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Graduate Students

Jacqueline Beatch
Doctoral Candidate, Clinical Psychology, University of Calgary
M.Sc. Clinical Psychology, University of Calgary
Email: harrisoj@ucalgary.ca

Within the environment children have available multiple sources of information from several sensory modalities (e.g., audio and visual). Integrating information from multiple sources, specifically audio and visual, can assist with language development as well as improve learning of and memory for objects. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulty integrating audio and visual information and their brains may process this information differently than typically developing peers. Our overarching goal is to explore how audiovisual information influences how young children, both typically developing and those diagnosed with ASD, process information. Information processing will be examined through both behavioural tasks as well as neuroimaging. In addition, we seek to explore whether or not children’s processing of audiovisual information is related to their language development.

Kelly Burkinshaw
Doctoral Candidate, Linguistics, University of Calgary
M.A. Linguistics, Memorial University 
B.A. Linguistics, Memorial University
Email: kburkins@ucalgary.ca

I am a student of the Linguistics Department, studying first language acquisition. Specifically, my work looks at the speech registers we (adults) use to communicate with infants, and how those infants extract meaningful information about different vowel categories from child-directed and adult-directed speech.

Jennifer Ference
Doctoral Candidate, Clinical Psychology, University of Calgary
M.Sc. Clinical Psychology, University of Calgary
B.A. (Hons) Psychology, University of Calgary 
Email: jennifer.ference@gmail.com

I am interested in the language and social development of infants who are at an elevated risk of being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since ASD is rarely diagnosed before the age of 3, I recruit 4 to 6-month-old infant siblings of children who already have an ASD diagnosis, and follow their development until they reach 3 years of age (i.e., to the point of a possible diagnosis). I can then look back at the early development of these infants and explore possible differences in their development from that of infants with a lower risk of being diagnosed with ASD.