Infant Communication Study Looking for Volunteers!

I have participated in this study and had a really positive experience.  The description of what it entails is below.  Here is the contact info if you want to sign up or want more info! ~Michaela or my phone number (402) 472-4353.  Thank you.
Teresa A. Parrill, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Project Manager
UNL Infant Communication Lab
This project has been ongoing for a couple years and the purpose is to test and improve a new assessment measure being developed by Cynthia Cress to examine early communication for children with severe impairments.  In order to do this, we must also use this assessment on typically developing infants so the investigators can compare to normally developing communication skills, which is the focus of this phase of the study.  Another purpose of this assessment is to help identify children who have communication impairments at an earlier age, or appear to be at risk for future communication impairments and other disabilities.

We will be “recruiting” at least 100 families of infants ages 2-12 months to participate.  We have already successfully completed this process with over 220 infants ages 2-12 months since fall of 2011, so we have quite a bit of experience and a good system to follow.   If you agree to participate, we would contact you to set up 2 visits in your home or another setting of your choice.  We will schedule these visits at times that are convenient for you and this can include daytime, evening or weekend hours.  Each visit would take approximately an hour each.  The visits will be completed by upper level students or graduate students in the Speech-Pathology training program at UNL.

During the first visit, the student will ask you sign permission forms and will ask you some basic health history questions about your child.  The student will then interact directly with you and your child for approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on the age of your child.  This interaction will involve a very large bag of fun toys and we will show the toys to your child and interact with your child through play.  We will also ask you to interact and play with your child in ways you normally do for a few minutes.   If there is time during this first visit, the student also will ask you some questions about your child’s overall development using a checklist called the Vineland.  At the end of the first visit, we will leave several short questionnaires with you fill out at your convenience, and we will pick the completed paperwork up during the second visit. I will schedule the second visit fairly soon after, and we will complete the Vineland with you during the second visit if needed.  We will interact with your child some more and will administer some items from the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, which is an assessment that looks at your child’s development in various areas including fine motor, gross motor and expressive language.  The student will be able to complete many of these items simply through observation or by asking you questions.

The second portion of this research is completed once your child turns 3-years-old.  We will contact you as we approach that date to complete another round of assessments.  This one will be a bit longer, but most of the children love the attention, we even bring stickers! 

Of course, even though I have described a carefully organized plan, we realize that it is really the babies who are in charge and dictate the schedule:)  So, we approach every visit with the utmost flexibility and are aware that a visit may need to be ended early or modified depending on how the baby is doing.  We also understand how busy families are and we are happy to reschedule any visits with you as needed, if you should need to cancel.  As a small token of our thanks, we offer a small stipend of $8 an hour for your time, and will send you a keepsake copy of the first visit that we videotape.

As stated earlier, we have already completed this process with over 300 babies and it went amazingly well.  We received positive feedback from families and it seemed to be a nice chance for parents to “sit back” a bit and watch and play with their babies, and talk about their development.