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School of Family Studies and Human Services

Research & Scholarship

Research conducted by the faculty in communication sciences and disorders contributes to the well-being of both children and adults who may experience difficulty with communication or impaired swallowing. Many K-State undergraduate and graduate students have collaborated on scholarly presentations, publications, or grants with faculty in CSD.

Read a short description about different areas of emphasis:

Debra L. Burnett
Debra Burnett

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Debra L. Burnett researches areas related to child language development and disorders. Her main focus is language comprehension and pragmatics within both typically developing and disordered populations (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment and auditory processing disorder). Current research collaborations include projects to develop interventions for children with ASD with the K-State Autism Research Team and the University of Kansas, a project with CSD colleague Ann Smit to standardize a newly developed questionnaire that assesses mode and understandability with young children (Caregiver/Parent Understanding-the-Child Questionnaire or CPUCQ, pronounced as "See Puck"), and interventions for Auditory Processing Disorder with the K-State Speech and Hearing Center.

Jane Mertz Garcia
Jane Mertz Garcia

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Jane Mertz Garcia focuses on topics that relate to medical speech-language pathology. A common consequence of dysphagia (impaired swallowing) is chronic difficulty swallowing liquid and food consistencies, which may lead to serious medical conditions such as dehydration, malnutrition and pneumonia. Diet modifications, such as thickened liquids, compensate for poor musculature control or changes in the natural protective mechanisms of the body that make it difficult to swallow beverages like water, coffee, or juice. Study results inform clinical practices about the use of thickened liquids, including factors that impact viscosity (thickness), flavor and texture characteristics, and service delivery (e.g., staff training). Publications appear in journals such as Dysphagia, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and the American Journal of Nursing. Garcia's scholarship also contributes to the well-being of people who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI), including development of an health education program to increase awareness of TBI and the importance of community.

Linda Hoag
Linda Hoag

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Linda Hoag researches topics dealing with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and voice. She has studied variables that affect attitudes and communicative behaviors in interactions that involve the use of speech-generating devices. In collaboration with her colleagues from Western Michigan University and the University of Delaware, Hoag has received two R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health to support her research in AAC. She has published her research in Augmentative and Alternative Communication and the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, and presented it at national and international conferences. The outcomes of this research are aimed at improving the design and use of AAC systems so that people who use these systems communicate optimally. Her interests in voice include the functional, auditory-perceptual, acoustic and physiological characteristics of voice following treatment, as well as the voice use and voice characteristics of student clinicians. An additional interest deals with abdominal breathing, a strategy used to manage breathing problems resulting from abnormal behavior of the vocal folds. 

Kristin Pelczarski
Kristin Pelczarski

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Kristin Pelczarski conducts research in the field of stuttering. Her research investigates some of the underlying mechanisms of speech and language planning to determine the role they play in the onset and maintenance of stuttering in children and adults. These mechanisms can be difficult to measure directly because they are processes that are deeply embedded within the language planning system and are difficult to differentiate from influences of the speech-motor system. Her current research utilizes eye tracking, a relatively novel methodology in the field of stuttering, to investigate and differentiate these mechanisms. Dr. Pelczarski's work has been published in the Journal of Fluency Disorders, and she has presented her research findings at state (Pennsylvania Speech and Hearing Association conference), national (American Speech-Language Hearing Association annual conference), and international (International Fluency Association Congress of Fluency Disorders) levels. She has also co-authored a number of book chapters on the clinical treatment of children and adults who stutter.