Background: I first became interested in AAC during my undergraduate program in speech and hearing sciences at the University of New Mexico. During my undergraduate and graduate programs I worked on several research projects with Dr. Cathy Binger focused on teaching preschool children to create rule-based messages using graphic symbol-based AAC systems. I received my master’s degree in speech-language pathology from UNM and then completed my clinical fellowship in Denver, Colorado. In Denver, I worked at a private practice specializing in AAC where the majority of my caseload was bilingual. This experience drives many of my current research questions related to how best to support bilingual children who use AAC.
Current Interests: Broadly, my research interests involve supporting language and social development in children with complex communication needs (CCN) who may benefit from AAC. I am specifically interested in researching language development in children with CCN who grow up in bilingual environments. I would like to investigate the cognitive, linguistic, and social factors that affect a child’s ability to successfully acquire two languages when they rely on a graphic symbol modality to communicate. I hope to investigate research questions related to bilingual AAC assessments and interventions as well as bilingual AAC vocabulary layout and system design
Sample Presentation/Publication: King, M. R., Binger, C., & Kent-Walsh, J. (2015). Using dynamic assessment to evaluate the expressive syntax of children who use augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31, 1-14. My master’s thesis, entitled “Using Dynamic Assessment to Assess Syntax with Five-Year-Olds using an AAC iPad App,” sparked my interest in measuring change in children’s learning across brief periods of time. I am particularly interested in using dynamic assessment in children with cognitive and linguistic impairments and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Dissertation Chair: Dr MaryAnn Romski
Presentation Topic: Conceptual Language Discrimination by Spanish-English Bilingual Preschool Children using a Bilingual AAC iPad app