence of Otitis Media with Effusion on Middle-Ear Impedance Estimated from Wideband Acoustic Immittance Measurements</span></a>," takes WAI testing further by applying computational models to the findings from the first and second papers to improve the diagnostic utility of WAI further. The models estimate characteristics of the ear canal and help isolate the influence of the effusion and ear infection on the ear drum motion, all to drive and maximize precision and accuracy.</p>
Unlike Any Other Physical Therapy Clinic – Introducing Boys Town’s Center for Human Performance Optimization<img alt="Boy excercising" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/CHPO_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/physical-therapy-mobility-research-centerUnlike Any Other Physical Therapy Clinic – Introducing Boys Town’s Center for Human Performance Optimization2021-11-08T06:00:00Z<p>​The Center for Human Performance Optimization at Boys Town National Research Hospital is a place where adolescents who have a physical disability are surrounded by dedicated physical therapists, leading researchers and the most advanced motion technology and equipment to create a unique hybrid in neuroscience care.  This collaborative research style makes the center and the institute unique, not only in Omaha but also nationwide.</p><p>“We have built a world-class environment where we can research cutting-edge physical therapy interventions and training," said Brad Corr, PT, DPT, Associate Director of the Center for Human Performance Optimization (CHPO). “Father Flanagan recognized the importance and strong influence environment has in how we think, perform and learn. The environment in the CHPO is designed to feel more like a fitness or sports facility than a medical clinic."</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mmh4rBVGCnw?rel=0" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div> <p>This 2,300-square-foot physical therapy center is filled with equipment that has been specially chosen to enhance skills for kids of all abilities, such as the 60+ foot track with overhead robotics to optimize walking and provide safely guided fall strategies without risk of injury, and specialized split belt and curved treadmills to increase leg power and improve gait. With the Institute for Human Neuroscience next door, collaboration will focus on developing rapid prototypes of technology and therapeutics so that every individual can have a breakthrough in improving their mobility. It is very unusual to find a scenario where science and clinical practices are almost indistinguishable from each other.</p><p>“Our mission is to change the way America cares for children and families," said Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Vice President of Boys Town Research. “Research plays a major role in that change. Boys Town has a unique approach of blending research and clinical care that generates new and better ways to improve and transform lives. It's what we do every day across all our research, guiding us to better outcomes and helping more children, everywhere." </p><p>Learn more about <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/human-performance-optimization"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Center for Human Performance Optimization</span></a>.</p>
The Dizzy Child<img alt="girl at playground" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Playground-girl_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/diagnosing-dizziness-in-childrenThe Dizzy Child2021-10-14T05:00:00Z<p>​​​While <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0030666521001274?via%3Dihub" target="_blank"><em>The Dizzy Child</em></a>, the title of a new paper published in the <em>Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America</em>, by Elizabeth Kelly, M.D., Neurotologist, Kristen Janky, Au.D., Ph.D., Clinical Audiologist and Research Scientist, and Jessie Patterson, Au.D., Ph.D., Clinical and Research Audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, may sound somewhat lighthearted, up to 15% of children have problems with dizziness. </p><p>Unfortunately, most children with dizziness are diagnosed with "unspecified dizziness", which highlights the difficulty many practitioners have in determining the cause of dizziness in children. Therefore, understanding the cause of dizziness in children is a growing area of research.</p><h2>Difficulty in Diagnosing</h2><p>Young children have trouble communicating their symptoms, thus inhibiting medical provider's from making an accurate diagnosis. Balance problems can cause children a great deal of discomfort and stress because they can affect gross motor development and visual acuity. It's no surprise that balance disorders can then impact children's schoolwork, social life, and interactions with family. The longer dizziness goes on, the more a child is negatively impacted. Thus, it's important for caregivers to be aware of changes in a child's behavior or motor function.