I am currently involved in two major research areas. One focuses on the development of signals of communication and the other focuses on social communication deficits exhibited by school-age children. The research examining signals of communication involves infants with motor impairments, infants developing typically, and young adults who are severely/profoundly disabled. The focus is on nonverbal signals of communication, including gestures, eye gaze and other observable/idiosyncratic behaviors. The social communication research involves school-age children with an array of impairments, although the primary work has been conducted with children who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol.
|Research Area and Projects||Content||Collaborators||Grant Support|
| Signals of Communication
This research area focuses on nonverbal and early verbal signals of communication. The research has two parts:
1. Early signals of communication produced by babies (with and without impairments), with an emphasis on gestures and eye gaze as they lead to first word productions.
2. Nonconventional forms of communication produced by individuals with severe/profound developmental disabilities. The emphasis here is on use of alternative strategies to communicate, including switch use and overt behaviors (smiles, gestures, eye gaze, body movement, and other idiosyncratic behaviors) to regulate the context.
|A major thrust of this
research has examined the effectiveness of intervention
designed to teach babies between 12-20 months early
signals of communication, including looking at objects of
interest (dyadic eye gaze), reaching towards objects of
interest, and looking back and forth between an adult and
objects of interest (triadic eye gaze). We have
successfully taught babies with moderate to severe
physical disabilities how to use these signals to
communicate with their parents. We have also completed a
parent training study, where we taught parents how to
teach their children these signals. You can find out more
about this research by reading the following publications:
Pinder, G.L., Olswang, L.B., & Coggins, K. (1993). The development of communicative intent in a physically disabled child. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 3, 1-17.Pinder, G.L., & Olswang, L.B. (1995). Development of communicative intent in young children with cerebral palsy: A treatment efficacy study. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 5, 51-69.
Olswang, L.B. & Pinder, G.L. (1995). Preverbal functional communication and the role of object play in children with cerebral palsy. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 5, 277-300.
Olswang, L.B., Pinder, G.L., & Hanson, R. (2006). Communication in young children with motor impairments: teaching caregivers to teach. Seminars in Speech and Language, 27, 199-214.
Another aspect of this research is examining whether early signals of communication used to regulate the behavior of adults are correlated with emerging language and social skills. We will be tracking the development of dyadic and triadic eye gaze (with and without gestures of reaching/pointing and showing/giving) in relationship to emerging language (as measured by the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory and mean length of utterance), and social skills (as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale). Babies developing typically will be seen at 7, 11, 18 and 24 months for this research. In addition, we will explore how caregivers' behaviors might shape emerging signals of communication produced by the babies. Ultimately, we will be applying these data to children with disabilities, with the hopes of designing intervention strategies.
Finally, we have been exploring the nonverbal communication used by young adults with severe/profound disabilities. These individuals are residents at Fircrest School in Seattle. Working with Drs. Richard and Muriel Saunders from the University of Kansas, we have been exploring use of switches (AAC strategies) to activate leisure devices and/or to make social contact. We are currently exploring other, "unconventional" forms of communication, produced with leisure devices and in social situations.
To read more about this research, please see:
Murphy, K. M., Saunders,
M. D., Saunders, R. R., & Olswang, L. B. (2004). Effects of ambient
stimuli on measures of behavioral state and microswitch use in adults
with profound multiple impairments. Research in Developmental
Disabilities, 25, 355-270.
|Gay Loyd Pinder, PhD,
Children's Therapy Center, Kent, Washington
Patricia Dowden, PhD, UW, Dept. of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Ann Mastergeorge, PhD, UC-Davis, M.I.N.D. Institute
Richard and Muriel Saunders, PhD, University of Kansas
UW Students: Rebecca Hanson, PhC
Washington, Royalty Research Award, 1998-1999
Center for Mind, Brain and Learning, University of Washington 2001-2003
NIH Grant-Communication in MR, University of Kansas, Richard Saunders PI, 2002-2005.
|Research Area and Projects||Content||Collaborators||Grant Support|
|This research is
exploring the social communication of school-age children
who demonstrate problems interacting with peers. Many children
with disabilities demonstrate social communication problems, for
example, difficulty entering peer groups and negotiating with
peers. We are attempting to determine how children's linguistic
skills, social-cognitive knowledge, and processing/executive
functioning abilities come together to support
appropriate social interactions. We are in the process of completing several
studies that are examining the performance of children
with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in classroom situations. These studies are allowing us to
determine the best ways to measure impairments of social
communication. This research is utilizing a variety of standardized and
nonstandardized procedures. We are particularly excited about a
new technology that allows us to use handheld data entry devices for
recording data in natural contexts. Professionals can easily
enter data via drop down menus as a means of tracking a child's social
communication problems during the school day. We are also conducting research that is
exploring intervention strategies for working with these
children in everyday contexts. You can
find out more about this research program by reading the
Timler, G. & Olswang, L. (2001). Variable structure/variable performance: caregiver and teacher perspectives on a school-age child with FAS. Journal of Positive Behavioral Intervention, 3, 48-56.Olswang, L., Coggins, T., & Timler, G. (2001). Outcome measures for school-age children with social communication problems. Topics in Language Disorders, 21(4), 50-73.
Coggins, T., Olswang, L., Carmichael Olson, H., & Timler, G. (2003) On becoming socially competent communicators: the challenge for children with fetal alcohol exposure. L. Abbeduto (ed.)., International Review of Research in Mental Retardation: Language and Communication in Mental Retardation, Vol 27, New York: Academic Press.
Beilinson, J., & Olswang, L (2003).
peer group entry in kindergarteners with deficits in social
communication. Language, Speech, Hearing Services in Schools,
In addition we are collaborating with parents and professionals to gather important information about the prevalence of social communication deficits among school-age children with a variety of underlying impairments, the characteristics of these children, and the array of problem behaviors they exhibit in the school environment. These collaborative data are being collected via our Social Communication Web site (http://depts.washington.edu/soccomm). This Web site not only serves to collect these data, it provides the visitor with information about our model of social communication, assessment guidelines, and an opportunity to inquire about the social communication of particular children. I hope you will visit this site to obtain a sense of our work, and to participate in our collaborative data collection.
Faculty: Truman Coggins, PhD., UW, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
Heather Carmichael Olson, PhD., UW, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Susan Astley, PhD.,UW, Epidemiology
Geralyn Timler, PhD. University of Buffalo
Liselotte Svensson, PhD Sweden
Association for Retarded Citizens, 1998-1999
University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, 1999-2000
University of Washington, Tools for Transformation Award, 1999-2001
Centers for Disease Control, 2001-2005
University of Washington, Royalty Research Award, 2002-2005