Scientific Language & Literacy Advisory Board

FL3 has a second advisory board of national experts on language and literacy development for children who are deaf/hard of hearing. This Board is comprised of professionals and parent partners from a broad range of experiences who serve as advisors related to language and literacy for very young children, in all of its aspects.
The Advisory Board works to summarize the latest evidence-based research findings, identify current resources and training opportunities for infants/toddlers/children identified as deaf or hard of hearing in cognitive, social, and emotional developmental process and developmental milestones.

Scientific Language and Literacy

Advisory Board Members

Christine Yoshinago-Itano, Ph.D, Chair of Scientific Language and Literacy Advisory Board Research Professor, Professor Emeritus-University of Colorado, Boulder, Institute of Cognitive Science. Teacher of the deaf, audiology, cognitive, language social, emotional, literacy – work with low-resource families, non-English speaking and Deaf Plus populations, in addition to bilateral, unilateral populations.

Sophie Ambrose, Ph.D, CCC-SLP Staff Scientist and Director of the Communication Development Lab-Center for Childhood Deafness at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Conducts research on communication outcomes including two NIH-funded grants focusing on how parent interaction styles contribute to the communication outcomes of young children with hearing loss. Current research includes developing a parent-implemented intervention to support the outcomes of toddlers with hearing loss and how to most effectively provide parents with the training they need to implement the intervention.

Shirin Antia, Ph.D –University of Arizona, Meyerson Distinguished Professor of Disability and Rehabilitation, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, College of Education. Teaches masters- and doctoral-level courses in the areas of language development of exceptional students, inclusion, and research. She is currently one of the co-principal investigators of the Center for Literacy and Deafness (CLAD). 

Elaine Gale, Ph.D –Coordinator of a deaf and hard of hearing teacher preparation program, Hunter College, The City University of New York. Researcher focusing on involvement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in leadership roles working with young families and their young children who are deaf/hard of hearing. Former sign language mentor for the Colorado Home Intervention Program. Being a deaf individual with deaf parents experienced the importance of growing up with deaf role models.

Matthew Hall, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Fellow, Linguistics Department, University of Connecticut –Expertise in Cognitive Psychology and Language Processing, particularly with respect to deaf children who have contrasting language exposure profiles in earliest years. Committed to ensuring that resources developed accurately reflect current knowledge.

Amy Lederberg, Ph.D -  Regents’ Professor of Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders and principal investigator for the Center on Literacy and Deafness, with focused efforts on developing and field testing  interventions that will assist kindergarten through 2nd grade children who are deaf or hard of hearing to master literacy more effectively and efficiently.

Emily Lund, Ph. D CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor, Davies School of Communication Sciences Disorders, Texas Christian University. PI studying the effects of parent responsiveness training on young children with hearing loss and a project studying the development of phonological development in young children with cochlear implants. Eight published articles using original research data on children with HL.

Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D, Director Center for Childhood Deafness Language Development Laboratory Boys Town National Research Hospital. Served as PI on the Information Dissemination component of an NIDCD-funded P50 Grant developing curriculum materials to support parents in interacting with their young deaf children. Developed resources for parents through an NIDCD-funded R25 award designed to disseminate research related to NBHS and follow-up.

Mallene Wiggin, M.A., CCC -SLP – University of Colorado, Boulder speech/language pathology, language especially spoken language. Professional experience includes both a clinical and research.  Clinically, directly with families supporting speech and language development in cochlear implant clinic, children’s hospital, and home intervention settings.  Research background is in developing speech and language development in young children (birth to 5) with hearing loss. 

Susan E Wiley, MD - Co-Director, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Developmental Pediatrician, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati. Sonya Oppenheimer Chair of Developmental Pediatrics. Serves as a member of the AAP Leadership Team for EHDI and a state Chapter Champion. Strong interest in children who are deaf/hard of hearing Plus. Works within a division at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center which houses a University Center for Developmental Disabilities which holds the Ohio Family to Family Health Information grant. Specialist in Autism/Deafness.

Amy Szarkowski PhD, – Psychologist Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program Boston Children’s Hospital (social-emotional – specialist multiply disabled) , Instructor  Department of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, Harvard  psychology. Seminar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University to bring together leading scholars, researchers, practitioners and parents to identify the social-emotional and social pragmatic skill development needs of deaf and hard of hearing children, and to consider how we might best work to address these needs.

Bridgetta Bourne-Firl M.A. – Director of Planning, Development & Dissemination at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center focusing on providing technical assistance and resources to educational professionals working with deaf and hard of hearing students and families raising deaf and hard of hearing children. Served on California's Medical Group Home monitoring group involving their EHDI and currently serving on the Maryland's EHDI Advisory Council. Has worked with parents in various capacities - from teaching ASL, to planning family orientation/learning weekends conducted in English/ASL, Latino Family Weekend conducted in Spanish, English, and ASL.

Melissa Herzig, Ed.D, Education and Research Translation Manager for VL2 and Assistant Director of the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience program at Gallaudet University. She is responsible for leading assessments and evaluations of resources within VL2 and for working with schools. She has a BA in Biology at Gallaudet University and MA in Teaching and Learning: ASL-English Bilingual Education and EdD in Teaching and Learning at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She worked at Salk Institute and San Diego State University as Scholar Researcher and was a postdoc at UCSD.  She was also a teacher at a mainstreamed school for 8 years. She worked as a supervisor for student teachers at UCSD and was a lead supervisor for student teachers and interns at National University (NU).

Family leaders: Lisa Kovacs – Hands & Voices Director of Programs, AAP EHDI Leadership Team and QI Expert Group, IN DOE State Special Education Advisory Co-Chair, Parent. 

Terri Patterson – GA EHDI Task Force Member, Georgia Newborn Screening Advisory Committee Member, Georgia Pathway to Language and Literacy Core Committee member, Hands & Voices Director of Chapter Support, Co-Chair EHDI Parent to Parent Sub Committee, Parent.