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The PLOs project studies the development of language and communication. A systematic understanding of language development is needed to promote the identification of early signs of development of language and communication impairments.It is estimated that about 20% of 7-year-old children have reduced language skills, and that most of them would already have atypical language development by the age of 4. Risk factors include, for example, familial risk for neurodevelopmental disorders,premature birth, and low birth weight. Late talkers are also an at-risk group. Early identification of risk markers that can predict the development of language and communication impairments promotes more effective methods of screening, prevention, early intervention and diagnosis. This has social, individual and economic benefits towards a more inclusive society. We use a combination of non-invasive and completely safe research methods to study the development of language and communication from 5 months to 30 months of age (and in a subset of children up to pre-school age). The project has a multidisciplinary team and several partnerships with health and education institutions.

PLOs is funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology with European (European Regional Development Fund, EU, Portugal 2020 and Lisbon 2020 programs) and Portuguese funds.

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Highlights

Research at the Lisbon Baby Lab featured in the progam "Tenho um bebé. E agora?" dedicated to autism. The main focus was on the PLOs Project, which studies early signs of development of language and communication disorders in high-risk babies. Available here

Sonia Frota was invited to give a talk at the Language and Brain Workshop on early markers in typical and atypical language development. Available  here.

Workshop on Early Language in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NeuroD-WELL). November 8, 2019. More information here