Welcome!

Learning to talk is one of the most fascinating things that children do. In a few short years, almost all children go from gurgling and crying to explaining what they like and don’t like. From a baby’s first words through a preschooler’s detailed conversations, the milestones of early language development are among the most memorable events in a parent’s or caregiver’s life.

While learning to talk seems easy for most children, some children struggle with learning to talk.  It seems that children learn more easily if their parents and others in their homes talk with them a lot.  And some children have difficulty because they can’t hear their parents talking. We are interested in finding out more about how children learn to talk so we can figure out better ways of helping children who have difficulty.

The Learning to Talk research program is a collaboration among investigators at three different universities:

  • Jan Edwards (with co-investigator David Kaplan) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison;
  • Benjamin Munson at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Mary Beckman at the Ohio State University.

It is supported by you through grants from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders and from the National Science Foundation.

If you are the parent of a young child, please explore our parent resources page or learn about ways your child can participate in our studies.

If you are a fellow researcher or are just interested in the science side of our study, please explore our projects and publications pages or contact our people directly. We currently have one large research project (SKILLS4words) that is the focus of our current collaborative grant funding and two other joint research projects (Paidologos and From Math to Mouth) that are not currently supported by a grant to all three PIs.  Each project focuses on a different aspect of how children learn to talk.

If you are a student, please explore our For Students page to find out how you can become involved in this research.