Schneider Receives NSF Grant to Understand Child Language Development in Louisiana


Image of Dr. Julie ScheiderDr. Julie Schneider, assistant professor in the LSU Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Photo Credit: LSU
BATON ROUGE – Dr. Julie Schneider, assistant professor in the LSU Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders (COMD), and her co-investigator, Dr. Janna Oetting, professor in COMD and associate vice president of humanities, social sciences, and allied fields in the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, were awarded a $365,766 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how researchers measure and characterize the type of language input children throughout the Deep South hear in their day-to-day lives. The grant, titled “Informing Interventions: improving the measurement of children’s vocabulary knowledge and caregiver input in the Deep South,” will examine whether the language children hear and speak in the Deep South aligns with the way their vocabulary is tested, as most research on this topic has been conducted in urban cities in the Northeast and Midwest United States.
Led by Schneider, the study will be the first of its kind to investigate community-based and dialect-based differences in vocabulary throughout the Deep South, in an effort to improve existing interventions which seek to close academic achievement gaps in childhood.
“Louisiana has such a rich culture, with a diversity of language variations, making it extremely unique. Many existing vocabulary interventions take a “one size fits all” approach, but why should we expect that children raised in Louisiana hear the same type of language at home as children in other parts of the U.S.? This grant hopes to reduce misclassifications of children’s language skills in Louisiana by more accurately characterizing their language environment,” said Schneider. 
This research aims to reduce misclassification of language delays or disorders in children who speak nonmainstream dialects such as African American English (AAE) and Southern White English (SWE) and reduce disproportionate discrimination against the characterization of their language abilities.
Dr. Schneider’s research focuses on how biological and environmental influences interact to impact a child’s path to learning and using language. Her research takes a cross-disciplinary, multimodal approach by combining behavioral methods, electroencephalography (EEG), and functional/structural MRI across the fields of neuroscience, psychology, education, and communication sciences. By combining methods and theories from different fields, her research seeks to bridge the gap between basic and applied questions. Schneider is also the director of the Language, Environment and NeuroDevelopment Lab (LEND) at LSU.  
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Contact Sarah Gaar Keller
LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences