Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Communication Disorders (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Fran W. Hagstrom

Committee Member

Kimberly F. Frazier

Second Committee Member

Jennifer K. Henk

Abstract

This study sought to examine how the digital technology that surrounds young children may be related to prototypic vocabulary development and social interactions during play. Twenty-six families in the Northwest Arkansas region with children between 15-36 months of age participated in the study. Thirteen children attended a campus preschool, six children attended a grant-funded local preschool, and seven children, all from the Northwest Arkansas area, were part of an earlier home-based study. The materials for the study included a developmental-technology use questionnaire and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories. Archival videotaped play sessions with the seven home-based children utilized a “Little People™ Apptivity™ Barnyard” play set and an iPad with a corresponding app to the barnyard set were used for a secondary analysis of social interactions during play. Data was analyzed across education setting (campus, local, home) and by type and amount of technology reported to be used in the home. Results suggested that parental values reduce a child’s experience, if not their exposure, to technology use; that the digital surround of today’s world is expansive and not exclusive; that, perhaps, children from varying degrees of technological homes differ in communicative development; and that development may be dynamically changing in ways that differ from or are not currently reflected by normative measures.