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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Priming: Language Intervention for Children Prenatally Exposed to Cocaine

Katherine Bono, University of Miami
Olga Bazhenova, University of Illinois-Chicago
Ann-Marie Faria, University of Miami
Elgiz Bal, University of Illinois-Chicago
Stefanie Footer, University of Miami
Christine Hughes, University of Miami
Marygrace Yale Kaiser, University of Miami
Stephen Porges, University of Illinois-Chicago
John Denver, University of Illinois-Chicago

Abstract:The current study applied "Priming", a language intervention based on Stephen Porges' Polyvagal Theory (2001, 2003), to children prenatally exposed to cocaine who have early oral language delays (Bandstra,2002). Because oral language is a critical precursor to reading ability, oral delays lead to reading problems in elementary school (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998).

Thirty-one 18-30 month-old children prenatally exposed to cocaine, language delayed, and attending center-based early intervention participated in the study. Participants were primarily African-American and low SES. Participants were divided into four groups matched on pre-intervention cognitive ability and gender. One assessment-only group received no intervention (n=10). A second listened to unfiltered music (n=10). A third listened to computer altered, filtered music aimed at modulating the neural regulation of the middle ear muscles and improving social engagement (n=8). Children in intervention groups listened via headphones for 40 minutes for 5 consecutive days, followed with daily booster sessions of 10 minutes for 5 months. A fourth historical comparison group was also examined (n=10).

Preliminary analyses focused on changes over time in cognitive ability revealed a significant group x scores over time interaction effect (F(2,25)=3.451, p=.047) such that the historical comparison group experienced a decrease in Bayley scores, while the unfiltered and filtered groups experienced increases (Mpre-Historical Control =91.5, Mpost-Historical Control =87.2; Mpre-Unfilterd =91.6, Mpost-Historical Control =96.4; Mpre-Filtered =80.7, Mpost-Filtered =89.5). This indicates that participation in auditory Priming intervention improved Bayley scores compared with the historical comparison group. Future analyses will include the assessment-only group and examine changes in language ability.