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Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development

Master's and doctoral students in communication sciences and disorders desiring to conduct research in early childhood language development are eligible to compete for the Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development for a proposed one-year study. Supported in part by the Arlene and Noel Matkin Memorial Fund.


Awarded $2,000 each

Horvath_2016_SRG-ECLSabrina Horvath
PhD Candidate
Boston University
Mentor: Sudha Arunachalam
"Verb Learning Mechanisms in Late-to-Talk Two-Year Olds"

McDaniel_2016_SRG-ECLJena C. McDaniel
PhD Candidate
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: Stephen Camarata
"Comparison of Audiovisual and Auditory-Only Conditions for a Receptive Word Learning Intervention for Children With Cochlear Implants"


Awarded $2,000 each

2015-Imgrund-SRG-ECLCaitlin M. Imgrund
PhD Candidate
University of Kansas
Mentor: Diane Loeb
"Expressive and Receptive Morphosyntax in Preschoolers Born Preterm"

2015-Quinn-SRG-ECLEmily D. Quinn
PhD Candidate
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: Ann Kaiser
"Teaching Graphic Symbols to Preschoolers Who Require AAC Using Aided AAC Modeling During Small Group Instruction"

2015-Therrien-SRG-ECLMichelle Therrien
PhD Candidate
Pennsylvania State University
Mentor: Janice Light
"Effects of a Social Interaction Intervention on the Communicative Turns of Preschool-Aged Children With Complex Communication Needs in Peer Interaction"


Awarded $2,000

2014_Weiler_SRG_ECLBrian Weiler
PhD Candidate
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: C. Melanie Schuele
"Participle-ed: The Role of Argument Structure and Interpretation"


Awarded $2,000 each

2013_Arndt_SRG_ECLKaren Barako Arndt
PhD Candidate
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: C. Melanie Schuele
"Elicited Production of Complement Taking Verbs Across Complement Clause Types in Typically Developing Preschool Children"

2013_Medina_SRG_ECLAmelia Medina
PhD Candidate
New Mexico State University
Mentor: Deborah Rhein
"Comparing Treatment Effects for Young Bilinguals with Language Impairment"


Awarded $2,000 each

2012 Harwood - SRG ECLVanessa M. Harwood
PhD Candidate
University of Connecticut
Mentors: Bernard Grela and Jonathan Preston
"Neutral Correlates of Speech Perception in Typically Developing and Late Talking Toddlers: Can ERP and Non-word Repetition Aid in Identification of Risk?"

2012 Schmitt - SRG ECLMary Beth Schmitt
PhD Candidate
Ohio State University
Mentor: Laura Justice
"Treatment Dosage, Child Engagement and Treatment Impacts for Children with Language Disorders"


Awarded $2,000 each

2011_Lund_EmilyEmily Lund
Vanderbilt University
Research Mentor: C. Melanie Schuele
"Effects of Explicit Word Learning Practice on the Fast-Mapping Skills of Children"

2011_MeyersChristina Meyers
University of Arizona
Research Mentor: Elena Plante
"Design and Validation of a Parent Report Measure of Bilingual Language Input to Infants Exposed to Spanish and English"


Awarded $2,000

2010StudentResearchGrantChildhoodLanguage-JohannaHassinkJohanna M. Hassink
Purdue University
Mentors: Oliver Wendt and Laurence B. Leonard
"Effects of the Cycles Approach on Phonological Remediation: A Single-Subject Research Study"


Awarded $2,000

2009StudentResearchGrantChildhoodLanguage-KrystalWerfelKrystal L. Werfel
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: C. Melanie Schuele
"Phonological Awareness Training in Children with Hearing Loss"


Awarded $2,000 each

Kathryn Wright Brady Kathryn Wright Brady
University of Missouri
Mentor: Judith C. Goodman
"Clues to Meaning: Exploring Potential Effects of Paired, Congruent Cues on Toddlers' Word Learning"

Dawn Vogler-Elias Dawn Vogler-Elias

University of Buffalo
Mentor: Geralyn Timler
"A Shared Storybook Reading Intervention for Preschoolers with Autism"


Awarded $2,000 each

Jonathan L. Preston Jonathan L. Preston
Syracuse University
Mentor: Mary Louise Edwards
"Preliminary Investigation of a Weighted Measure of Speech Sound Accuracy"

Elizabeth Spencer Elizabeth Spencer
Vanderbilt University
Mentor: C. Melanie Schuele
"Part-Term Learning in Children with Low Vocabulary"


