Johanna Rudolph, PhD, CCC-SLP
Research Scientist / Callier Center for Communication Disorders / University of Texas at Dallas

1966 Inwood Road
Dallas, TX 75235
[email protected]
214.905.3089

Spotlight

Identifying Toddlers at Risk for Language Impairment

Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a highly prevalent developmental communication disorder affecting at least one child in every classroom. Individuals with SLI often develop social, behavioral, and academic difficulties secondary to their language learning deficits. Early intervention is the key to successful long-term outcomes. Unfortunately, SLI is difficult to identify in children under the age of four or five due to the late onset of clear clinical symptoms. My long-term objective is to create a screening tool based on risk factors and early communicative behaviors that can be used to identify children by the age of 24 months who are at risk for developing SLI. Preliminary results from two pilot studies have been presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and the Symposium on Research in Childhood Language Disorders. The results of a related systematic review and meta-analysis were recently published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Bio

Education

Ph.D. Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2013

M.S. Speech-Language Pathology Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2009

B.A. Philosophy and Theology Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, CA, 2006

Johanna Rudolph earned her clinical MS in speech-language pathology and her PhD in speech, language, and hearing sciences at Purdue University under the mentorship of Dr. Laurence Leonard. Her general research interests include early identification, treatment efficacy, and evidence-based practice in speech-language pathology. Her dissertation work focused on the development of a screening tool for identifying toddlers who are at risk for specific language impairment (SLI) - one of the most prevalent and most underdiagnosed childhood communication disorders. Her current research continues to focus on diagnostic aspects of SLI including empirical examination of popular clinical measures, while extending into early identification of and screening for other speech and language impairments.

Research Interests

Early Identification

Research suggests that early intervention is the most effective and efficient method for treating developmental communication disorders, but early intervention requires early identification, which can be difficult when the target population includes children who may exhibit no obvious symptoms of impairment until their school age years. I am interested in developing assessment tools that combine well-known risk factors and early-developing behavioral indicators into probability equations using logistic regression analyses. This type of tool differs from many that are currently used in clinical practice in that the included factors are not merely enumerated on a checklist, but entered into a formula in which the factors are weighted according to their experimentally-derived contribution to the predicted outcome. The risk scores calculated using this formula give an indication of the likelihood of a child developing the specified disorder - the higher the score, the higher the likelihood. Validated cut-off scores make this kind of tool easy to implement and easy to interpret, eliminating a lot of the guesswork involved in early identification of communication disorders.

Evidence-based Practice

Once a child has been identified either as having a disorder or as being at risk for a disorder, it is essential that appropriate treatment be provided to enhance that child's long-term outcomes. Evidence-based practice guidelines highlight the importance of including external evidence from systematic research in the process of clinical decision-making. I am interested in increasing the transparency of treatment efficacy research to facilitate its use by practicing clinicians. In particular, when performing reviews or implementing treatment studies, it is essential that (1) participant characteristics are well specified for the sake of comparison, (2) intervention procedures are clearly outlined and replicable, (3) in addition to measures of group performance, outcomes for individual participants are reported and the suspected source of individual differences is discussed. Increased transparency will help to bridge the gap between research and practice in the field of speech-language pathology and assist busy clinicians in the task of implementing evidence-based practice.

Selected Publications

Rudolph, J. M. (in press). Case history risk factors for specific language impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Rudolph, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2016). Early language milestones and specific language impairment. Journal of Early Intervention, 38(1), 41-58.

Rudolph, J. M., & Rudolph, S. (2015). Telepractice vs. on-site treatment: Are outcomes equivalent for school age children? EBP Briefs, 10(2), 1-15.

Rudolph, J. M., & Wendt, O. (2014). The efficacy of the cycles approach: A multiple baseline design. Journal of Communication Disorders, 47, 1-16.

Hassink, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2010). Within-treatment factors as predictors of outcomes following conversational recasting. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(3), 213-224.

Hassink, J. M., & Wendt, O. (2010). Remediation of phonological disorders in preschool age children: Evidence for the cycles approach. EBP Briefs, 5(2), 1-7.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Rudolph, J. M., & Dollaghan, C. A. (in prep). The finite verb morphology composite: Values from a community sample.

