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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

Robert Stillman


Robert Stillman
















About Robert Stillman


My early work was on the neurophysiology of audition including how single cells code binaural sounds and investigations of the frequency-following response (FFR) in humans. I also developed assessment and intervention approaches with children having severe and multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness. The Callier-Azusa Scales was one outcome of that work. The preparation of assessment instruments, led me to more carefully examine contextual factors including interpersonal factors that might influence performance. This led to a series of extramurally supported projects to develop clinician/teacher-training techniques designed to enhance communicative interactions between clinicians/teachers and children with severe and multiple disabilities.


My research now relates to the acquisition of communicative skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I am using a mix of microanalytic and qualitative techniques to uncover cognitive and interpersonal factors influencing communicative development. Recent work includes the characteristics of communications directed to children with severe communicative impairments and qualitative studies on the impact of children with ASD on teachers and clinicians. Interviews with student clinicians and parallel analysis of videotaped interactions have helped us understand the interpersonal as well as communicative factors influencing the effectiveness of clinical intervention. Most recently, I have explored the origins of diversity in the patterns of development of communicative skills in children with ASD. We are currently developing a method of profiling young children with ASD. The goal of the project is to better understand "who" a child is rather than just "where" the child is functioning with the goal of providing clinicians information about "how" to intervene rather than just "what" goals to target.


Research Interests


My research relates to the cognitive and interpersonal factors influencing communicative development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD.) The work is primarily qualitative and explores sources of diversity in preverbal and early verbal skills. An on-campus preschool program for children with ASD, staffed by graduate students, serves as a laboratory for observational and intervention studies.


Recent Publications


Aldridge, M.A., Stillman, R.D. and Bower, T.G.R. (2001). Newborn categorization of vowel-like sounds. Developmental Science, 4, 219-232.


Stillman, R., Snow, R. and Warren, K. (1999) "I used to be good with kids." Encounters between speech-language pathology students and children with PDD. In: D. Kovarsky, J. Duchan, & M. Maxwell (Eds.), The Social Construction of Language Incompetence. Hillside , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Yellin, W. M. and Stillman, R.D. (1999). Otoacoustic emissions in normal-cycling females. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 10, 400-408.