Speech and Hearing Sciences Talk: Audra M. Sterling (02/09/12)

A Multi-Faceted Approach to Understanding the Language Phenotypes of Fragile X and Autism

Audra SterlingAudra M. Sterling, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist Waisman Center University of Wisconsin-Madison


An objective of present research across various developmental disorders is the comparison of language phenotypes. One goal is to determine the extent to which there are unique profiles of strengths and weaknesses associated with different disorders, relative to explanations based primarily on the presence of an intellectual disability. Disorders with similar symptomology, such as autism and fragile X syndrome (FXS) are of particular interest.
Given that FXS is a single-gene syndrome, it provides a unique opportunity to explore the effects of the genetic anomaly on language. My research seeks to understand the contributions of both biology (as represented by genetic syndromes, e.g., FXS) and environment (as represented in this case by parenting) in the development of language and cognition in children with developmental disabilities. This work is necessary in order to lay the groundwork for the development of assessment and intervention protocols for children with cognitive and language impairments. I will present findings which highlight the similarities and differences between children with intellectual disabilities, using different methodological approaches.

[NIH grant support: University of Wisconsin-Madison, DC011616 and HD07489; University of Kansas, DC000052 and HD003110]

Audra M. Sterling, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Scientist at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her NIH funded research focuses on language development and cognition across different disorder types, including those with Autism-spectrum disorders and Fragile X.

For further information, please contact Joan Hanson at jwhanson@uw.edu.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY 206.685.7264 (FAX), or dso@u.washington.edu


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