Language Acquisition and Disorders (LAnD)
The LAnD research unit studies cognitive and language development in typical (including bilingual children) and in atypical population (i.e. children with language delay or disorders, children with Language Impairment, children with Down syndrome, Deaf children). The final goal in this area is to better understand language development processes and their cognitive and social correlates, from a developmental neuropsychological perspective.
Our current effort is focused on answering four major questions:
- What are the factors (neurobiological and environmental) that contribute to explain the variability in language acquisition of monolingual and bilingual children with typical or atypical development, and at risk for language and communication?
- How modality of language perception and production (i.e. spoken vs signed) affects early acquisition and development in terms of timing and developmental milestones?
- How the relationship among components (e.g. lexicon, grammar, pragmatic) and domains (comprehension and production) changes as a function of different languages and modalities?
- Which is the neuropsychological profile that characterizes children with language delay, and what factors predict the developmental outcome?
Different methodologies belonging to developmental psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and education are applied, encouraging collaboration among disciplines and enforcing partnerships with clinicians and educators. The research unit has developed instruments and methodologies to collect and analyze data referring to communicative and linguistic development that are now widespread and often used also with clinical and educational purposes.