Ph.D., Georgia State University, 1989
Communication, language, and reading development, developmental and learning disabilities, parent and school intervention
My research interests center on the development of symbolic processes, specifically oral and written language development. Most of my work in this area has been done in the context of intervention research. I have two long-standing lines of research. The first is focused on children with significant developmental disabilities who are considered to be at high risk for speech and language disorders. Most recently, I, and my colleagues, have examined the path of communication development taken by toddlers who have very little or no functional speech and who communicate through the use of computer-linked devices that augment or replace spoken communication. This work has allowed me to address questions about the very beginnings of symbolic development when children use visual-graphic symbols as their primary mode for communication. I have concentrated on the role that the receptive understanding of visual symbols and speech play in symbolic communication development.
My second line of research has examined the effect of different instructional content and methods on teaching children who are struggling to learn to read. A current project in local school districts is assessing different educational programs for two groups of learners: older and younger elementary school age children with developmental dyslexia. Past research projects have included a range of student learners: children with, or at risk for, reading difficulties and with different language experiences. The relationship of language and reading skills and mathematics achievement also has been an area of study. My interests in bilingualism and biliteracy have been fostered by collaborative work in Hong Kong, Korea, and South Africa.