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Spring 2015

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

dr. abc

Word Work

Study narrows the gap between the onset of language problems and subsequent diagnoses 

Cynthia Kilpatrick and Jodi Tommerdahl

Cynthia Kilpatrick and Jodi Tommerdahl

Language is a deceptively simple, powerful tool. As the writer Penelope Lively said, “Language tethers us to the world; without it, we spin like atoms.” Thus when children exhibit problems with early language acquisition, it is paramount that caregivers not only recognize the issue, but also address it as soon as possible.

Jodi Tommerdahl, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, and Cynthia Kilpatrick, assistant professor of linguistics, are conducting research that could lead to better language assessments for children and timelier intervention for language learning difficulties. For their study, Drs. Tommerdahl and Kilpatrick used hidden cameras to observe parent-child interactions, recording each dyad twice within a one-week period.

The researchers found that language concerns among children could reliably be diagnosed by analyzing smaller utterance samples—about 100 spoken words at a time—than previously thought.

“Clinicians and linguists spend a lot of time recording language samples,” says Kilpatrick. “You want the shortest sample possible to give you the best, most reliable results.” Smaller sample sizes could help clinicians speed up the diagnosis process and potentially help children much earlier in life. 

“At the moment, language impairment is often undiagnosed, and when it is, it’s later than you’d want it to be,” explains Tommerdahl. “If we can find meaningful differences in typical and atypical language in children at age 2 instead of age 6, we’re just that much closer to developing more appropriate treatments for those kids and getting them back on track both in the linguistic and educational senses.”

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