Speech-Language Pathology Research

Learn more about research occurring in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at Central Michigan University.


Aphasia is the loss of language typically due to stroke or head injury. Research involving aphasia incorporates the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA) which is a social model of aphasia based on the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health framework. Adopting the LPAA involves emphasizing the positive aspects of life with aphasia from the perspective of the person with aphasia, rather than focusing on the impairment, in order to support living a full life despite the challenges caused by aphasia. One particular area of current interest is how speech-language pathologists can support people in reconstructing their identity following aphasia through co-constructed personal narratives.​ 


Speech science

Speech science research involves using articulatory movement tracking, speech acoustic, and psychophysiological methods to examine factors that affect speech production in healthy speakers and speakers with neurogenic disorders. Current speech science research investigates the effects of speech task and cognitive load on speech motor stability and autonomic nervous system activation in healthy adults and individuals with Parkinson disease.


The term dysphagia refers to deficits in transporting saliva, food, or fluid from the mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia research involves explorations in eating and swallowing, oral health and saliva production in a healthy population, with the goal of generating new knowledge related to normal function, and in those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, with the goal of providing dysphagia interventions.

Implementation science

Implementation sciences research involves the use of tools to help speed the transfer of research into practice by collaborating with community partners as equal stakeholders. This research is used to support speech-language pathologists and other healthcare professionals to implement best practices for adults with aphasia, dementia or other neurogenic disorders. Techniques of implementation science also support best practices for children with communication disorders in school settings.​ 

Learn more about the practical implementation collaborative

Dementia and memory care

Dementia and memory care research activities involve social and sensory engagement, involvement in meaningful activities, and the implementation of external memory strategies that promote quality of life, memory, independence, and communication in adults with memory disorders such as dementia. Service-learning data are also incorporated into these projects.​

Literacy and language disorders in children and adolescents

There are a number of research projects related to language and literacy within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. This research involves both children and adults and is conducted on-site in the Carls Center Clinic and off-site in school settings across mid-Michigan. Language and literacy research focuses on receptive and expressive language, both in oral and written forms.

  • This research aims to identify differences in the reading and writing abilities of adolescents and adults with and without literacy disorders. Understanding the differences between these populations assists in the development​ of assessment procedures that accurately identify students with literacy disorders. This research also focuses on the intervention and assessment materials used to identify adolescents and adults with writing difficulties, as there is no current standardized diagnostic writing measure that sufficiently assesses writing abilities of adolescents and adults with language disorders and/or learning disabilities.
  • Research in this area utilizes local elementary educators in identifying students who need differentiated instruction and evidence-based interventions in the areas of language and literacy, specifically those diagnosed with dyslexia.