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Friday, November 11, 2011

a lab rat on a great day

Ok, so Owen wasn't really a lab rat last Thursday, but we did finally get our visit in to the Language Acquisition Lab at U of I.  We had scheduled to do it months ago, but Owen got sick but I called to reschedule this week after being reminded by Amy and Troy's visit.

To make the most of our Thursday without other kiddos, we spent an hour or so at the library getting new books and playing with all the toys.  Then we headed to campus and the psychology building.  When we arrived, they let him play with a bunch of new toys while I filled out paperwork on which words Owen was saying/signing and which ones he could understand.  They let me know a little about the study, but told me they'd tell me more details after he watched a short video.  I was supposed to hold him on my lap, but not watch the screen as so I wouldn't sway which way he was looking.
He fell in love with a couple of the trucks and really didn't want to go into the other room to watch the video but did great once it started.  Afterward, we went back where he could play and talked about the study.  I was really intrigued since it was something I had thought about while teaching kindergarten and first grade.  Please excuse my rough interpretation of the study.  They were studying how children understand the meanings of new words, particularly verbs.  Verbs are harder to learn because you can't point to an apple and say "apple." 

So in this study, Owen heard the verb "crad" in differingn contexts with a video or picture along with it.  For example, I heard "Mommy is cradding Daddy" and "Grandpa is going to crad the baby."  (In kindergarten, we called these nonsense words).  Then during the test phase, Owen watched 2 animations on each side of the TV screen, showing two different things (one more like a verb, one like a noun).  When the video said "He's kradding him."  They wanted to see which screen he would look at longer to see if he was figuring out what the word krad meant.  And she said he did!  Really fascinating!  When we left, he walked around as if he was the big man on campus.  He could be here as a real student in 17 years! :)
Then we had a special lunch date at Panera and then went to the IDEA store.  I found everything I needed for the Christmas wreath I want to make for a really small fraction of the price so I was super excited!  Owen found this great little drumset.  If it had been in a little better shape, I may have been convinced to add it to his Christmas list. :)  It was such a fun day of hanging out together!


  1. this post brought back memories of when we took mady to the LAL when she was this age. I remember mark and I joked about "cradding" all day. Such a fun word.

    We just took Mady there again about 2 weeks ago. I love doing their studies!


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