Current Projects


In our Kindergarten Children Acquiring Words through Storybook Reading (KAW Story) project, we are figuring out the best way to teach children with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) new words during book reading. Two children in every kindergarten classroom have DLD but many go undiagnosed becasue they have strengths in so many other areas. DLD affects a child's ability to talk to others and to understand what others say to them. Many children with DLD don't know enough words for their age or don't know enough about each word to use the word well or quickly. Book reading is a common activity that children do at home and in their classrooms. If we can figure out a way to help children learn new words through book reading, we can improve their vocabulary. Vocabulary is important for becoming a good reader and a successful student. You can't read and understand a book if you don't know the words. Learning in the classroom involves learning new words that are important in different subjects. If we improve vocabulary in Kindergarten, children with DLD will be on their way to becoming good readers and successful students. KAW Story is a clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

So far, we have learned that:

  • Children with DLD need three times as many exposures to a word to learn it. We can't just read the book cover-to-cover one time. We need to talk about the words and read the book over and over again.
  • Each child with DLD is different. Some children learn many words through book reading. Some children learn few words through book reading. We are trying to figure out which children with DLD will benefit the most from book reading.

Do you have a child with DLD who might benefit from book reading?  Click here to enter your contact information. Someone from our lab will get in touch with more details!

**If the link to the form doesn't work, please send your name and contact information to or text 913-730-0222 and we'll send you more information. Thanks!**

Consent Form (Web Version)

In healthcare, it is estimated that it takes 17 years for effective treatments to move from research studies into clinical practice. It is further estimated that people only receive about 50% of recommended health care procedures. There is emeging evidence that the same problem exists in speech-language pathology. A survey by Brumbaugh and Smit 2013 showed that speech-language pathologists were most familiar with treatments for speech sound disorders that were available before 1985. In comparison, speech-language pathologists were least familiar with treatments for speech sound disorders that were available after 1985. It didn't matter when speech-language pathologists received their training. Even recent graduates were less familiar with recent treatments for speech sound disorders. There are *many* barriers to getting effective treatments into schools and clinics as quickly as possible. One barrier is that research articles are not written in a way that makes it easy for clinicians to quickly apply the findings to their practice. Typically, speech-language pathologist have to do a lot of extra work to go from reading a research article to using the treatment with a child. We are working to take those middle steps out of the research-to practice-pipeline by writing tutorials and providing trainings that include all the materials a clinician would need to immediately use the treatment with a child. In addition, we are working to create treatments that can be used in real world schools and clinics. This means that we are trying to do our treatment research in ways that mimic real world settings so that the middle steps of figuring out how to make a treatment work in a busy school or clinic setting are no longer needed. As we have success in this project, it will take less time for children to receive new, effective treatments. When children receive the best treatment available at the earliest age possible, they are put on an early path to success in school and life. 

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