Huge Question:

How can we tackle language acquisition disorders among young individuals(infants, toddlers) with a musical approach?

Current Challenges in the field:

  • Unsolved in this field: Streamlined, effective treatment of language acquisition disorders (via a music related approach); new alternative to traditional speech therapy
  • Obstacles faced trying to solve this question:

  1. Difficulty understanding how music and language are intertwined

2. Convincing people to veer from traditional speech therapy- speech therapy is generally quite successful.

3. Lack of data related to the connection between language disorders and musical elements- technology to do so not created yet

4. Difficult testing on children/babies,

Why is Our Project Important?

  • It is a global problem affecting millions of people in everyday life:

-  Language delays are quite common. According to the University of Michigan Health System, delayed speech or language development affects 5 to 10 percent of preschool-aged children.

-  Nearly one in 12 children ages 3–17 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, language,according to results of the first nationally representative survey of these disorders among children in the United States.

- Kids are affected and so are their parents/loved ones; language key to communication and therefore nearly  all aspects of human life.

  • A solution really means a lot to them: It would allow the children to better communicate with friends, parents, and everyone going forward. This could therefore allow them to develop relationships and friendships with more ease and decrease emotional issues related to difficulty with language acquisition. Also this solution could allow more success in school(less time going to speech class/ therapy)  and could also make it easier for the children to read and write. Overall, this would allow for big improvements socially which is relevant to most parts of life.

About Our Project:

  • Huge problem: The problem is affecting millions of children and their families, and it brings so much inconvenience and struggling to their lives that we can not even imagine. Studies have been conducted to search for the link between language and music, but so far there is no clear musical approach how exactly we can tackle early language disorders and delays.
  • Radical solution & breakthrough technology: Our solution would involve computational, clinical, psychological aspects of linguistics, with breakthrough technology in collecting brain data and the machine learning computer model. We hope to get brain data from children with language disorder & delays and study the types of musical elements their brain cannot respond to, so we can build a model to see an explicit connection between language, brain and music. From there, we can apply this model to provide customized musical therapies for every kid based on their specific problem and brain data.

Previous ideas that we did not decide on:

  1. The effects of music on people that suffer accidents such as strokes - we felt that this did not have enough to do with language acquisition.
  2. Using music on infants (who show no signs of delay) to help with development - this is a good thing to do but these babies did not have a problem to begin with.

PITCH Summary:

Language delays are quite common. Delayed speech or language development affects 5 to 10 percent of preschool-aged children, and nearly one in 12 children ages 3–17 has had a disorder related to voice, speech, and language. Since language is the key to communication, this problem affects almost all aspects of their lives, and not only are the kids suffering, their parents and loved ones are also struggling. Our team hopes to find a solution to this problem that has never been explored.