Parent with a child

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Biology of Language Study (BLS) and how do I know if I'm eligible to participate?
The Biology of Language Study is a federally funded, multi-year research study that seeks to learn more about the causes and treatment of developmental language problems in children and how these problems may run in their families.  To be eligible, your child must have diagnosed specific language impairment, not have any known genetic or developmental disorders, and live in a primarily English speaking home.  The study also requires having additional family members participate, at least one of whom has a history of language, learning, or reading difficulties.
How do you recruit for your study?
Participating families come to us from a couple of sources.  Since we are looking for children with language problems, the study relies on speech & language professionals to refer BLS to parents of children being treated who may also come from families with a history of language and/or learning problems.  We are working with speech clinics and schools around Columbus OH, so it is likely you heard about our study from your child's SLP, noticed information about BLS in your clinic, or were referred by a family member already participating.
Where and when do study visits take place? Do I have to come to OSU to participate?
Study visits will usually take place in your child's speech & language clinic and in your home.  Study staff will come to you when it is most convenient so you will not have to travel to OSU to participate.  If by chance it is most convenient to meet at OSU, our staff will accommodate your visit with easy parking and access to our lab.
How long will the study take?
Participation in the study involves three steps.  First we gather information about you and your family via a background interview given over the phone.  This usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the number of children in the home.  Second, we schedule an eligibility testing session with your child.  This usually takes about 45 minutes and can be completed in your Speech & Language clinic at the time of your appointment or in the home.  Last, if your child and family meet eligibility, we visit the home to administer a testing session to all family members.  This session lasts anywhere between three and four hours and is scheduled on a convenient day when your family is not busy.
What does a visit entail?
A typical visit will involve one or more study staff visiting your home to give several assessments of language and reading skills as well as a saliva sample collection from all family members.  Visits are casual and testing breaks are given as frequently as needed.  Our testers are highly experienced and enjoy working with families!
Does it cost anything to participate in the study?
It will not cost you anything to be in this study.  As a thank-you for your time and participation, you and your family will be compensated for each portion of the study completed.
Will collected information be kept confidential?
Yes.  All or our participants are assigned subject identification numbers that are kept separate from all identifying information (e.g., name, address).  All data collected are kept confidential, secure, and the identity of our subjects is never revealed in publications or presentations.
Will participation help my child?
While there are no direct benefits of being in the study, your child and family's participation could help us understand better the role a family's biology plays in language development and ultimately lead to earlier and more effective identification, prevention, and treatment of language and reading problems.
Do I have to complete the study once I begin?
While we hope that you will enjoy your participation, you are free to withdraw your family from the study at any time and for any reason.
Who should I contact if I have any questions?
For questions and additional information contact our study coordinator at 1-800-678-6494 or by email at