Research centre crying out for babies

Date: 07/03/2002

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney are looking for babies to participate in an infant research program.

The current studies conducted within the Auditory Research Centre at UWS focus on the response of babies aged 2-8 months to speech and music. The babies and their parents will participate in a short 30-minute session at the Centre located in Bankstown.

In return mothers will receive a range of free baby products and $20 for travel while babies will be given a Young Scientist Award and a special t-shirt.

The research team will set up an all-day stall in the Miranda Fair on Thursday 14 March 2002 for parents to register for the program.

Alternatively, parents can call the Centre on 9722 6674 to register their interest.

The Research Centre houses state-of-the-art infant equipment which is used to analyse babies' responses to music and speech.

Led by Professor Denis Burnham, the research team has over 30 years experience contributing to our understanding of infant and child development.

Their infant research programs include studying the benefits of mothers' speech to infants, babies' attention to emotion in speech, what goes wrong in post-natal depression and more recently, the similarities between speech and musical interactions.

According to Professor Denis Burnham, the current studies are part of ongoing research to understand the importance of verbal and musical interactions.

"Previous research has shown that the way in which parents talk to young infants and the way in which infants respond are both important to a child's early development," Professor Burnham says.

"During a baby's first year, this communication not only provides the basis from which children learn speech and language, it also shows them how to interact with others and form relationships."

According to Infant Research Coordinator, Dr Christine Kitamura, the session can be a real learning experience for both mums and their babies.

"By participating in the program they are helping to find out just how clever infants can be," says Dr Kitamura.

"It is not only an enjoyable experience for parent and baby it can also contribute to developing a better understanding of communication which can be a great help to both when things go wrong."

For media information contact:

Professor Denis Burnham
Ph: 9772 6588
Mobile: 0425 206 704

Media Manager
Mikael Kjaerbye
Ph: 9678 7418
Mobile: 0405 356 021