Lab Visit FAQs

What is the Learning to Talk Lab?
The purpose of our projects is to learn more about how young children learn to talk. We are interested in the relationships between learning sounds and learning words in young children. Ultimately, we want to make sure that when children start school they have the vocabulary they need for academic success. We are also interested in how learning to code-switch (or dialect shift) affects learning to read in young children. We hope findings from our projects will help us help children who may have difficulty with learning to talk or learning to read.
Where is the Learning to Talk Lab located?
We are located on the University of MD-College Park campus in Taliaferro Hall. We can provide free parking or we can arrange for a taxi or Uber to bring you to the campus and back to your home. Our address is located on the directions page.
Do you have a study for my child’s age?

We currently have studies for children between 4 and 12 years of age. After you sign up, we will let you know if we have a current study for your child.

How do I sign up to have my child participate in a study?

You can provide us your contact information here! We will contact you to schedule a study visit according to your schedule, after a short phone interview about your child’s development.

How long does a study last?

Depending on the age of your child, a study will last 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. A full visit (from meeting you to saying goodbye) usually lasts about 1 hour, because we take time to explain everything to you before the study and answer any questions

What will my child do at a study visit?
Your child will do some fun talking and listening activities, play games with picture books or a computer, play “I Spy” on the computer while asked to listen to words and sentences, and point to pictures on the computer screen. All of these activities are designed to be fun and age-appropriate, and to give us important information about how children learn words and sounds. See Study Methods for more detail.
What will I do at the visit?
Parents are asked to complete a questionnaire about their child’s language skills and their family background, and will be able to watch their child participate.

We have different studies where your child will either sit on your lap to watch a short movie, and we have other language-related activities where your child will be with one of our staff. You can always be with your child if he or she wants you there. If you are in our reception area, you will be able to watch your child on a video monitor.

What do we get for participating in a study?

Most of our studies pay $25 for a visit. We appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to participate. Your child will receive stickers during the visit. At the end of each visit your child will choose a book and a small prize to take home.