Thirty Million Words Initiative and the power of parent talk

  • February 17, 2017
  • /   Shannon Nickinson
  • /   early-learning

Can the sound of one person's voice really change the world?

Our new partners at the Thirty Million Words Initiative at the University of Chicago believe it can. And after this week, they have us believing, too.

This week, the Studer Community Institute team was fortunate to have a visit from our University of Chicago partners as we began working out the details of how their Newborn Intervention will roll out in Pensacola later this year.

Sacred Heart Hospital will be the first location where this research will be done in Pensacola, with Baptist and West Florida hospitals joining the research project later this year. All three hospitals have been great partners to work with on this project.

The Newborn Intervention is wrapping up a trial with 500 families in Chicago from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University hospitals. It aims to increase parent knowledge and beliefs about the role they can have on brain development.

Ashley Telman, project manager, says the newborn curriculum is TMW’s only intervention that is universal. It is given to all moms across income lines and demographics. The data from the pilot is being written up now, but preliminary results indicate that the video lessons do increase mom’s knowledge about early brain development and her role in it.

It also seems that the learning increase is retained, based on follow up survey work done four to six weeks after the intervention.

The pre-video questionnaire is eight to 10 questions and is iPad based so that the results are linked directly to the TMW’s software platform. All of the responses are de-identified — not linked to anyone by name.

They are trying to look at the most effective form of video, so there will be three versions of the video shown to Pensacola mothers: a 10-minute version, a 14-15 minute video, and one with prompts that must be answered before the video will resume.

The web platform where all of this is housed will randomized families automatically.

The post-video questionnaire includes quick demographic questions, question of parent knowledge of what happens if your child is flagged in the hearing screen.

Soon moms and children in our community will part of this research pool.