UW News

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences


July 17, 2017

Bilingual babies: Study shows how exposure to a foreign language ignites infants’ learning

UW student Jinnie Yi works with a toddler at one of the participating infant education centers in Madrid. A study by the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences shows that infants and young children can develop bilingual skills through interactive learning.

  For years, scientists and parents alike have touted the benefits of introducing babies to two languages: Bilingual experience has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, especially problem-solving. And for infants raised in households where two languages are spoken, that bilingual learning happens almost effortlessly. But how can babies in monolingual households develop such skills?…


April 25, 2017

With autism diagnoses on the rise, UW establishes clinic for babies

Research scientist Tanya St. John works with a baby at the University of Washington Autism Center.

To new parents, a baby’s every gurgle and glance are fascinating, from a smile at mom or dad to a reach for a colorful toy. But when a baby doesn’t look at parents and caregivers, imitate gestures and sounds, or engage in play, parents have questions. And a growing number are bringing their babies to…


February 15, 2017

Predicting autism: Researchers find autism biomarkers in infancy

Two people looking at a computer

By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of infants who have older siblings with autism, scientists were able to correctly identify 80 percent of the babies who would be subsequently diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age.


July 14, 2014

Months before their first words, babies’ brains rehearse speech mechanics

A year-old baby sits in a brain scanner, called magnetoencephalography -- a noninvasive approach to measuring brain activity. The baby listens to speech sounds like "da" and "ta" played over headphones while researchers record her brain responses.

Research from UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences shows that in 7- and 11-month-old infants speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.


February 11, 2013

Noisy classroom simulation aids comprehension in hearing-impaired children

Student wears hearing aid in class

A new report by a UW researcher showed about a 50 percent increase in speech comprehension in background noise when children with hearing impairments followed a three-week auditory training regimen.