Current Lab Members
Amy L. Donaldson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
ASC Lab Director
Link to CV
Amy Donaldson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences at Portland State University. Her research focuses broadly on social communication and perception of social competence in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Donaldson examines intervention efficacy, pre- and post-professional development, and the influence of context on performance. Her research includes both group and single-subject methodology and focuses on interdisciplinary practice. She has been a practicing clinician for over 20 years. Prior to arriving at PSU in 2009, Dr. Donaldson was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, where she also completed her doctorate.
ASC Lab Co-Coordinator
Naomi Kotkins is a second year graduate student working toward her masters degree in speech-language pathology. She has been a member of the ASC lab for over 2 years and is now working as the lab’s co-coordinator. Naomi loves learning about evidence based practice in relation to serving children with ASD. She has a particular interest in sibling and family dynamics in families with children on the spectrum. Naomi looks forward to applying what she has learned from the lab directly to her future education and career in speech-language pathology.
ASC Lab Co-Coordinator
Halea graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelors of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences and is currently a Post-bac student. This is her third year in the ASC lab and she is thankful for the opportunity to work on current and upcoming research projects that will have an impact in our communities. Halea first became interested in Autism after volunteering in local grade schools and early education classrooms. In light of the unique social challenges children with Autism face within social environments, she is interested in research and evidence based clinical practices that will help facilitate growth in social skill development along with training for families and educators in order to better support children and their families.
Marissa is currently a post-baccalaureate student at Portland State University. She hopes to be attending a graduate program for Speech Language Pathology in fall of 2016. This is her second year as a lab member. Previously she served in the lab as a videographer for the SocialSibs and ASAP projects. She became interested in working with children with ASD while she was a camp counselor at Camp Kiwanis, a camp for people with disabilities, and while she was substitute para-educator for the Portland Public School system in 2012. Marissa is also a lab member in the Aging and Adult Language Disorders lab. For the past eight years, she has been working with children at the Multnomah Athletic Club as a synchronized swimming coach, a job that she is very proud of, and also participates on their masters synchronized swimming squad.
Kaleigh McKnight is a second year graduate student studying Speech-Language Pathology at Portland State University. This is her second year as an ASC lab member. Kaleigh became interested in working with children with an ASD while working with school aged children at a public school and later during her work with preschool aged children. She looks forward to learning about the research process as an ASC lab member.
Beth Hinson is a post-baccalaureate student at Portland State University. She is completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences in spring 2016 and is applying for graduate school for fall of 2016. Beth is a first year lab member and is interested in practicing evidence-based practice in a clinical setting to support people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. She is also interested in behavioral and play-based approaches to therapy. She first became interested in ASD after studying at Portland State under Dr. Donaldson and volunteering for Spark, a community-based alternative to employment organization for people with disabilities.
Mariella is a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at Portland State University. This is her first year in the ASC lab. Mariella has been working with children and adults with autism for the last five years as a caregiver and as a member of behavioral support teams for numerous families in and around the Portland area. Mariella has been playing drums for over 18 years and received her Bachelor's degree from Berklee College of Music. She became interested in Speech Pathology and autism after encountering a number of non-verbal children with ASD whom use language in musical settings. Mariella is currently participating in a research project on auditory processing in cochlear implant subjects at OHSU and hopes to make a career researching auditory interventions for speech and language deficits.
Emily is a second year graduate student studying speech-language pathology at Portland State University. She has previous experience as a paraprofessional for elementary schoolers and adolescents with autism and other disabilities. This summer, she will be working with children and adults at several camps that focus on positive social interactions. Emily is excited about the ASC lab's neurodivergent approach to teaching and therapy, and looks forward to her new membership in the lab!
Bella Klee is a second year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at PSU. She joined the lab in Spring of 2016 in an effort to learn more about research and evidence based practices pertaining to children with autism. Bella has worked with children with autism and their families in the past as a special education teacher. She first became interested in speech pathology through her special education studies at Gonzaga University. She spent her summer training in the pediatric outpatient unit at St. Vincent, working primarily with children and families of children with autism, executive functioning disorders, and language disorders. Along with autism, Bella has a special interest in literacy development, and social communication.
Cindy is a post baccalaureate student and is in the process of completing her second Bachelor’s degree at Portland State University and applying for graduate school in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Her interest in social communication for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families has developed through her experiences as an educator, working as a classroom teacher, reading clinician, and program director with children who have typical as well as atypical development. Cindy looks forward to deepening her knowledge of research methods and evidence based practices through her participation as an ASC lab member.
Chris Drakos is a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology. He became a member of the lab in 2015 while finishing his Second Bachelor’s at Portland State, and took on the role of Webmaster. Chris enjoys working with technology, and is interested in finding ways that online resources may be of benefit to people with Autism. He is also interested in the neurodiversity movement, play-based approaches to therapy, and augmented and alternative communication (AAC).
ASAP Intervention Project
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (primary site)Principal Investigators: Brian A. Boyd, Ph.D.
Linda R. Watson, Ed.D.
Investigators: Grace T. Baranek, Ph.D.
Elizabeth R. Crais, Ph.D.
University of MiamiMichael Alessandri, Ph.D.
Anibal Gutierrez, Ph.D.
University of MinnesotaLeAnne Johnson, Ph.D.
Joe Reichle, Ph.D.
Community PartnersBuckendorf & Associates
Dvortcsak Speech and Language Services
Evergreen School District
Multnomah Early Childhood Program – David Douglas
Northwest Regional ESD
SocialsibS ProjectTammi Bailey, M.S. CCC
Parent-Implemented Intervention ProjectAlison Presmanes Hill, Ph.D. – Oregon Health & Science University
Anna Dvortcsak, M.S. – Dvortscak Speech & Language Services
Integrated Sibling ProjectLew Bank, Ph.D. – PSU Regional Research Institute
Christine Nicolaidis, M.D., MPH – PSU School of Social Work, Oregon Health & Science University Department of Medicine