Mechanisms of Language Learning

We have been studying how different basic cognitive skills contribute to children’s learning of language. For instance, we have examined situations where new vocabulary is taught explicitly, and how children are able to use social vs. non-social cues to learn these words as well as retain them over time. We have also investigated implicit learning situations: whether children are able to pick up on patterns that are not taught directly (i.e., procedural learning of a visual sequence), and how this relates to their language skills. Finally, we are exploring the effects of bilingualism on language and cognition in children with ASD. In particular we are interested in whether bilingualism may enhance executive functioning, specifically set-shifting skills, in bilingual relative to monolingual children with ASD, and how mono- and bilingually-exposed children with ASD compare on a range of language skills. Together these studies findings give insight into multiple sources of variability in language learning in ASD that arise from basic cognitive mechanisms.

   

Publications

Selected Conference Presentations

  1. Bang, J., & Nadig, A. (2016, May). Word learning from referential gaze versus a moving arrow in children with or without autism. Talk to be presented at the Workshop on “The role of pragmatic factors in child language processing”, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Bang, J., & Nadig, A. (2016, May). Learning about objects from referential gaze versus arrows in children with or without ASD. Poster to be presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
  3. Gonzalez-Barrero, A. & Nadig, A. (2016, April). Language skills of simultaneous and sequential bilingual children with ASD. Poster presented at the Bilingual from Birth: Process, pedagogy and policy conference, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  4. Bang, J., & Nadig, A. (2015, July). Gaze versus arrows: Referential intent and word learning in children with autism spectrum disorders and typical development. Poster presented at the Child Language Symposium, Coventry, United Kingdom.
  5. Gonzalez-Barerro, A. & Nadig, A. (2015, May). Executive functioning in bilingual children with ASD: Are there advantages of being bilingual? Poster presented at the CUNY workshop on Bilingualism and Executive Function: An Interdisciplinary Approach, New York, NY, USA.
  6. Gonzalez-Barerro, A. & Nadig, A. (2015, March). Does being bilingual impact executive functions in Autism Spectrum Disorders? Poster presented at the 2015 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  7. Bani Hani, H. & Nadig, A. (2015, March). Impaired implicit sequence learning in language-impaired children with autism but not children with SLI. Poster presented at the 2015 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  8. Bani Hani, H. & Nadig, A. (2014, November). Profile of memory & language abilities in language-impaired children with ASD. Poster to be presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference, Orlando, Florida.

Invited Talks

  1. Nadig, A. (2015). Procedural memory and language learning in neurodevelopmental disorders. City University London, Department of Psychology Seminar, London, UK, October 20.
  2. Nadig, A. (2015). Multiple routes to language learning in autism spectrum disorders. University of Sheffield, Department of Psychology Seminar, Sheffield, UK, October 16.
  3. Nadig, A. (2015). Mechanisms underlying language learning in autism spectrum disorders. Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of Psychology Seminar, Egham, Surrey, UK, October 14.
  4. Gonzalez-Barerro, A. & Nadig, A. (2015). Lexical and morphological abilities in bilingual children with autism spectrum. Bilingual Morphology at the Crossroads Workshop, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, May 20.

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