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School-Age Language Acquisition and disorders Laboratory

Research in the School-Age Language Acquisition and Disorders Lab examines the development of language in students in grades kindergarten through secondary school as well as evaluation of effective diagnostic and treatment for language-based disorders within the schools. The lab is directed by Dr. Jayne Brandel, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Current Research Project

Professional Development
The SALAD team is currently exploring best practices related to cost-effective professional development in the schools to create sustainable change. Collaboration with Dr. Sandi Gillam at Utah State University has resulted in an examination of school-based SLPs attitudes related to evidence-based practice and the development of a proposal for training school-based professionals working with students at-risk for reading comprehension disorders to integrate effective narrative instruction strategies into the classroom. Extension into goal writing practices of school-based SLPs is in progress as well.

Clinical Training
Dr. Brandel, Dr. Meigh, and colleagues at the University of Kansas are exploring effective clinical instruction practices to improve the clinical skills of graduate speech-language pathology students. Current research is related to goal writing and interview skills which includes the use of online modules paired with formative and summative assessments and simulation.

Development of Oral and Written Language
The lab is currently funded by the West Virginia Department of Education to establish a normative database for narrative, expository, and persuasive written language. The database will include analyzed writing samples from students across West Virginia in 2nd through 12th grades which can be utilized for the evaluation and progress monitoring of students at-risk or with language disorders. Research utilizing these samples to learn about the development of complex language such as verbs and clausal structures will help to expand the knowledge of practitioners so they can effectively assist students with language disorders in the schools.

Opportunities for Students

Join the SALAD team!

Undergraduate and graduate students who participate in the SALAD lab will acquire skills in the acquisition, transcription, and analysis of oral and written language samples. In addition, they have the opportunity to evaluate and implement language interventions for school-age students as well as interact with school-based speech-language pathologists in the West Virginia schools while sharing information regarding effective research-based evaluation and treatment procedures for school-age students.

Presentation Documents