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Kathryn Drager
Kathryn D. R. Drager
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Research and Graduate Studies
  • Administration
  • Administration
  • Graduate Education
  • Administration
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders - CSD
  • Graduate Faculty
  • HHD Central Administration
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  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999
Office Address
329 Health and Human Development Building
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Professional Credentials


Grants and Research Projects

My research interests focus on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for children and adults with severe disabilities. Specifically, my research interests include AAC for individuals with severe expressive communication disorders, especially for children, adolescents, and adults with severe disabilities who are at the beginning stages of communication, including children with autism. I am also interested in issues faced by the global community in AAC. I study the role that AAC technologies play in human interaction, and am interested in our ability to harness environmental or personal information to increase access to relevant vocabulary and concepts, and thus to decrease the communication burden and demand on individuals with severe communication disabilities.

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

  • Drager, K.D.R., Light, J. Currall, J., Muttiah, N., Smith, V., Kreis, D., Nilam-Hall, A., Parratt, D., Schuessler, K., Shermetta, K., & Wiscount, J. (2017 online). 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.

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

  • Muttiah, N., Drager, K., & O’Connor, L. (2016). Special education in Sri Lanka: A snapshot of three provinces. Disability Studies Quarterly, 36(2).

  • Caron, Jessica, Janice Light, and Kathryn Drager. "Operational Demands of AAC Mobile Technology Applications on Programming Vocabulary and Engagement During Professional and Child Interactions." Augmentative and Alternative Communication 32.1 (2016): 12-24.

  • Muttiah, Nimisha A., David McNaughton, and Kathryn DR Drager. "Providing instructional support for AAC service delivery in low-and middle-income (LAMI) countries." International journal of speech-language pathology (2015): 1-13.

  • Tobin, M. C., Drager, K. D., & Richardson, L. F. (2014). A systematic review of social participation for adults with autism spectrum disorders: Support, social functioning, and quality of life. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(3), 214-229.

  • Drager, K.D.R., & Finke, E.H. (2012). Intelligibility of children’s speech in digitized speech. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 28, 181-189.

  • Serpentine, E.C., Tarnai, B., Drager, K.D.R., & Finke, E. (2011). Decision making of parents of children with autism spectrum disorder regarding AAC in Hungary. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 32, 221-231.

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

  • Drager, Kathryn DR, and Christine Holyfield. "Scoping review of interventions for children who require augmentative and alternative communication is limited by focus on randomized controlled trials." Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention (2016): 1-7

  • Drager, K.D.R., & Reichle, J. (2010). Synthesized speech output and children: A scoping review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19, 259-273.

  • Drager, K.D.R., & Light, J.C. (2010). A comparison of the performance of 5-year-old children using iconic encoding in AAC systems with and without iconic prediction. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 26, 12-20.

  • Reichle, J., & Drager, K.D.R. (2010). Examining issues of aided communication display and navigational strategies for young children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 22, 289-311.

  • Finke, E.H., Drager, K.D.R., & Ash, S. (2010). Pediatricians' perspectives on identification and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 8, 254-268.

  • Drager, K.D.R. (2009). Aided modeling interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders who require AAC. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 18 (4), 114-120.

  • Finke, E.H., McNaughton, D.B., & Drager, K.D.R. (2009). "All children can and should have the opportunity to learn": General education teachers' perspectives on including children with ASD who require AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 25, 110-122.

  • Schwartz, H. & K. Drager. (2008). Training and knowledge of autism among speech-language pathologists: A survey. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing in Schools, 39, 66-77.

  • K. Drager, K.D.R., Anderson, J.L., DeBarros, J., Hayes, E., Liebman, J., & Panek. E. (2007). Speech synthesis in background noise: Effects of message formulation and visual information on the intelligibility of American English DECTalk. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 177-186.

  • Light, J. & K. Drager. (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.