From Theory to Practice Complementing the Leader’s focus on grant-funded research in communication sciences and disorders, the ASHFoundation features the work of Tara McAllister Byun, who is studying children’s speech development. ASHA News
ASHA News  |   October 01, 2014
From Theory to Practice
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Development / ASHA News & Member Stories / Speech, Voice & Prosody / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   October 01, 2014
From Theory to Practice
The ASHA Leader, October 2014, Vol. 19, 62. doi:10.1044/leader.AN11.19102014.62
The ASHA Leader, October 2014, Vol. 19, 62. doi:10.1044/leader.AN11.19102014.62
Tara McAllister Byun uses highly specialized computer software in her visual biofeedback treatment research.
What does one do with an undergraduate degree in linguistics from Harvard, a master’s in communication disorders from Boston University, and a PhD in linguistics from MIT?
Ask Tara McAllister Byun, who, by the way, is also a speech-language pathologist, having completed a clinical fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Children’s Hospital, Boston. She loved the challenge of tackling puzzles in linguistic theory. During graduate studies at MIT, however, she realized that this highly theoretical training alone would not allow her to carry on the work that interested her most. She needed the hands-on skills of an SLP to lend the necessary practical edge to her research.
The resulting combination of theory and practice, she reasoned, would allow her to accomplish work that would improve the quality of life for the patients who would actually use the techniques she pioneers.
As an assistant professor of communicative sciences and disorders at NYU, McAllister Byun now studies children’s speech development. She hopes to identify how children’s early phonological development is shaped by articulatory and perceptual limitations and to discover why some children’s speech-sound errors do not respond to conventional treatment.
Specifically, McAllister Byun is studying the efficacy of different biofeedback treatments for speech, in which a real-time visual display gives clients a new perspective on what goes on while they talk. Recent studies have offered solid evidence that these techniques can help some children who have not responded to other forms of intervention. Further research is needed to strengthen the evidence base for biofeedback and compare the efficacy of different biofeedback technologies.
“I’m a huge fan of the ASHFoundation,” says McAllister Byun, who credits the ASHFoundation with helping to establish her career. She’s certain that her 2010 New Investigators Research Grant paved the way for her to publish her first paper, in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, and gave her the credibility she needed to receive an R03 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health.
But the ASHFoundation influence doesn’t stop there. McAllister Byun is also interested in understanding how researchers can help clinicians adopt methods supported by clinical studies. She attended the ASHFoundation Implementation Science Summit earlier this year with a particular interest in discussing how technology can lower barriers in the translation of research to practice.
“The reality is that most clinicians don’t have a large budget for new technologies or time to learn complicated techniques,” she says. “My goal is to develop a free, user-friendly app so that biofeedback can become an everyday tool in the clinical toolbox.”
And why shouldn’t it? She’s on a roll. For updates on McAllister Byun’s biofeedback research, follow @ByunLab on Twitter.
1 Comment
October 4, 2014
Tara McAllister Byun
Interested in trying our biofeedback app?
My lab is looking for SLPs who would be willing to act as clinical partners as we pilot the biofeedback app described in the article. We plan to distribute this app for free for research purposes. If you might be interested, please check out the link below!
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October 2014
Volume 19, Issue 10