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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release


News contact: Jenni Bullington, UTD, 972-883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

UTD's Callier Center To Continue National
Institutes of Health Study With DISD Students

Multi-Million Dollar Research Project Will Help Determine Effectiveness
Of Computer-Assisted Instruction On Children With Language Impairments

RICHARDSON, Texas (March 12, 2003) - As part of the second phase of a program made possible by $4.5-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The University of Texas at Dallas' Callier Center for Communication Disorders is joining with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to study the effects of computer-assisted instruction in children with language impairments or learning disabilities.

The first phase of the study involved 20 children from the Plano Independent School District and was completed last summer. Those findings will be combined with the results from DISD and other sites and reported after the conclusion of the program.

The free program, which is run out of the Advanced Hearing Research Center at the Callier Center, is slated to transition to DISD June 11 and will be held in Dallas at J.W. Ray Elementary School near downtown. It is open to children with language impairments aged 6 to 8 years who are enrolled in any school in the district. The youngsters will participate in the program for four hours each morning for six weeks. In addition to being given highly focused educational experiences, the children will participate in art, music, social and recreational activities.

Researchers from Callier's Advanced Hearing Research Center, including Dr. Emily Tobey, Dr. Linda Thibodeau, Dr. Lori Betourne and graduate students from UTD, will compare the language, auditory processing, cognitive and literary abilities of approximately 216 children who will receive one of the following four educational programs:

  • Fast ForWord-Language©, a computer program that accentuates speech by making it slower and louder;
  • Language-based computer programs that do not change the duration or loudness of the speech presented;
  • Individual language intervention provided by nationally certified speech language pathologists; and
  • Computer programs that teach academic skills.

All four programs will be administered during summer sessions in Dallas and at research sites at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Kansas, which also share in the NIH grant, over the next two years.

"Many school districts across the nation are using computer teaching modules to help children with language and learning impairments," Tobey noted. "Parents, teachers and school administrators make complicated decisions about whether or not to purchase costly therapies that use this specially designed software, even though there are no comparative studies to indicate which approaches are the most beneficial and the most cost-effective. We hope to help answer those questions by the end of this study."

Callier researchers currently are working with speech-language pathologists in DISD to identify and select children to participate in the program. Children who receive language therapy or who have learning disabilities interfering with reading and writing may be eligible to participate, but they must be primarily English speakers. Those with autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, emotional disorders or traumatic brain injury are not eligible to participate in this particular program.

For more information, or to determine eligibility, please contact Dr. Lori Betourne at (214) 905-3024 or betourne@utdallas.edu

About the Callier Center for Communication Disorders
Established in the early 1960's, the Callier Center is renowned for advances in the treatment and prevention of communication disorders. The center is located on Inwood Road in Dallas, adjacent to such major medical facilities as The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, St. Paul Hospital and Parkland Hospital. Part of UTD's School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the center educates future clinicians and researchers, offers state-of-the-art clinical and educational services and conducts innovative research.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu/.


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This page last updated
August 03, 2013