What is Toddler Talk? Toddler Talk is a pilot study with the goal to develop and test a parenting program to improve children’s language development. The program is designed for 18-24 month-old toddlers from low-income households.

The Need for Toddler Talk. Researchers have found a significant language development gap between rich and poor children. The development of Toddler Talk was prompted by contact from public school officials who were concerned about this language development gap in their entering elementary school students. While other similar intervention programs exist, our program specifically targets low-income families and focuses on making the most of parent-child interactions despite limited time and resources.

How the Study Works. Interested participants will be asked fill out a consent form and survey. Next, participants will be randomly assigned a date when they will attend the Toddler Talk class. Half of the participants will be asked to wait six months before attending the Toddler Talk class. We realize that this may be inconvenient, but this allows us to accurately test the benefits of the class. Also, all participants must commit to returning six months later to fill out follow-up surveys. This delayed-treatment strategy allows us to effectively analyze the effects of attending the Toddler Talk class.

How was Toddler Talk Developed? The curriculum, videos, and supplemental materials for Toddler Talk were developed by a team of researchers at Cornell (view team members here). We identified key concepts that successfully improved language development in lab settings and translated these into teachable concepts for parents.

The Future of Toddler Talk. Currently, Toddler Talk is in a pilot study testing phase based in upstate New York. In the future, we plan to conduct a much larger study with multiple sites. Ultimately, we envision this program being widely disseminated nationwide.