School-Age Language Acquisition and Disorders Lab

Research in the School-Age Language Acquisition and Disorders Lab is multifaceted as it examines the language development of students in elementary through secondary school. Using this information as well as incorporating other research, the lab then applies this knowledge to evaluate effective clinical practices for language-based disorders within the schools.

The SALAD Lab is home to a resource loan program, the WV SLP Resource Library, for practicing clinicians and a place where speech-language pathologists may submit language samples for analysis all supported by the West Virginia Department of Education.

The lab is directed by Dr. Jayne Brandel, Associate Professor in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Current Research Projects

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 includes analyzed writing samples from students across West Virginia in 2nd through 12th grades which can be utilized by speech-language pathologists during the diagnostic or treatment process. Research utilizing these samples to learn about the development of complex, academic 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 schools.

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 using online modules paired with formative and summative assessments as well as simulation.