Peer-Reviewed Conference Presentations

Rudolph, J. M. (2017). Socioeconomic status: Associations with language ability in kindergarten-age children. Poster presented at the 2017 Biennial Meeting of the Symposium for Research in Child Development, Austin, TX, April 2017.

Rudolph, J. M. (2015). Risk factors for specific language impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Seminar presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Denver, CO, November 2015.

Rudolph, J. M. (2015). Late talkers: Predictive accuracy of semantic vs. syntactic delays. Poster presented at the Symposium on Research in Childhood Language Disorders, Madison, WI, June 2015.

Rudolph, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2014). Identifying toddlers at risk for language disorders: A screening tool. Poster presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, San Diego, CA, October 2014.

Rudolph, J. M. (2013). Deriving non-linguistic measures from the preferential looking paradigm. Technical Session presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Chicago, IL, November 2013.

Rudolph, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2013). Predicting language outcomes: A risk factor model. Poster presented at the Symposium on Research in Childhood Language Disorders, Madison, WI, June 2013.

Rudolph, J. M., Hollich, G. J., & Leonard, L. B. (2013). Infant speed of processing: Measures of global cognitive ability or separable cognitive skills? Poster presented at the 2013 Biennial Meeting of the Symposium for Research in Child Development, Seattle, WA, April 2013.

Hassink, J. M., & Wendt, O. (2012). Efficacy of the cycles approach for remediation of phonological disorders. Seminar presented at the International Child Phonology Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 2012.

Hassink, J. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2010). Learning through recasts: Within-treatment factors that facilitate target acquisition in preschoolers with SLI. Poster presented at the Symposium on Research in Childhood Language Disorders, Madison, WI, June 2010.

Hassink, J. M., & Wendt, O. (2008). Impact of the Cycles Approach on phonological remediation: A critically appraised topic. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Chicago, IL, November 2008.

Hassink, J. M., & Wendt, O. (2008). A critically appraised topic on the effectiveness of the Cycles Approach for phonological disorders. Poster presented at the International Child Phonology Conference, West Lafayette, IN, June 2008.

Future Conference Presentations

Rudolph, J. M., & Dollaghan, C. A. (2017). The finite verb morphology composite: Values from a community sample. Seminar to be presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assoication, Los Angeles, CA, November 2017.

Rudolph, J. M., Campbell, T., & McGlothlin, J. (2017). The Speakeasy app: A feasibility study. Flash session to be presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Los Angeles, CA, November 2017.

University Teaching Experience

Guest Lectures and Outreach

  • Guest Lecture for the Duke University Hospital Rounds, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, June 2017
  • Author Podcast for the Journal of Early Intervention, March 2016
  • Guest Lecture for DePaul University ESL Endorsement Program, College of Education, July 2015
  • Guest Lecture for Ivy Tech Lifespan Development, Liberal Arts Program, February 2013
  • Guest Lecture for Purdue University Introduction to Communication Disorders, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, October 2012
  • Guest Lecture for Purdue University Single Subject Research Design, Department of Educational Studies, September 2012, 2009
  • Author Chat for EBP Briefs journal, June 2010
  • Guest Lecture for Purdue University Characteristics of Students with Severe Disabilities, Department of Educational Studies, November 2008
  • Guest Lecture for Purdue University Childhood Language Disorders, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, November 2008

Research Community Involvement

  • Manuscript Reviewer for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, the Journal of Early Intervention, the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and Language Learning and Development
  • Language in Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers Subcommittee Member for the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2014

Awards and Honors

  • Callier Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, 2014-2016
  • ASHA & NIDCD Lessons for Success Research Workshop Attendee, 2013
  • CTSI Pre-doctoral Training in Translational Research Fellowship, Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, 2011-2013
  • Research Mentoring-Pair Travel Award, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2012
  • Frederick N. Andrews Fellowship, Purdue University, 2009-2011
  • Students Preparing for Academic & Research Careers Award, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2008
  • Frances P. Wilson Memorial Graduate Scholarship, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University, 2007; 2008