By Kate Hunger
A year-long research mentorship program will help Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Assistant Professor Casey Taliancich-Klinger, PhD, develop her research program on developmental language disorder among bilingual children.
As one of the early-career clinical scientists chosen to participate in the 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Pathways program, Dr. Taliancich-Klinger will attend the 2021 virtual Pathways conference in June and will develop and report on her five-year research plan to the ASLHA. She will be mentored by Shelley Gray, professor of speech and hearing science in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.
“Dr. Gray is a pioneer, a trailblazer in our field, and it’s really important for me as a junior faculty member to have that mentorship opportunity,” Dr. Taliancich-Klinger said. “She is an expert in word learning and has done a lot of work in bilingualism.”
Sometimes called an “invisible disorder,” developmental language disorder can be missed or overlooked, Dr. Taliancich-Klinger said. Early signs of developmental language disorder include not combining words by age 2, not exhibiting a diverse or rapidly expanding vocabulary and difficulty understanding simple directions. Bilingual children in particular often are not diagnosed with developmental language disorder because of common misperceptions that learning two languages affects language production characteristics and understanding, she said.
“Spanish is the most popular second language spoken in the U.S.,” she said. “There are so many Spanish-speaking children in the United States who potentially are not identified for needing services.”