SLHS Weekly Seminar

2020-2021 Talks

Zoom Meeting: 12:30-1:30 pm

April 26, 2021

Ann Alvar

PhD candidate in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University

"The effects of sound level on Autonomic Responses and Attention"

Abstract: Levels of autonomic arousal have differing effects on behavior and task performance. This relationship may be facilitated by autonomic arousal's impact on attention. This influence could help explain atypical attentional patterns seen in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a population that also differs in behavioral responses to autonomic arousal. To study this we are using noise level, an established technique to alter levels of autonomic arousal to study the effect on participants' performance on visual attention tasks called saccade tasks. These saccade tasks look at the competition between 3 components of attention, fixation, re-orienting, and top-down control, which are known to be affected by ASD. Additionally, we are testing to see if traits related to autism spectrum disorder found in the general population may affect this relationship.

Zoom Info:

Meeting ID: 973 2458 7552

Passcode: 700173


April 19, 2021

Danai Fannin, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, North Carolina Central University

"Considerations for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children with Autism"

Abstract: Detection of autism and receipt of evidence-based services can alter a child’s developmental trajectory and improve quality of life, but these benefits are not equitably distributed across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic groups. Barriers to timely assessment and treatment are thought to relate to: limited English proficiency, variations in cultural interpretation of symptoms; stigma; cultural validity of ‘gold standard’ measures; systemic bias; or reduced caregiver alliance with the health system and providers. This presentation will include descriptions of health and educational disparities and discussion of considerations clinicians might take when working with culturally and linguistically diverse families.



April 12, 2021

Adriana Weisleder, PhD

Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

“Understanding Poverty-Related Disparities in Language Development: Mechanisms and Intervention”

Abstract:  While much research has documented differences in language development between children from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, many questions remain about what underlies these disparities. Using a multi-method approach (eye-tracking experiments, naturalistic observation, real-world intervention), my research seeks to understand how early environments support the development of processing skills that facilitate language growth. I will present evidence suggesting that opportunities for rich verbal interaction sharpen language-processing skills that facilitate word learning, and contribute to vocabulary development. I will then present evidence on the causal role of caregiver-child interactions through studies of intervention. Finally, I will present work on the implementation of interventions in different contexts and with diverse populations, and discuss implications of this research for public health strategies seeking to reduce disparities in language development. I will conclude by discussing planned work trying to understand the relations between language experience, processing skills, and language outcomes in children with language delays and disorders.


March 15, 2021

Josh Weirick, MA TESOL (He/Him/His)

PhD candidate in linguistics, Purdue Experimental Linguistics Lab (ExLing)

"Examining the processing of word order alternations across populations: Potential implications for understanding sentence planning in persons with aphasia"

Abstract: All languages have multiple means of expressing the same message. This property is clearly exemplified by syntactic alternations, which are sets of sentences that are structurally distinct but are close paraphrases of one another (e.g. the active/passive alternation, the dative alternation, and ‘heavy’ NP shift in English). The overarching goal of Josh’s research program is to better understand when and why word order alternations take place. In pursuit of this goal, he investigates two questions: (1) To what degree do each of the relevant factors contribute to the occurrence of one word order variant instead of another, and (2) How does the influence of each factor differ across populations? For example, during the production of English active/passive sentences, the amount of influence exerted by each of the relevant factors appears to vary across populations, resulting in different speakers employing different sentence planning strategies. Eye movement data collected during a picture description task (Lee 2019) suggest that persons with aphasia (PWA) employ different strategies in the earliest stages of active/passive sentence planning compared to healthy older adults, though the exact types of sentence planning that take place during these stages remain to be investigated. In this presentation, Josh will discuss two other alternations, the English dative alternation (e.g. the student sent a photograph to the botanist vs. the student sent the botanist a photograph) and ‘heavy’ NP shift (e.g. the student sent a photograph to the botanist vs. the student sent to the botanist a photograph) and two factors that contribute to speakers’ dative sentence preferences: discourse givenness (the prior mention of a sentence element in the preceding linguistic context) and the restriction of structural alternatives via statistical preemption. He will then present his current work, which examines the influence of discourse givenness on the processing of English dative sentences by three populations: monolingual English speakers, German-English bilinguals, and Spanish-English bilinguals. Finally, he will consider how the linguistic properties of English dative sentences might be leveraged to better understand the early stages of sentence planning in PWA.


March 8, 2021

Kelly L. Coburn, MA, CCC-SLP

PhD candidate in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State and a candidate for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

"Developing Focus on the Language of Autism"

Abstract: Kelly will speak about the ongoing process of focusing their research interests within the topic of autism, beginning with their clinical experience as a speech-language pathologist and carrying through their Ph.D. program. To begin addressing the questions that led them to doctoral study, Kelly conducted a narrative review of neurodevelopmental differences in autism that could contribute to language learning. Their talk will include a few clinical strategies based on the results of that review for SLPs who work with autistic language learners. Since then, Kelly has designed experimental studies to explore working memory and narrative production in autistic adults. Kelly will discuss preliminary findings from a study of verbal and visuospatial recall which suggest that people may consider using multiple communicative modalities to support the communication of speaking autistic individuals. Kelly will also introduce their current study of narrative discourse by autistic adults whose genders are under-represented in the peer-reviewed literature. The broad goal of this research is to improve access to appropriate diagnoses and supports for neurodivergent people. Ultimately, Kelly hopes that their research and advocacy will contribute to a world where all people have access to the language and supports they need to develop and communicate their personal identities. 


March 1, 2021

Andrea Toliver-Smith, PhD, CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor, Maryville University

"A Phenomenological Study of Multicultural/Multilingual Infusion in Communication Sciences and Disorders"

Abstract:  Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of multicultural/multilingual infusion (MMI) in communication science and disorders courses from a pedagogical perspective in order to assist future instructors in teaching their students in the area of multicultural issues.  Method: The participants were recruited during a National Black Association of Speech, Language, and Hearing (NBASLH) Conference.  They completed an online questionnaire with 10 open-ended questions pertaining to how they infused multicultural information into their courses.  Results:  Survey data revealed various themes that addressed MMI and examples of strategies and activities. Conclusion: The results highlight methods and resources for MMI. The use of MMI as a way to begin eliminating racism with the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders is discussed. 


February 1, 2021

Gabriela Simon-Cereijido, PhD, CCC-SLP 

Associate Professor, California State University

"Content, form, experience, and ability in the language of dual language learners"


January 25, 2021

Valarie B. Fleming, PhD, CCC-SLP

Professor and Chair, Texas State University

"Toward establishing an inclusive learning environment in CSD"

Abstract:  Increasing communication sciences and disorders (CSD) professionals’ cultural competence is of the highest importance to address cultural and linguistic influences on service delivery outcomes.  Setting clinicians on the path to cultural competence/cultural humility begins with inclusive and innovative practices in CSD educational programs. This session will provide faculty tools to begin transforming courses to become not only more inclusive and equitable in nature, but also to help educate future clinicians in providing inclusive services by nature.




Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, Lyles-Porter Hall, 715 Clinic Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2122, PH: (765) 494-3789

2020 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by SLHS

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue Marketing and Media at