</p><h2>Aids for Caregivers</h2><p>Two pediatric questionnaires, the <a href="https://www.vumc.org/balance-lab/sites/vumc.org.balance-lab/files/public_files/DHI%20-%20PC.pdf" target="_blank">Pediatric Dizziness Handicap Inventory</a> and the <a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/Pediatric-Vestibular-Symptom-Questionnaire.pdf">Pediatric Vestibu​lar Symptom Questionnaire​</a>​ are both available for children age 6 and older to determine the severity of vestibular symptoms. The results garnered from these tools can help a child's medical provider identify the severity of dizziness and monitor changes in symptoms following treatment. </p><h2>Vestibular Evaluation in Children</h2><p>Vestibular loss often results in delayed gross motor skills, such as sitting, standing, and learning to walk. Thus, the medical history can play a critical role in determining whether a child has an underlying vestibular disorder. Children with hearing loss are more likely to have vestibular loss; therefore, children with history of gross motor delay and with history of hearing loss are good candidates for a vestibular evaluation. </p><p>There are a variety of reasons children can become dizzy. For example, vestibular migraines are the most common cause of dizziness in children. Thankfully, some modifications medical and vestibular assessments can be completed in children.</p><p>Learn more about our <a href="/services/ear-nose-throat-institute/hearing-balance/balance-vestibular-evaluations">Balance and Vestibular Evaluations</a> and the <a href="/services/ear-nose-throat-institute/hearing-balance/vestibular-tests-treatments">Vestibular Tests and Treatments</a> offered at Boys Town National Research Hospital. </p><p>To read the full article, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.otc.2021.06.002" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1016/j.otc.2021.06.002</a>.</p>
Annual Research Project Review Showcases Collaboration<img alt="family participates in hearing research" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/EACPhoto_rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/research-collaboration-reviewAnnual Research Project Review Showcases Collaboration2021-09-28T05:00:00Z<p>​We know knowledge is power and that when you collaborate with others it can lead to important insights and discoveries. That's the goal behind the External Advisory Committee at Boys Town's Center for Perception and Communication in Children.<br></p><p>Each year, a group of Boys Town scientists present their research projects during a two-day meeting with an external advisory group that includes five members who are national leaders in their field of study. Boys Town researchers gain valuable input and feedback from committee members, as well as experience presenting and discussing their research.</p><p>Our 2021 research presentations included: </p><ul><li> <strong> <em>Improving the Diagnosis of Ear Infections</em></strong><br> by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/gabrielle-merchant">Gabrielle Merchant, Au.D., Ph.D.</a>, Director of Translational Auditory Physiology and Perception Laboratory</li><li> <strong><em>Understanding How Face Masks Affect Speech Perception </em></strong> <br>by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/kaylah-lalonde">Kaylah Lalonde, Ph.D.</a>, Director of Audiovisual Speech Processing Laboratory</li><li> <strong><em>Development of Online Tool for Speech-Language Genetics Research </em></strong> <br>by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/hope-sparks-lancaster">Hope Sparks Lancaster, Ph.D.</a>, Director of Etiologies of Language and Literacy Laboratory</li><li> <strong><em>Studying Self-Talk in Children </em></strong> <br>by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/angela-aubuchon">Angela AuBuchon, Ph.D.</a>, Director of Working Memory and Language Laboratory </li></ul><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/cobre/external-advisory-committee">Watch videos</a> on the four projects that were presented, and learn more about the External Advisory Committee supporting the Center for Perception and Communication in Children.</p><p>External Advisory Committee members include:  </p><ul><li>Lisa Bedore, Ph.D., a leading expert in developmental language disorders and language learning in children who are Spanish-English bilinguals</li><li> <a href="https://bbs.utdallas.edu/language-in-motion/" target="_blank">Lisa Goffman, Ph.D.</a>, known for her work investigating how the integration of language, speech, and motor interactions impacts typical and atypical language development. </li><li> <a href="https://www.queensu.ca/psychology/speech-perception-and-production-lab" target="_blank">Kevin Munhall, Ph.D.</a>, recognized for his work on the multisensory processes and brain structures involved in face-to-face communication.</li><li> <a href="http://apc.psych.umn.edu/" target="_blank">Andrew Oxenham, Ph.D.</a>, respected for his work on auditory and speech perception, addressing questions related to pitch, speech recognition with acoustic and/or electric hearing, and auditory scene analysis.</li><li> <a href="https://keck.usc.edu/faculty-search/robert-shannon/" target="_blank">Robert Shannon, Ph.D.</a>, known for his work on the perception of speech and non-speech sounds by people with cochlear implants, brainstem implants, and midbrain implants. </li></ul>