Few methods exist to measure declarative (explicit) memory in children during the toddler and preschool stages of development. We report the development and psychometric properties of a new measure of declarative memory for this age group, the Color Object Association Test (COAT). In pilot testing and large scale application of the test, the COAT was demonstrated to be a reliable and a valid measure of declarative memory for healthy children ages 18-36 months, living in a disadvantaged community. The test shows a linear developmental trajectory, which allows longitudinal examination of the development of declarative memory in children.
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Special thanks to the families of the Phillips Community who care so deeply about the futures of their children and generously gave their time, sometimes for several years, in support of the data collection phase of this project. The University of Minnesota investigators participating in this project will forever do our work differently thanks to the thoughtful and tenacious teachings and leadership of the current resident members of the Phillips Neighborhood Healthy Housing Collaborative (PNHHC): James Big Bear, Jody Deloria, Susan Gust, Mary Johnson, Shannon Moon, Michelle Nickaboine, and Sheila Shavers, as well as past members: Erin Bluejacket, Wendy Boppert, Lilly Bresina, Kay and Rene’ Cabrera, Rep. Karen Clark, Charles (Doc) Davis, Nicole Diaz Romero, Marc Flores, Teresa Ford, Star Grigsby, Keith Johnson, Beth Hart, Gwendolyn Hill, Mary Ellen Kaluza, Leah La Chapelle, Donna Morgan, Darin Packard, Mary Parkhurst, Cathy Strobel, Deb Terwillger, Deb Whitefeather, and Cathy Winter. We also express our tremendous gratitude to the community staff members, many of whom also served on the PNHHC, for their excellent work and dedication to the research. The work of the PNHHC and its contributions to the research could not have been accomplished without the tireless efforts of its staff over the years: Carol Flavin, Kim Kelker, Ed Petsche, Kim Rowe and Jermaine Toney. This project was supported by grant MCJ 270302 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
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