Jessica Caron, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

photo of Jessica Caron

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

401G Ford Building
University Park PA 16877

814-863-6247

(fax) 814-865-8133

jgc169@psu.edu

aac.psu.edu/

Education

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2016

Research Interests

My research seeks to improve poor literacy outcomes for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication, specifically through the use of technology to train relevant stakeholders (i.e., the individual who uses augmentative communication, family members, speech-language pathologists, special educators, and para educators). Currently a gap exists between researcher outcomes and stakeholder uptake in the implementation of evidence based literacy instruction for individuals with complex communication needs who require the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

My research aims to:

  1. Investigate system design changes to the current technology that individuals with complex communication needs use, as a potential mechanism for literacy instruction.
  2. Investigate ways to use technology (e.g., online modules, video, etc.) to optimally transfer knowledge and implementation of evidence based literacy instruction to relevant stakeholders.

Effectively translating the current positive findings of adapted literacy instruction with researchers, to relevant stakeholders (i.e., the individual who uses augmentative communication, family members, speech-language pathologists, special educators, and para educators) could potentially increase quality literacy opportunities and access to adapted instruction, as well as change outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs.

Examples of Collaborative Projects

The AAC Collaboration Project. (Co-Principal Investigator with David McNaughton, and Janice Light, Co-Investigator). This project is designed to address the urgent need for highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs) and special educators to provide research-based services in the schools to improve the language and literacy skills and enhance the academic achievement of children with severe disabilities who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) /assistive technologies (e.g., children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, etc). Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (2017-2022). Grant H325K170130. http://aac.psu.edu/?p=3866

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. (J. Light, Principal Investigator; D. McNaughton, Co-Leader and Investigator; J. Caron, Co-Investigator). The AAC-RERC is a virtual multicenter collaborative research center. The mission of the AAC-RERC is to improve outcomes for people who require AAC across the life span. For further information, visit https://rerc-aac.psu.edu/ (National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research - NIDILRR grant #90RE5017)

Selected Publications

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

Caron, J., & Light, J. (2017). Comparisons of the effects of mobile technology AAC apps on programming visual scene displays. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 33, 239-248. doi:10.1080/07434618.2017.1388836

Holyfield, C., Drager, K., Light, J., & Caron, J. (2017). Typical toddlers’ participation in “just in time” programming of high-tech visual scene displays: a descriptive study. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 26, 737-749.
doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-15-0197

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. doi:10.3109/07434618.2015.1126636

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. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2015.1052887

Caron, J. (2016). Engagement in social media environments for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. NeuroRehabilitiation, 39, 499-506. doi: 10.3233/NRE-161381

Reichle, J., Drager, K., Caron, J., Parker-McGowan, Q. (2016). Playing the Long Game: Considering the Future of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Research and Service. Seminars in Speech and Language, 37, 259-273. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1587706

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. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-15-0010

Caron, J. (2015). “We Bought an iPad”: Considering Family Priorities, Needs, and Preferences as an AAC Support Provider. SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24, 5-11.

Courses Taught

CSD 451 Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication

CSD 462 Clinical Bases of Language Disorders

CSD 550 Doctoral Seminar in Literacy for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs

CSD 597 Technology Lab on Augmentative and Alternative Communication