My son was invited to the Emory Child Study Center today. Kellan is on the autism spectrum and was diagnosed nearby at Marcus Autism Center. Emory wants to know how children’s minds develop as they learn and grow. His Mom and I responded with a resounding, yes. Introducing our child to the fascinating world of research felt like the right thing to do now that he is 6-years old and about to enter first grade here in Atlanta. Kellan was fortunate enough to have attended Coralwood Center School from K-3 through Kindergarten, it’s an inclusive, public school. His lifelong educational journey includes speech therapy and occupational therapy at Coralwood and Children’s Health Care of Atlanta (CHOA) as well as speech therapy sessions though Medicare. This past summer he began ABA therapy and is thriving with his 5 day a week lessons. The Sports Techie community blog is an advocate for special needs children and adults. I believe in the power of technology as an assessment, learning and research tool. Tech together with skilled help from doctors, researchers and teachers, para professionals and therapists, as we well as family and friends, is a proven formula for success. It takes a tribe to raise a kid and as a single Dad I know Kellan has blossomed since his initial autism diagnose at 18-months by leaps and bounds, a fact anyone who knows him would attest to. The Emory Child Study Center is seeking families and guardians with children from infancy to 17 years old to participate in child development research studies so we fit the bill. This is a wonderful opportunity to assist others down the line because of the Center’s eight labs that study language, learning, memory, and how children understand space and numbers. The best part, studies are designed to be like games for children to make sure they enjoy their visits. By joining their confidential database sharable only with study personnel, you can be contacted when a study comes along that is the right age for your child. Understanding the role the brain plays in child development is a goal we are all in with.
Space and Numbers Study
Lab staff create studies taking the form of games. Several of the on-going studies include kids interacting with various types of toys, playing word games that determine how kids learn to associate words with meanings, and exploring cognitive and behavioral development in infants and young children.
Emory faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students are involved in each of these important projects, and all graduate and undergraduate lab staff are closely supervised by faculty and professional staff.
Kellan was eligible for a study to understand how he relates to numbers, math and space. Most studies take fifteen minutes to one hour. When you enter the facility, the waiting room is full of toys and games allowing kids and youth to feel comfortable. We were met immediately by our researcher, Kennedy, a current student at Princeton University, who put everyone at ease with her kindness, sincerity and understanding. Kellan loves elevator as many kids and adults on the spectrum do so we rode it up to the 4th floor which I filmed since he loves watching those videos, over and over. The lab we used had a computer, two chairs and a couch to sit on as parents can be with their child the entire time. I appreciated the opportunity to interact with Kellan during the study and was able to observe the study sessions as a proud parent.
The study was simple enough. He had two symbols on the screen, a yellow diamond and a purple star, and was told to match two other pictures with them. One had a bunch of circles in it and the other had just a few circles. I had high hopes but was realistic as Kellan has tested low before but it is usually because the testers do not use methods or terminology he is used to like the work “match” or the term, “do this.” The first round was for practice and he seemed to get the hang of matching the images with the symbols. Then the real test started and Kellan had a bit of difficulty matching without the textual prompts to aid him. It took about 5 minutes or less and he was done. He was more interested in speaking aloud and telling us the words, “diamond” and “star” since he loves talking about shapes as he becomes more verbal daily.
I asked Kennedy about the results and she explained he did well. They were looking to see if he could touch the screen as manded and perform matching. Although his did not master the task, it would only take him another session or so to do so, I’ve seen it before. All in all, I was very excited he was in a learning environment that challenged his brain while research was being conducted to further understand how kids grow, how they think and remember, and how children change as they get older while moving from one development stage to another. At the very end, Kellan was able to select a free gift for participating. Parking is free.
The Emory Child Study Center is comprised of eight research labs, all located in the Psychology and Interdisciplinary Sciences building (PAIS) on the main Emory University campus. Each lab is directed by a Department of Psychology faculty member and is staffed by child study professionals as well as graduate and undergraduate students.
- The Memory Development Lab
- The Family Narratives Lab
- The Spatial Development Lab
- Children’s and Mothers’ Emotions Lab (CAMEL)
- The BUILD Lab
- The Dilks Lab
- Emory Infant and Child Lab
Sports Techie, the research that goes on across many universities worldwide is indeed, priceless. Emory is no exception rather it is one of leading institution of learning in our country and the world. We support this university and countless others that are helping to solve issues dear to the hearts of many, including the environment.
If you are interested in participating, or if you have questions, please email Susan Perlman at [email protected], or call 404-727-7432. You may also submit your registration form online by clicking on the How To Sign Up tab at their website.
You may ask how is this related to sports tech? My answer, it’s gamification.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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