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Dr. Olswang’s research has focused on measuring the benefits of treatment for individuals with language disorders, including the use of dynamic assessment as a means of predicting change in young children with specific language impairments. One research project focuses on the development of early signals of communication; another focuses on social communication deficits exhibited by school-age children. The research examining early signals of communication involves infants developing typically and infants with physical impairments. The social communication research involves school-age children with an array of disabilities, although the primary work has been conducted with children who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol.
Olswang’s research focuses on verbal and nonverbal communication and the clinical processes of assessment and intervention. Verbal communication research examines semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. Nonverbal communication research examines gestures, eye gaze, and augmentative communication strategies. Assessment and intervention research primarily focuses on the role of context as it affects performance, ranging from naturalistic observation to highly structured dynamic assessment. The focus of research in infants is on gestures and eye gaze as communicative signals. Other research is done with school-age children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and specific language impairment.
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