Genetics of Musical Rhythm and Children with Specific Language Impairment

Published by Luke Morais on

Genetics of Musical Rhythm and Children with Specific Language Impairment


What is Specific Language Impairment (SLI)?

SLI is a condition that affects a child’s ability to develop language skills. People with SLI may have difficulty communicating. It is also known as developmental language disorder or language delay. SLI is common and affects around 7 to 10 percent of children. Some of these children may also have other medical conditions or intellectual disabilities. SLI can last into adulthood if it is not treated.

Scientists do not know what causes SLI, but they believe that genetics may play a role. People who have SLI are more likely to have family members who also have trouble with language. About 50 to 70 percent of children with SLI have at least one family member who has the same problem.


How was the research done?

This project includes three studies that look at how rhythm and language are linked. The first of the three studies had the help of BioVU. The other two studies did not use BioVU but complimented the first study. The first study aimed to investigate the genetic makeup of rhythm skills by introducing musical rhythm to adult participants. The first study focuses on the genetics of people who have a range of musical rhythm skills. The second study will see how infants react to different rhythm tests. Next, they will compare these results to their parents’ rhythm skills. They want to see if early childhood and family rhythm can affect children’s risk for SLI. The third study aims to test the impact of musical rhythm on language in children. The study will see if listening to music impacts grammatical tasks in children.


What is the importance of this study?

The studies will provide a better understanding of the genetics and neurology of rhythm. They will also help with new research on other communication disorders. The results of the studies could help predict the response to treatment. They can also explore the connections between rhythm biomarkers and brain function.