The goal of the Center for Perception and Communication in Children (CPCC), a COBRE at the Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH) in Omaha, Nebraska, is to expand the range of the current research program by providing a unique environment for the development of junior faculty who have an interest in understanding the consequences of childhood hearing loss for speech and language perception and processing, and ultimately describing performance of children with hearing loss in the real world. Our goal is to broaden the research program, building on its current emphasis on peripheral function in the auditory system to include state-of-the-art work on more complex issues such as the impact of hearing loss on performance in real-world environments including classrooms, the contributions of bottom-up and top down processing in children learning English as a second language, integration of visual and auditory information in speech and language acquisition, the adjustment of hearing-aid properties to promote development of temporal processing and the consequences for visual processing of vestibular deficits associated with hearing loss. Research on these topics will be facilitated by an Administration Core that will coordinate interaction with an External Advisory Committee and external mentors, a Technical Core that will provide support for hardware and software development, signal processing and room-acoustics issues and a Clinical Measurement Core that will collect clinical data, implement quality assurance procedures and assist with selection and interpretation of clinical measures. The CPCC will benefit from combined research experience of the senior faculty who will serve as core directors and mentors and from the unique patient resources and translational research environment at BTNRH. Future plans call for continued expansion of the research program to include work on speech/ language and cognitive function in children with normal hearing, taking advantage of neural imaging facilities currently under development.
The Center for Perception and Communication in Children will provide a framework to greatly expand the range of an existing, highly successful research program at the Boys Town National Research Hospital, by promoting the success of junior faculty members. This will allow the research program as a whole to tackle more complex issues and directly address the problems encountered by children with hearing loss.
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