All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Science (MS)


College of Education & Allied Health

Degree Program

Communication Disorders and Deaf Education


Communication Disorders and Deaf Education

First Advisor

Lynne W. Shields

Second Advisor

Janie vonWolfseck

Third Advisor

Janet Venter-Barkley


NICU, development, infant, preterm, nursing


Numerous research findings have indicated that premature infants, especially very low birth weight premature infants, are at risk for delayed developmental performance. The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is the environment in which preterm infants are first cared for until able to thrive in the absence of constant medical care. The purpose of this study was to obtain quantitative and qualitative descriptions of language stimulation in the NICU, specifically in the graduate care nursery. Sixteen direct care staff members from two area NICUs served as subjects. Each subject was observed while performing normal work routines for two hours. The data collected establish the baseline amount of opportunity for stimulation, the percentage of time during which opportunities are utilized for language stimulation, and information regarding quality of the language stimulation provided. Such baseline information is important when designing interventions intended to change current amounts of stimulations provided to this population.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis


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Rights Statement

In Copyright