Preverbal Development - Babies typically developing and with motor impairments

Treatment for Triadic Eye Gaze (TEG). This program of research has been going on since 1990.  The research has examined the development of triadic eye gaze (looking back and forth between an adult and an object of interest) in typically developing babies and babies with moderate to severe motor impairments.  The research with babies developing typically was supported by the UW Institute of Learning and Brain Science (ILABS).  The research with babies with disabilities has included wonderful collaborations with Drs. Gay Lloyd Pinder and Patricia Dowden.  The program of research started with Gay Lloyd’s dissertation and subsequently, several related research projects (and publications), all addressing treatment for teaching TEG. This collaborative research developed into a plan to conduct a clinical trial to document the efficacy of the TEG treatment. As an outgrowth of work with Richard Saunders (University of Kansas) examining nonverbal communication in individuals with severe developmental disabilities, the TEG research with Gay Lloyd Pinder and Pat Dowden has become part of a Program Project housed at the University of Kansas (Richard Saunders, PI). The TEG project is one of three individual projects, all investigating important milestones in the development of communication for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities.  Funding from the National Institutes of Health for this grant began in 2007 and will end in 20113.  

Relevant Publications:


Pinder, G.L., Olswang, L.B., & Coggins, K. (1993). The development of communicative intent in a physically disabled child. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 3, 1-17.

Pinder, G.L., & Olswang, L.B. (1995). Development of communicative intent in young children with cerebral palsy: A treatment efficacy study. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 5, 51-69.

Olswang, L.B. & Pinder, G.L. (1995). Preverbal functional communication and the role of object play in children with cerebral palsy. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 5, 277-300.

Olswang, L., Pinder, G-L, & Hanson, R. (2006).  Communication in young children with motor impairments: Teaching caregivers to teach. Seminars in Speech and Language.  Current Issues in Providing Services to Infants and Toddlers, 27, 199-214.


Brady, N., Fleming, K., Thiemann-Bourke, K, Olswang, L., Dowden, P., Saunders, M. (In Press). Development of the Communication Complexity Scale. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.



School Age Social Communication

Social Communication in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD.  This research was funded for four years, ending Autumn 2005 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  “Intervening with Children/Adolescents with FAS/ARND,” Co-Investigator, (PI-Susan Astley, University of Washington, Epidemiology).  The focus of this research has been on the social communication problems exhibited by children with FASD in the natural, school environment.  Funding from the CDC supported the documentation of the validity and reliability of a new technology and methodology for measuring social communication performance in the classroom.  This technology, which was an outgrowth of a University of Washington Tools for Transformation Grant, utilized a PALM PDA to allow for feasible, on-line data collection in a natural environment.  Several publications resulted from this work.

Relevant Publications:

Coggins, T., Olswang, L., Carmichael Olson, H., & Timler, G. (2003) On becoming socially competent communicators: the challenge for children with fetal alcohol exposure.  L. Abbeduto (ed.)., International Review of Research in Mental Retardation: Language and Communication in Mental Retardation, Vol 27, New York:  Academic Press. 

Timler, G., Olswang, L., & Coggins, T. (2005).  “Do I Know What I need to Do?”  A social communication intervention for children with complex clinical profiles.  Language, Speech, and Hearing Services In Schools, 36, 73-85.

Timler, G., Olswang, L., & Coggins, T. (2005).  Social communication interventions for preschoolers targeting peer interactions during peer group entry and cooperative play. Seminars in Speech and Language. 26, 170-180.

Olswang, L., Svensson, L., Coggins, T., Beilinson, J., & Donaldson, A. (2006).  Reliability issues and solutions for coding social communication performance in classroom settings. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(5), 1058-71.

Coggins, T., Timler, G., & Olswang, L (2007).  A state of double jeopardy:  Impact of prenatal alcohol exposure and maltreatment on the social communicative abilities of school-age children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.  

Olswang, L., Coggins, T., & Svensson, L. (2007).  Assessing social communication in the classroom:  observing manner and duration of performance.  Topics in Language Disorders, (27), 107-125. 

Olswang, L., Svensson, L., & Astley (2010) Observation of classroom social communication: Do children with fetal alcohol syndrome disorders spend their time differently than their typical peers?  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53,1687-1703. 


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