Special Issue "The First 1000 Days of Life: Investigating Early Markers for Promoting Healthy Language Development"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 March 2022.
Interests: language and cognition in populations with atypical development; linguistic processes in bilingualism; development of training for the enhancement of language and narrative skills in preschool years (typical and atypical development); analysis of language skills in children from families with low SES
Interests: typical and atypical development of communication, language, cognitive, motor and academic skills; preterm birth; caregiver–infant interaction; early markers of language delay; infancy; childhood
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Interests: interactions between biological constraints and perceptual experience in the development of neurocognitive specialization; infant cognition; early precursors for cognitive development; cultural influence on infant cognitive development; development and plasticity of face processing biases; developmental origins of spatial biases in mental representation; implicit learning skills and serial order processing in infancy
The first 1000 days of life are recognized as a time of tremendous potential and enormous vulnerability, as the brain is developing rapidly. The basic skills that children develop during early infancy predict success in the later development of complex, high level abilities such as language, reading and writing, and social skills. Any difficulty or shortcut during this early stage of life have significant cascading effects on the child’s future proficiency in all these abilities.
Language acquisition is one aspect of development for which the first 1000 days are most critical. Language development is a multifactorial process influenced by numerous genetic and environmental factors. Wide interindividual differences exist in the way and rate at which children acquire language, and many neurodevelopmental disorders include impairments in language and communication skills. Therefore, a solid understanding of early markers of atypical language development across the first 2 years of life becomes crucial for early prevention and intervention.
The scope of the current Special Issue is to bring together scholars and experts in the field of typical and atypical linguistic development to provide a clearer picture of the crucial factors predicting language development, and to inform practitioners on how to support language acquisition in the earlier stages of development. Broadly, this Special Issue is seeking original submissions that examine the role of different factors related to typical and atypical linguistic development, which may include, but are not limited to, SES, preterm birth, multilingual contexts, educational poverty, familial risk condition, motor development, cognitive development and linguistic input.
Dr. Maja Roch
Prof. Dr. Alessandra Sansavini
Prof. Dr. Viola Macchi Cassia
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- first thousand days
- language development
- early markers
- motor development
- cognitive development
- educational poverty
- developmental language disorder
- preterm birth
- genetic risk
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: Home Language Activities and Expressive Vocabulary of Toddlers From Low-SES Monolingual families and Bilingual Immigrant Families
Authors: Elena Florit; Chiara Barachetti; Marinella Majorano; Manuela Lavelli
Affiliation: Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona, Via S. Francesco 22, 37129 Verona, Italy
Title: How does toddlers’ engagement in literacy activities influence their language abilities?
Authors: Raffaele Dicataldo; Maja Roch
Affiliation: Department of Development and Socialization Psychology, University of Padova, Italy
Abstract: The most intensive period of language development is during the first years of life, during which the brain is developing rapidly. Research has shown that children from disadvantaged households who received high-quality stimulation at a young age grew into adults who earned an average of 25% more than those who did not receive these interventions. In addition, it has been suggested that children who show a greater interest in literacy related-activities and voluntarily engage in them are likely to become better readers than children with less literacy interest. These children factors, along with their engagement in literacy activities, are important components in children’s early literacy experiences and may affect their early language development. In this study, we examined associations among maternal education, home literacy environment, children’s interest and engagement in literacy activities and language development of 44 toddlers aged between 20 and 36 months. Overall, results showed that only children’s engagement in literacy activities was related to vocabulary and morphosyntactic skills, whereas maternal education, HLE and children interest were not. These results suggest that taking advantage of individual children’s interests so as planning activities in which children are fully engaged, may be effective strategies for promoting children’s oral language development.
Title: Benefits of swimming in infants motor development: a pilot study
Authors: Irene Leo; Chiara Vivenzio; Maja Roch; Raffaele DI Cataldo; Eloisa Valenza
Affiliation: Department of Development and Socialization Psychology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
Abstract: According to the “Embodied Cognition” perspective motor development should not be considered distant from cognitive processes and auditory perception; children have to perceive something in their environment that motivates them to act and use their perceptions to refine their movements. Motor development is essential in the first months of life, as the body is the main tool through which the child explores and learn new information from the environment. This study is an exploratory study because of the scientific literature is quite rare about the benefits that motor activity carried out in the aquatic context. Baby swimming is particularly functional because it allows infants making movements that they are not able to perform on solid ground. Moreover, in water the movement becomes slower and this allows to amplify the sensory perception. However, the link between swimming and perceptual information has not always found empirical support. The aim of present study is to investigate whether there is a relationship between swimming and motor and perceptual development. To that end a group of 32 children aged between 6 and 10 months was recruited and divided into two groups, one group regularly carried out aquatic motor activities once a week for 45 minutes and the other one did not. The investigation was divided into two parts: in the first one a motor scale (Peabody Developmental Motor Scale-2) has been administered to the two groups; and, in the second one, fixation times of visual stimuli have been measured during the presentation of an auditory stimulus to both groups to verify if there was a significant statistical difference between the two groups. The results showed a statistically significant difference in favor of the group that performs aquatic motor activities in motor development. We failed to find group differences in perceptual skills. The data of fixation times of visual stimuli measured during the presentation of an auditory stimulus will be discussed and interpreted according to the most recent theoretical models. This study seems to suggest swimming’s effectiveness for motor but not specific perceptual skills.
Title: Visual implicit learning abilities in infants at familial risk for Developmental Language Disorder
Authors: Roberta Bettoni; Chiara Cantiani; Valentina Riva; Massimo Molteni; Viola Macchi Cassia; Hermann Bulf
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
Abstract: Infant’s ability to track transitional probabilities (Statistical Learning-SL) and to extract and generalize high-order rules (Rule Learning-RL) from item sequences have been proposed to be pivotal for language learning, with specific associations with different language components (vocabulary or grammar). Nonetheless, research exploring SL and RL abilities as early markers of language proficiency is scarce. This study represents the first attempt to investigate the efficiency of SL and RL skills in infants at low-risk (LR) and at high familial risk (HR) for Developmental Language Disorder. SL and RL abilities were tested in the visual modality to control learning biases that may originate from infants’ expertise in processing linguistic sounds. In the visual SL task, LR (N=21) and HR (N=19) 6-month-old infants were tested for their ability to extract high and low transitional probabilities from sequences of visual shapes and for their ability to discriminate the habituation sequences from new, random sequences. In the visual RL task, LR (N=19) and HR (N=19) 8-month-old infants were tested for their ability to extract high-order, repetition-based rules embedded in shape sequences and to discriminate the familiar rule from a novel one when both are instantiated by a new set of shapes. Results showed that both LR and HR infants learned the statistical structures embedded in the visual sequences, as revealed by post-habituation looking preference for the random sequences. Conversely, only LR, but not HR infants, were able to generalize the high-order rules extracted from the habituation sequences to the novel shapes at test. Results suggest that SL and RL mechanisms may contribute differently to developing language disorders, as SL is preserved in HR infants, while RL is impaired.