Child Language Lab

PEOPLE IN THE LAB

Lab Director
Luigi Girolametto, PhD
l.girolametto@utoronto.ca

Luigi is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology. Current research in his Child Language Lab with Dr. Elina Mainela-Arnold (University of Turku, Finland) focuses on indicators of language disorders in bilingual children. Luigi joined the department in 1992 when it was located in the Old Church on College Street. Since then, he has received several mentorship and teaching awards (Faculty of Medicine, SAC, Centre for Health Promotion, U of T), an Editors’ Award from Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, and numerous appointments as visiting professor (at the University of British Columbia, LaTrobe University, Melbourne,  University of Siena,  and the National Research Council, Rome). Luigi has been an investigator on 20 research grants from Ontario, Canadian, and Australian sources that range in topics, including: parent training, literacy, specific language impairment, early childhood education, and bilingualism. He and his colleagues have published over 75 journal articles and chapters that advance the practice of speech-language pathology with preschoolers. He has been an invited speaker at international conferences in Australia, Italy, the United States, and Canada. At U of T, Luigi has been the past Chair of the Department and served as Vice Dean, Graduate Education for a brief period.

Post Doctoral Fellow
Ji Sook Park, PhD
jisook.park@utoronto.ca

Ji Sook received her PhD from Penn State University in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Language Science. Her dissertation topic focused on cognitive mechanisms involved with language abilities in typically developing monolingual and bilingual children.  She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Madison-Wisconsin on the topic of executive functioning in monolingual and bilingual children. Her current research in the Child Language Lab focuses on the use of statistical tasks to examine the language abilities of bilingual children with and without SLI. The children in this study will be 8 to 9-year-old children who speak both Cantonese and English. Some of her recent publications include:

Kaushanskaya, M., Park, J.S., Gangopadhyay, I., Davidson, M. & Ellis Weismer, S. (2016). The relationship between executive functions and language abilities in children: A latent variables approach. Journal of Speech, Language,  Hearing Research, 60, 912-923.

Park, J.S., Miller, C., & Mainela-Arnold, E. (2015). Processing speech measures as clinical marked for children with language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language,  Hearing Research, 58, 954-960.

Park, J.S., Mainela-Arnold, E., & Miller, C. (2015). Information processing speed as a predictor of IQ in children with and without specific language impairment in grades 3 and 8. Journal of Communication Disorders, 53, 57-69.

OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Statistical Learning in Bilingual Children (funded by SSHRC)

Dr. Ji Sook Park, a post doctoral fellow, is coordinating this study in the Child Language Lab. The study is lead by Dr. Elina Mainela-Arnold, formerly of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto.  Currently, Dr. Mainela-Arnold is Professor at the Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, University of Turku, Finland. Dr. Luigi Girolametto is a co-investigator. Collaborators include: Dr. Carol Miller, Dr. Daniel Weiss, Dr. Janet Van Hell (Pennsylvania State University) and Mr. David Haffner (Toronto District School Board).

A large number of children in Canada and around the world enter school speaking a language other than the language used for instruction. A traditional approach to assessing age appropriateness of language abilities relies on comparison of students’ language abilities to monolingual norms. These norms are typically available to educators in the language of instruction, which is often the bilingual students’ second language (L2). In many cases, the norms are not available for bilingual students’ home language or first language (L1). Image result for bilingualismEven when available, monolingual norms are often not an appropriate point of reference for the various contexts these bilingual experience students come from. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not students’ abilities are primarily influenced by differences in bilingual exposure, and which students are at risk of language learning difficulties. Thus, school personnel are faced with a serious obstacle in determining what services, if any, a child needs in order to succeed academically. This research will address that obstacle by investigating whether performance on tasks that do not involve use of language, namely statistical learning tasks, can be used to predict dual language abilities independent of the degree of bilingual language exposure. Such tasks could be used to predict individual differences in dual language ability regardless of the languages spoken by the child.

 

BOOKS

Growing up Talking in Preschools: Strategies for Promoting Communication and Language.

