Children raised in families experiencing poverty face significant adversity early in life that puts them at much greater risk of developing learning difficulties. There is a pressing need to develop early screening and intervention strategies that will be cost-effective and easy to deliver in the community. This proposal brings together research in two fields: cognitive neuroscience and the study of infant-parent interaction, aiming to investigate how the socio-economic status of a family and poor cognitive outcomes later in life are mediated by infant’s emerging self-regulation strategies during interactions with parents in the first 12 months of life and follows up their language and communication outcomes at age 18 months. A better understanding of both social and cognitive basis of developmental difficulties those children face will lead to new early screening and possibly intervention strategies. Interdisciplinary, cutting edge eye-tracking and microanalysis of infant-parent interaction methods will be used to study the subject and to delineate the predictors of emerging problems in infant speech, language and communication development. Application work leading to the development of new screening tools and eye-tracking technology will be undertaken in partnership with academics and industry partners.
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