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Janice Light
Janice C. Light
Professor
The Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children's Communicative Competence
Department
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders - CSD
Education
  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1990
Phone
Email
Office Address
401H Ford Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Fax
814-863-3759
Professional Credentials

Ph.D

Grants and Research Projects

My research is focused on improving communication outcomes and enhancing quality of life for individuals who have complex communication needs, including individuals with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual/ developmental disabilities and other special needs. These individuals benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) (e.g., signs, communication boards, speech generating devices, mobile technologies with AAC apps). Specifically, I am involved in a series of multidisciplinary collaborative research projects designed to:

  1. Enhance language and communication development for young children who require AAC (for further information, visit aackids.psu.edu)
  2. Improve literacy outcomes with individuals who require AAC (for further information, visit aacliteracy.psu.edu)
  3. Enhance the communicative competence of individuals who require AAC
  4. Improve the design of AAC technologies for individuals with complex communication needs and their families (for more information, visit rerc-aac.org)
Publications
  • Caron, J.G., Light, J., Davidoff, B., & Drager, K. (2017). Comparison of the effects of mobile technology AAC apps on programming VSDs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 4, 239-248. doi 10.1080/07434618.2017.1388836

  • Holyfield, C., Drager, K., Kremkow, J., & Light, J. (2017). Systematic review of AAC intervention research for adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 4, 201-212. doi 10.1080/07434618.2017.1370495

  • Mandak, K., & Light, J. (early online 2017). Family-centered services for children with ASD and limited speech: The experiences of parents and speech language pathologists. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders doi 10.1007/s10803-017-3241-y

  • Drager, K., Light, J., Currall, J., Muttiah, N., Smith, V., Kreis, D., Nilam-Hall, A., Parratt, D., Schuessler, K., Shermetta, K., & Wiscount, J. (early online 2017). AAC technologies with visual scene displays and “just in time” programming and symbolic communication turns expressed by students with severe disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. doi 10.3109/13668250.2017.1326585

  • Boyle, S., McCoy, A., McNaughton, D. & Light, J. (2017). Using digital texts in interactive reading activities for children with language delays and disorders: A review of the research literature and pilot study. Seminars in Speech and Language, 38,263-275.

  • Holyfield, C., Drager, K., Light, J., & Caron, J.G. (2017). Typical toddlers’ participation in “just in time” programming of vocabulary for visual scene display augmentative and alternative communication apps on mobile technology. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 26, 737-749. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-15-0197

  • Caron, J. & Light, J. (2017). Social media experiences of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 19, 30-42. doi:10.3109/17549507.2016.1143970

  • Mandak, K., O’Neill, T., Light, J., & Fosco, G. (2017). Bridging the gap from values to actions: A family systems framework for family-centered AAC services. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 33, 32-41. doi: 10.1080/07434618.2016.1271453

  • Light, J. (2016). AAC intervention to build communication, language, and literacy skills with children with complex communication needs: Advances in the field and future directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32, 238-240.

  • Sennott, S., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2016). AAC modeling intervention research review. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 41,101-115. doi: 10.1177/1540796916638822

  • Therrien, M. & Light, J. (in press). Teaching communicative turn-taking using the iPad to support social interaction for children who use AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. doi: 10.1080/07434618.2016.1205133.

  • Caron, J. & Light, J. (2016/ early online). “Social media is a way of communication”: A preliminary study of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology doi: 10.3109/17549507.2016.1143970

  • Caron, J., Light, J., & Drager, K. (2016). Operational demands of AAC mobile technology applications on programming vocabulary and engagement during professional and child interactions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32, 12-24.

  • Caron, J. & Light, J. (2016). “Social media has opened a world of ‘open communication:’” Experiences of adults with cerebral palsy who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32, 25-40.

  • Benedek-Wood, E., McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2016). Instruction in letter sound correspondences for children with autism spectrum disorder and limited speech. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 36, 43-54.

  • Therrien, M., Light, J., & Pope, L. (2016). Systematic review of the effects of interventions to promote peer interactions for children who use aided AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32, 81-93. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2016.1146331

  • Caron, J. & Light, J. (2015). “My world has expanded even though I'm stuck at home”: Experiences of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who use augmentative and alternative communication and social media. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 24, 680-695.

  • McNaughton, D. & Light, J. (2015). What we write about when we write about AAC: The past 30 years of research and future directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31, 261-270.

  • Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (2015). Designing AAC research and intervention to improve outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31, 85-96.

  • Worah, S., McNaughton, D., Light, J., & Benedek-Wood, E. (2015). A comparison of two approaches for representing AAC vocabulary for young children. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 460-469.

  • Douglas, S. N., McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2014). Online Training for Paraeducators to Support the Communication of Young Children. Journal of Early Intervention, 1053815114526782.

  • Wilkinson, K. M., & Light, J. (2014). Preliminary study of gaze toward humans in photographs by individuals with autism, Down syndrome, or other intellectual disabilities: Implications for design of visual scene displays. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, (0), 1-17.

  • Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2014). Communicative Competence for Individuals who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication: A New Definition for a New Era of Communication?. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 30(1), 1-18.

  • Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2014). From Basic to Applied Research to Improve Outcomes for Individuals Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Potential Contributions of Eye Tracking Research Methods. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 30(2), 99-105.

  • Douglas, S. N., Light, J. C., & McNaughton, D. B. (2013). Teaching paraeducators to support the communication of young children with complex communication needs. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 33(2), 91-101.

  • Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2013). Putting people first: Re-thinking the role of technology in augmentative and alternative communication intervention. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29(4), 299-309.

  • McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2013). The iPad and mobile technology revolution: Benefits and challenges for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29(2), 107-116.

  • Drager, K. D. R., Light, J. C., & McNaughton, D. B. Effects of AAC interventions on communication and language for young children with complex communication needs. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 3 (2010) 303–310

  • Costigan, F. A. & Light, J. (2010). Effect of seated position on upper-extremity access to augmentative communication for children with cerebral palsy: Preliminary investigation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 596-604. 

  • Higginbotham, D. J., Beukelman, D., Blackstone, S., Bryen, D., Caves, K., DeRuyter, F., Jakobs, T., Light, J., McNaughton, D., Shane, H., & Williams, M. (2009). AAC technology transfer: An AAC-RERC report. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 25, 68-76.
  • Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (2009). Accessible literacy learning: Evidence-based reading instruction for learners with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities. San Diego, CA: Mayer Johnson.
  • Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2009). Addressing the literacy demands of the curriculum for conventional and more advanced readers and writers who require AAC. In G. Soto & C. Zangari (Eds.), Practically speaking: Language, literacy, and academic development for students with AAC needs (pp. 217-245). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
  • Finke, E.H., Light, J. & Kitko, L. (2008). A systematic review of the effectiveness of nurse communication with patients with complex communication needs: A systematic review and focus on the utilization of augmentative and alternative communication. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17, 2102–2115.
  • Binger, C., & Light, J. (2008) The Morphology and Syntax of Individuals who use AAC: Research Review and Implications for Effective Practice. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24, 123–138.
  • Light, J., McNaughton, D., Weyer, M., & Karg, L. (2008) Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction for Individuals Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication: A Case Study of a Student with Multiple Disabilities. Seminars in Speech and Language, 29, 120–132.
  • Dattilo, J., Estrella, G., Estrella, L., Light, J., McNaughton, D., & Seabury, M. (2008). "I have chosen to live life abundantly": Perceptions of leisure by adults who use augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24(1):16–28.
  • McNaughton, D., Rackensperger, T., Benedek, E., Krezman, C., Williams, M.B., & Light, J. (2008). "A child needs to be given a chance to succeed": Parents of individuals who use AAC describe the benefits and challenges of learning AAC technologies. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24, 43–55.
  • Light, J., Page, R., Curran, J., & Pitkin, L. (2007). Children's ideas for the design of AAC assistive technologies for young children with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 16, 1–14.
  • Light, J. & Drager, K. (2007). AAC technologies for young children with complex communication needs: State of the science and future research directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 204–216.
  • Lund , S. & Light, J. (2007). Long-term outcomes for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication: Part III
  • Binger, C. & Light, J. (2007). The effect of aided AAC modeling on the expression of multi-symbol messages by preschoolers who use AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 30–43.
  • Lund , S. & Light, J. (2007). Long-term outcomes for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication: Part II - Communicative interaction. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 1–15.
  • Light, J., McNaughton, D., Krezman, D., Williams, M., Gulens, M., Galskoy, A., & Umpleby, M. (2007). The AAC Mentor Project: Web-based instruction in sociorelational skills and collaborative problem solving for adults who use augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 56–75.
  • McCarthy, J., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2007). The effects of internet-based instruction on the social problem solving of young adults who use augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 100–112.
  • McNaughton, D., Symons, G., Light, J., & Parsons, A. (2006). "My dream was to pay taxes": The self-employment experiences of individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 25, 181–196.
  • Lund , S. & Light, J. (2006). Long-term outcomes for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication: Part I - What is a "good" outcome?, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 22, 284–299.
  • McCarthy, J., Light, J., Drager, K., McNaughton, D., Grodzicki, L., Jones, J., Panek, E., & Parkin, E. (2006). Re-designing scanning to reduce learning demands: The performance of typically developing two-year-olds. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 22, 269–283.
  • Binger, C. & Light, J. (2006). Demographics of preschoolers who require augmentative and alternative communication. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 37, 200–208.
  • Millar, D., Light, J., & Schlosser, R. (2006) . The impact of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on the speech production of individuals with developmental disabilities: A research review. Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research, 49, 248–264.
Additional Information

Light, J. (Principal Investigator). The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center in Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, October 2014-September 2019; $4,746,449.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Center in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (The RERC on AAC) is a virtual multicenter collaborative research center. The mission of the RERC on AAC is to conduct cutting edge research, technical development, training, and dissemination activities to improve outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs who require AAC and their families. For further information, please visit our website at rerc-aac.org

Light, J. (Principal Investigator). The Penn State AAC Leadership Project. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, August 2017-August 2022; $1,250,000. The Penn State AAC Leadership Project is designed to address the urgent need for high quality researchers and university faculty with expertise in AAC. The project will prepare doctoral students to assume leadership roles in the field, conduct research, and provide evidence-based preservice training of speech language pathologists and related professionals to improve outcomes for children with complex communication needs and their families. For further information, please visit aac.psu.edu/?p=3800

Light, J. (Principal Investigator). The Children’s Communicative Competence Project. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, October 2011-December 2017; $1,249,960. The Children’s Communicative Competence Project is designed to address the urgent need for highly qualified speech language pathologists who have expertise in the delivery of evidence-based AAC services within the school system to improve services and results for children with complex communication needs who require AAC. For further information, please visit aac.psu.edu/?p=113