The latest eye-tracking technology is being used to try to establish if future language, social and attention weaknesses can be identified in babies as young as six months.
Researchers from the University of East London believe that being able to predict weaknesses in the critical pre-school years would enable professionals to develop targeted interventions, and increase the long-term chances that babies born in some of the UK’s most deprived areas can enter school with an equal chance of success.
While eye-tracking technology is normally confined to university “babylabs”, this project is taking the technology out into the community through children’s centres, in an attempt to engage parents from all backgrounds.
As many as one in ten children in the UK may be affected by language difficulties by the time they start school. Professor Derek Moore, the study’s lead researcher, said: “In the long-term, eye-tracking technology could help to identify some of these weaknesses far earlier than is possible at the moment. This would help children to get the best possible start to their education.”