The development of language is incredibly complex, and is important for a wide range of positive outcomes later in life, such as academic achievement, social ability and relationships.
There is evidence that the left side of the brain is very important for language development, but at the moment we do not know how the left side of the brain becomes specialised for language.
One interesting theory is that exposure to testosterone in the womb may have an influence.
The aim of the Testosterone and Language in Kids (TALK) study is to understand how testosterone exposure in the womb may be related to brain growth before birth, and language development after birth and during early childhood.
The TALK study has now recruited 501 women from 18 weeks’ gestation and are currently following their children until 3½ years of age.
Four major touch points, that assess early language and social-emotional development, will occur across this long-term study:
6-9 months old
24 months old (2 years)
30 months old (2½ years)
42 months old (3½ years)
The information the TALK study collects will help us to better understand how children acquire the remarkable skill of language and how we can best support children who may have difficulties learning language.
We have now completed recruitment, the first touch point assessments (6-9mths) and are currently working through the second phase (2 years).