Faculty Profiles

Stacy Betz

Kristie Spencer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor and Associate Chair


  • Adult sensorimotor speech disorders
  • Adult cognitive-linguistic disorders

Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences
       (For Campus Mail only: Box 354875)
University of Washington
1417 NE 42nd St.
Seattle, WA 98105-6246

Office:(206) 543-7980 Fax:(206) 543-1093
Education & Research: Speech-Language Pathology Division
Faculty & Staff Directory

Kristie Spencer joined the faculty in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2003. Following her master’s degree, Dr. Spencer worked for seven years as a research speech-language pathologist and clinical supervisor at the neuropsychiatric VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. During that time, her clinical experience primarily involved adults with neurogenic speech, language and cognitive disorders. She collaborated on research related to treatment efficacy, discourse analysis for adults with aphasia, and post-stroke depression. Dr. Spencer has presented research at the Clinical Aphasiology conference, the Academy of Aphasia, the International Conference on Motor Speech, the International Neuropsychological Society meeting, and the state and national Speech-Language-Hearing Associations.

Dr. Spencer’s current research is focused on speech motor programming and motor learning in people with Parkinson’s disease. Therapeutic interventions for dysarthria often result in meager outcomes (Spencer et al., 2003). Experts in the field of speech-language pathology have proposed that the principles of motor learning may be the key to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of dysarthria treatment, yet little is known about how to apply these theories to speech rehabilitation. Support for the use of principles of motor learning has emerged from decades of research on how to train healthy young adults to perform novel upper limb movements (Schmidt & Lee, 2005). The evidence is overwhelmingly positive and persuasive but, thus far, the application of these principles to individuals with neurologic injury has been limited. Even sparser are studies applying these principles to individuals with dysarthria and other neurologic speech impairments. Our research is designed to be a systematic examination of the effects of the principles of motor learning on the ability to change speech patterns in healthy older adults, as well as individuals with neurologic impairment. Specifically, in the short-term, we are investigating individuals with speech motor programming/planning deficits who should benefit from implementation of these principles, that is, individuals with dysarthria from Parkinson’s disease and apraxia of speech from stroke. Other projects from our lab relate to the cognitive consequences of neurologic disease. For example, we recently completed a small treatment student investigating the effects of Attention Process Training III in an individual with traumatic brain injury. Our research endeavors are thus designed to better understand the consequences of neurologic injury as well as the theoretical foundations of management approaches for those injuries.

Dr. Spencer teaches graduate courses in Neurogenic Cognitive-Communicative Disorders, Neurogenic Motor Speech Disorders, and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Selected Publications

Horwitz, E.S. and Spencer, K.A. (in press). Daily executive function challenges in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology.

Sanchez, J. and Spencer, K.A. (2013). Preliminary evidence of discourse improvement with dopaminergic medication. Advances in Parkinson’s Disease, 2(2), 37-42.

Bislick, L.P., Weir, P.C., and Spencer, K.A. (2012). Investigation of feedback schedules on speech motor learning in individuals with apraxia of speech. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 20(4), 18-23.

Bislick, L.P., Weir, P.C., Spencer, K.A., Kendall, D., & Yorkston, K. (2012). Do principles of motor learning enhance retention and transfer of speech skills? A systematic review. Aphasiology, 26(5), 709-728.

Jones, H., Kendall, D.L., Okun, M.S., Wu, S.S., Velozo, C.A., Fernandez, H., Spencer, K.A., & Rosenbek, J.C. (2010). Speech motor program maintenance, but not switching, is enhanced by left-hemispheric deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12(5),385-398.

McAllen, A., Spencer, K.A., France, K., & Shulein, O. (2010). Speech and manual reaction time as a function of dopaminergic medication in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 18(3), 59-74.

Spencer, K.A., Morgan, K.W., & Blond, E. (2009). Dopaminergic medication effects on the speech of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 17(3), 125-144..

Slocomb, D. & Spencer, K.A. (2009). The effect of feedback schedule manipulation on speech priming patterns and reaction time. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38, 43-64.

Spencer, K.A. & Wiley, E. (2008). Response priming patterns differ with interstimulus interval duration. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 22(6), 475-490.
Spencer, K.A. & Slocomb, D.L. (2007). The neural bais of ataxic dysarthtia. The Cerebellum, 6(1), 58-65.

Spencer, K.A. (2007). Aberrant response preparation in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 15(1), 83-96.