This book, designed for preschool teachers and SLPs working with preschoolers (3-5 years) was written in collaboration with Luigi Marotta and Daniela Onofrio. The first three chapters summarize the development of communication, language and executive functions. The last six chapters describe case studies of children with diverse language disorders and interventions that teachers and SLPs may provide in collaboration. The chapters cover adults’ language input, dialogic reading strategies, facilitation of peer interaction, encouragement of narrative language, development of play and language and finally how to use these strategies applied to bilingual children with language disorders.  The text is published by Erickson in Italian: Crescere parlando nelle scuole dell’infanzia: Strategie per la promozione della comunicazione e del linguaggio. (Girolametto, Marotta, & Onofrio, 2019).

Parent-focused Intervention for Late Talkers (CNR, Rome, Italy)

family sitting on a sofa reading a book This parent program was designed in collaboration with Cristina Caselli, Director of LaCAM Lab, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR. Collaborators include: Arianna Bello (University of Roma3), Daniela Onofrio (CNR, Rome), and Lorena Remi (ATS Valpadana, Mantova). The eight week intervention program is for Italian families whose children are identified as having delayed vocabulary development. The program focuses on shared book reading and incorporates key language teaching strategies, such as focused stimulation and expansions. The program has been field-tested in Mantova and the parent/professional guidebook published by Erickson in Italian: Parent-coaching per l’intervento precoce sul linguaggio: Percorsi di lettura dialogica nel programma “Oltre il libro”. (Girolametto, Bello, Onofrio, Remi, Caselli, 2017). Data from two parent programs held in Mantova have been published in: Psicologia clinica dello sviluppo, April, 2019.

CHILD LANGUAGE LAB: PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES (2014-2018)

Levickis P, Reilly S, Girolametto L, Ukoumunne OC, Wake M. (2018). A replicable, low-burden mechanism for observing, recording and analysing mother-child interaction in population research. Child: Care, Health, and Development. 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12615

Levickis, P., Reilly, S., Girolametto, L., Obioha, U., & Wake, M. (2018). Associations between maternal responsive linguistic input and child language performance at age 4 in a community-based sample of slow-to-talk toddlers. Child: Care, Health and Development. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12600

Rezzonico, S., Golberg, A., Milburn, T., Belletti, A., & Girolametto, L. (2017). English Verb Accuracy of Bilingual Cantonese-English Preschoolers. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 48, 153-167.

Milburn, T., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Weitzman, E., Greenberg, J., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2016). Cognitive, linguistic and print-related predictors of preschool children`s word spelling and name writing. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(1), 111-136.

Rezzonico, S., Goldberg, A., Mak, K., Yap, S., Milburn, T., Belletti, A., & Girolametto, L. (2016). Narratives in Two Languages: Storytelling of Bilingual Cantonese–English Preschoolers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 521-532.

Rezzonico, S., Goldberg, A., Mak, K., Yap, S., Milburn, T., Belletti, A., & Girolametto, L. (2016). Narratives in Two Languages: Storytelling of Bilingual Cantonese–English Preschoolers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 521-532.

Katz, E. & Girolametto, L. (2015). Peer-mediated intervention for pre-schoolers with ASD: Effects on responses and initiations. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 6, 565-576.

Girard, L. & Girolametto, L. (2015). Fostering children’s alphabet knowledge at school entry through engagement in family literacy activities. Children`s Research Digest, 2(2), 72-79.

Rezzonico, S; Chen, X.; Cleave, P.; Greenberg, J.; Hipfner-Boucher, K.;Johnson, C.; Milburn, T.; Pelletier, J.; Weitzman, E. & Girolametto, L. (2015). Oral Narratives in Monolingual and Bilingual Children Preschoolers with SLI. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 50(6), 830-841.

Milburn, T., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Greenberg, J., Weitzman, E., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2015). Effects of coaching on educators’ and preschoolers’ use of references to print and phonological awareness during a small group craft/writing activity. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 46(2), 94-111.

