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K-State Today

April 15, 2016



ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series presents Nancy Brady

By Tawny Ochs

The ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture Series and Ji Young Na, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, will host Nancy Brady, associate professor of speech-language-hearing: sciences and disorders, at the University of Kansas, at 12:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, in 127 Leadership Studies Building. Brady will present "Strategies for Prompting Communication in Individuals with Autism and Severe Communication Impairment." 

Brady's lecture abstract: Students with autism and severe communication impairments pose significant challenges to families, school personnel and additional interventionists. Despite many decades of research on strategies to promote communication, significant needs remain in terms of assessment, development of evidence based interventions and translations of these interventions across functional environments. Brady will discuss recent advances in assessing children and adults with autism and minimal verbal skills, including the development of the Communication Complexity Scale (Brady et al., 2012).

Importantly, this scale has been demonstrated to reflect meaningful responses to behavioral interventions, including two interventions under investigation by Brady and colleagues at KU. One intervention combines augmentative and alternative communication with speech sound development to optimize word learning. The second intervention teaches peers to interact with each other using an iPad with speech generating software. Results from these studies are leading to new clinical trials research and development of assessments that will measure early communication development within classroom contexts.

Brady is one of the leading international experts in augmentative and alternative communication. She has published two books and is working on a third: "Teaching skills to individuals with severe disabilities," 2011; "Teaching pragmatic skills to individuals with severe disabilities," 2011; and "What is the State of the Evidence? Examining the Science and Practice of Communication Interventions for Individuals with Severe Disabilities," in press. Brady also has participated in writing six other books in the field. She has authored over 57 peer reviewed journal articles and presented her research works at major national and international conferences. In 2013, Brady was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for her research on the validity of the communication complexity scales with 300 older children and adults.

Brady is past chair for the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities, an associate editor for the American Journal of Speech Language Pathology and an advisory board member for Community Living Opportunities.

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