Funded Projects

SPEAK: Speech Project for Errors of Articulation in Kids
Project Head: T. Campbell
This study is focused on identifying and classifying subtypes of speech production disorders as well as genetic contributions to speech sound production disorders through analysis of acoustic information and family DNA.

Optispeech Project
Project Head: T. Campbell
This study has two phases. The purpose of the first phase is to record tongue movements during speech in a group of adults. The purpose of the second phase is to demonstrate that feedback from a three-dimensional real-time visualization of the tongue can be used to direct tongue placement during speech sounds.

Lab Director Projects

Manuscript in prep: Criteria for evaluating assessment tools – an evidence-based approach.
Project Head: C. Dollaghan
The traditional psychometric criteria for evaluating the quality of assessment tools are insufficient when considering assessments designed to classify people for the purpose of making decisions about them. We propose a new framework for distinguishing decisional and non-decisional assessments and describe quality indicators that they do, and do not, have in common.

Diagnosing Child Language Disorders
Project Head: C. Dollaghan
Chapter providing an analysis of approaches, methods, and evidence concerning the identification of children with language disorders.

Early Identification of Language Deficits: When Do Benefits Exceed Harms?
Project Head: C. Dollaghan
Efforts to identify children with language deficits at young ages have yielded disappointing results. Early vocabulary size, for example, has been a popular approach to language screening despite evidence that that it does not predict later language skills. This project provides an overview of the evidence concerning methods used to identify language deficits in young children and the special ethical issues that attend such efforts.

The Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders (2nd edition)
Project Head: C. Dollaghan
A new edition of the Handbook published in 2007.

Member Projects

Finite Verb Morphology in a Representative Population Sample
Project Head: J. Rudolph
Collaborators: C. Dollaghan
The finite verb morphology composite (FVMC) has been shown to have good sensitivity and specificity for distinguishing between preschool and early school age children with and without specific language impairment (SLI). However, previous studies have focused on small samples of participants who speak mainstream American English, a dialect variant in which tense and agreement morphemes are obligatory. The purpose of this project is to examine the distribution of FVMC scores in a large sociodemographically representative sample, to assess the diagnostic accuracy of this measure, and to determine whether the distribution of FVMC scores varies with dialect exposure in children with and without language impairments.

A Phonological Network Based Framework for Multisyllabic Word Learning
Project Head: M. Sherman
Phonological word forms stored within a child's vocabulary are assumed to interact with novel word forms during learning based on their similarity. However, typically used similarity metrics are based on phonemic differences between small words. A computational framework for multisyllabic word form learning is presented.

Listener perception of communication ability in simulated language samples
Project Head: M. Boone
The relative saliency of specific speech-language characteristics exhibited by individuals with language impairment to various listener groups has received little attention to date in empirical research. This project examines naïve listener perception of communication ability based on brief audio-recorded language samples manipulated to include known characteristics of language impairment.

Dissertation Proposal
Project Head: B. Miller
This study will investigate the relative effects of word-based and situation-based information on children’s and adults’ reading times of sentences. These tightly controlled sentences will contain agent-action pairs that have a relatively high probability (HP) of co-occurrence or a relatively low probability (LP) of co-occurrence. Sentences will be preceded by dependent clauses in one of two conditions: neutral or biasing. The biasing condition will contain situation-based information that is anticipated to increase the reader’s expectation of encountering a LP agent-action relationship. The goal of the study is to unhook the relative impact of word-based knowledge and situation-based activation by examining the extent to which reading times of LP agent-action relationships are facilitated when children and adults properly integrate biasing situation-based cues.

Identification of cognitive efficiency using pupillometry
Project Head: J. Mueller
First, this study aims to use task evoked pupil response (TEPR) to quantify cognitive load at varying levels of task complexity. Second, this study aims to use TEPR to quantify changes in cognitive efficiency with learning. Third, this study aims to quantify the relationship between task evoked pupil dilation and perception of cognitive effort required for successful completion of the task.

Auditory Statistical Sequence Learning in Preschoolers
Project Head: M. Kavakci
The purpose of this project is to examine auditory statistical learning of patterns in preschoolers with and without language impairments. Oculomotor reaction times will be measured using an eye tracker to overcome current methodological limitations, and provide greater insight into the potential mechanism underlying deficits that characterize disorders such as specific language impairment (SLI).

Project Name: Assessment of social and pragmatic skills in the individuals with Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder
Project Head: H. Yuan
The purpose of this study is to identify test items available to assess each of the four diagnostic characteristics of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder defined by DSM-5. Through a systematic search for assessment tools which have been used for Pragmatic Language Impairment and related disorders, and an analysis of the relationship between test items in the selected assessment tools and S(P)CD diagnostic characteristics, a list of test items for assessing each of four S(P)CD characteristics will be presented.