Namasivayam, A., Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Greenberg, J., Weitzman, E., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2015). Effects of coaching on educators’ vocabulary-teaching strategies during shared reading. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(4), 346-356.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Greenberg, J., Weitzman, E., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2015). Narrative abilities in subgroups of English Language Learners and monolingual peers. International Journal of Bilingualism, 19(6), 677-692.

Stich, M., Girolametto, L., Johnson, C. J., Cleave, P.L. & Chen, X. (2015). Contextual effects on the conversations of mothers and their children with SLI. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36, (2), 323-344.

Levickis, P., Reilly, S., Girolametto, L., Obioha, U., & Wake, M. (2014). Maternal behaviors that promote early language acquisition in slow-to-talk toddlers: Prospective community-based study. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 35, (4), 274-281.

Hipfner-Boucher, K., Milburn, T., Greenberg, J., Weitzman, E., Pelletier, J., & Girolametto, L. (2014). Relationships between preschoolers’ oral language and phonological awareness. First Language, 34(2), 178-197.

Milburn, T., Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E., & Greenberg, J. (2014). Enhancing preschool educators’ ability to facilitate conversations during shared book reading. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 14(1), 105-140.

CHILD LANGUAGE LAB: PUBLICATIONS IN ITALIAN (2002-2018)

Girolametto, L., Marotta, L., & Onofrio, L. (2019). Crescere parlando nella scuola dell’infanzia: Strategie per la promozione della comunicazione e del linguaggio. Trento, Italy: Erickson.

Bello, A., Onofrio, D., Remi, L., Caselli, M.C., & Girolametto, L. (in press). La lettura dialogica per genitori di bambini con ritardo del linguaggio di 2-3 anni. Psicologia clinica dello sviluppo, 1, 2019, aprile.

Bonifacio, S., Girolametto, L., & Montico, M. (2017). Abilità conversazionali nei bambini late talker di 24-36 mesi. Quaderni dell’Associazione Culturale Pediatri, 4, 159-162.

Girolametto, L., Bello, A., Onofrio, D., & Caselli, M.C. (2017). Parent-coaching per l’intervento precoce sul linguaggio: Percorsi di lettura dialogica nel programma “Oltre il Libro”. Trento, Italy: Erickson.

Bonifacio, S., Girolametto, L., & Montico, M. (2013). Le Abilità Socio-Conversazionali del Bambino: Questionario e Dati Normativi dal 12 ai 36 mesi d’età. Milano, Italy: FrancoAngeli.

Bonifacio, S. Montico, M., & Girolametto, L. (2013). Lo sviluppo delle abilità socio-conversazionali del bambino dai 12 ai 36 mesi. Quaderni acp, 20(6), 248-251.

Bonifacio, S., Girolametto, L., Bruno, M. (2012). Come conversano i bambini a 12, 18, e 24 mesi? Quaderni acp, 19(5), 200-203.

Bonifacio, S. & Girolametto, L. (2007). Abilità socio-conversazionali in un gruppo di bambini parlatori tardivi sottoposti ad un intervento precoce. Psichiatria dell’Infanzia e dell’Adolescenza, 7(3), 547-558.

Bonifacio, S., Girolametto, L., Bulligan, M., Callegari, M., Vignola, S., Zocconi, E. (2007). Assertive and responsive conversational skills of Italian-speaking late talkers. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 42 (5), 607-623.

Bonifacio, S., & Girolametto, L. (2005). Applicazione clinica del questionario Le Abilità Socio-Conversazionali Del Bambino. Psichiatria dell’Infanzia e dell”Adolescenza, 72, 583-595.

Girolametto, L., Bonifacio, S., Visini, C., Weitzman, E., Zocconi, E., & Pearce, P. S. (2002). Mother-child interactions in Canada and Italy: Linguistic responsiveness to late-talking toddlers. International Journal of Communication and Language Disorders, 37, 153-171.