Awarded $2,000 each

Ling-yu Guo Ling-yu Guo
University of Iowa
Mentors: J. Bruce Tomblin, Amanda Owen
"Acquisition of Copula and Auxiliary BE in English-Speaking Children"

Susanna M. Vargas Susanna M. Vargas
Indiana University
Mentor: Raquel T. Anderson
"Use of Direct Object Clitic Pronouns by Young Spanish-Speakers"
ASHA Special Interest Division 1 Support


Awarded $2,000 each

Anna V. Sosa Anna V. Sosa
University of Washington
Mentor: Carol Stoel-Gammon
"Lexical Effects in Early Phonological Acquisition"


Awarded $2,000 each

Lu-Chun Lin Lu-Chun Lin,
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Mentor: Cynthia J. Johnson
"Effects of Early English Education on Phonological Awareness and Language Development of Mandarin-English Bilingual Children"


Awarded $2,000 each

Janet Ford,
Syracuse University
Mentor: Linda S. Milosky
"Construction of Emotional Inferences When Developing Mental Representations"

Janet Ford is a doctoral student at Syracuse University. Children with language impairment often experience social difficulties that become apparent during preschool years; difficulty in rapidly inferring emotional state in others may negatively impact the social skills of these children. The time course of making such social inferences in discourse is unclear in typically developing children as well as children with language impairment; the proposed study is designed to examine at what point during the discourse comprehension process do young language-impaired children and their typical peers make emotion state inferences, using response time measures. An investigation of variables that may account for difficulties inferring emotional states will have clinical and theoretical implications: It will allow clinicians to target specific skills to help children with language impairment become more successful communicators, and it will test two current theories of discourse comprehension.


Awarded $2,000 each

Madhavi L. Chelluri, Purdue University Madhavi L. Chelluri, Purdue University
Mentor: Aimee M. Surprenant
"Processing of Speech and Non-Speech Stimuli in Children With Specific Language Impairment"

Madhavi L. Chelluri, a PhD candidate at Purdue University interested in studying the nature of the auditory deficits associated with different impairments, such as hearing loss and language impairment, proposes using perceptual and electrophysiological studies to observe the effects of these impairments on processing of complex sounds. This study compares the performance of children with specific language impairment (SLI) on a noise-buzz continuum that is a complex non-speech stimulus, and on speech syllables of equal complexity. The children will be tested on identification and discrimination tasks. A deficit in performance on both speech and non-speech tasks will show that these children have a deficit in processing complex sounds; poor performance on only the speech sounds will indicate that the deficit is more related to language. Findings of this study will offer insights into the exact nature of speech perception deficits in children with SLI, and may affect current practice in providing treatment services.


Awarded $2,000 each

Joan Furey Joan E. Furey, University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign
Mentor: Ruth V. Watkins
"The Growth of Early Phonological and Lexical Development: A Longitudinal Investigation in Children From Low- and Middle-Income Families"

Joan E. Furey is pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this study, she will be examining the simultaneous development of phonological and lexical skills in children from 12 to 18 months of age. She intends to determine whether there are differences in either the lexical or phonological growth curves of children from low income and middle-income families, and, if there are differences, the extent to which they can be explained by such factors as family income, parental education and parental speech characteristics. Recent research suggests that children from low-income backgrounds are likely to demonstrate reduced lexical development in the absence of clinical language impairment. The findings of the investigation will add to the understanding of the speech and language characteristics of children from low-income families.


Awarded $2,000 each

Peggy F. Jacobson, City University of New York Graduate Center Peggy F. Jacobson, City University of New York Graduate Center
Mentor: Richard J. Schwartz
"Regular and Irregular Past Tense in Early Sequential Bilingual Children With Specific Language Impairment"

Peggy Jacobson is a doctoral student at the City University of New York. There she is examining English past tense morphology in early sequential bilingual Spanish/English speaking children. The performance of typically developing bilingual children versus those with SLI will be compared. Ms. Jacobson will explore the differences between regular and irregular forms and the hypothesized positive correlation between irregular production and vocabulary scores. Results obtained regarding typical language development in bilingual children can be used to identify those bilingual children with SLI early on.


