Dana Suskind is a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, whose speciality is cochlear implants that allow people who are born deaf to hear. She is also founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, also based at the University of Chicago. TMW researches programs that maximize the critical language development period of birth to 3 years old while helping to draw public attention to this critical phase of brain development.
Suskind discovered that children who appeared similar in every other respect would differ dramatically in how quickly they learned language after their hearing was restored. She discovered that the difference fell largely along socio-economic lines, and that the key difference was how much language the child was hearing at home.
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