Awarded $2,000 each

Geralyn R. Timler, University of Washington Geralyn R. Timler, University of Washington
Mentor: Lesley B. Olswang
"Investigation of Social Communication Skills in School-Age Children With Alcohol-Related Disabilities"

Geralyn R. Timler is a doctoral student at the University of Washington's Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She received a $2,000 grant supported by the Arlene Matkin Memorial Fund. Her professional interests include clinical research in the identification and treatment of childhood language disorders in pre-school and school-age children with developmental disabilities. An additional professional interest encompasses clinical services (evaluation, treatment, and consultation) to children with language disorders and their families. Ms. Timler will examine the social communication skills of children with alcohol- related disabilities during peer conflict tasks. The tasks will be adapted from previous work in the discipline of child psychology. Two groups of children will be examined: one will include those with alcohol related disabilities and the other will include typically developing children. The aim of the study is to determine whether children with alcohol- related disabilities differ from typically developing peers in the quantity and quality of verbal and nonverbal strategies used to achieve a desired goal. Caregiver and teacher judgments will be obtained to determine the relationship between the judgments and the children's performance. To date, no investigations of social communication deficits have been conducted for children with alcohol-related disabilities. The outcome of this study will advance our understanding of how young children use language skills to approach social problems. In addition, the results will further define the social communication deficits associated with alcohol-related disabilities.


Awarded $2,000 each

Laura Justice Laura Justice, Ohio University
Mentor: Helen K. Ezell
"Stimulating Children's Metalinguistic Awareness Through Parent Intervention"

Laura Justice is a doctoral student at Ohio University's School of Hearing and Speech Sciences. Dr. Helen Ezell is her research mentor. Ms. Justice's research interests include parent-child interactions, oral and written language development, and the Vygotskian theory.

Ms. Justice will investigate the efficacy of a home-based intervention designed to stimulate children's metalinguistic awareness and their development of word and print awareness. The goal is to determine the extent to which a book reading intervention, with emphasis on parents' use of print referencing behaviors, influences the word and print awareness skills of typical preschoolers. Parents in the experimental group will receive standardized training on how to incorporate verbal and nonverbal print-referencing behaviors in their reading. Parents in the control group will not receive this training, but will receive the same reading materials and instructions as the experimental group. Measures will be taken of the children's word and print awareness at the end of the month and will be compared with the pretest measures within and between groups. Research findings may give future insight to interventions for children acquiring metalinguistic awareness at slower rates than their peers.


Awarded $2,000

Kathy J. Jakielski, University of Texas at Austin
Mentor: Barbara L. Davis
"Motor Organization in the Acquisition of Consonant Clusters"


Awarded $2,000

Shelley Gray, University of Arizona
Mentor: Linda Swisher
"Vocabulary Deficits in in Children With specific Language Impairment: The Identification Accuracy of Norm-Referenced Tests and a Language-Learning Task"


Awarded $2,000

Linda J. Hesketh, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Mentor: Susan E. Weismer
"Toddlers' Learning of Synonymous Verbs: Is There Evidence for a Mutual Exclusivity Bias?"


No Award


Awarded $1,000

Teresa Ukrainetz McFadden, University of Texas at Austin
"The Conceptual Basis of Emergent Literacy: Children Preserving Stories"


Awarded $1,000

Catherine Laszlo, Portland State University
"Phonological Awareness Skills in Late Talkers"


Awarded $1,000

Susan I. Kemp-Fincham, University of Illinois, Urbana-champaign
"Indices of Sensorimotor Processes in 20 34-Month-Old Toddlers' Phonological Development"


Awarded $1,000

Rita L. Bauersmith, Portland State University
"Story Retelling Skills as an Indicator of Persistent Language Delays in Pre-school Children"


Awarded $1,000

Barbara Byrd Fazio, Indiana University
"Conceptual and Linguistic Factors Associated With Young Language-Impaired Children's Counting Abilities"


Awarded $1,000

Diane Frome Loeb, Purdue University
"The Development of Subject Roles in Normally Developing and Language-Impaired Children"


Awarded $1,000

Barbara J. Kiernan, University of Arizona
"Bilingual and Monolingual Vocabulary Learning by Predominantly Navajo-Speaking, Preschool Children"


Awarded $1,000

Kiyoshi Otomo, University of Washington
"Development of Certain Vowels in Early Meaningful Speech of Children 20 to 32 Months of Age"


Awarded $1,000

Patricia Sorenson, University of Western Ontario
"Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition in Preschool Language-Impaired Children: An Evaluation of the Informativeness Principle as a Clinical Procedure"


Awarded $1,000

Elizabeth Heublein, University of Colorado
"Analysis of Child Language Use in Natural Conversations"

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