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.
Marissa Montejano, ASC Lab Co-Coordinator
Marissa is currently a post-baccalaureate student at Portland State University. She hopes to be attending a graduate program for Speech Language Pathology in the fall of 2018. This is her fifth year as a lab member and she is the current lab manager. 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 Cochlear Implant & Hearing Aid Research lab at OHSU. For the past ten 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.
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.
Beth Kirkpatrick is a second year graduate student in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Portland State University and expects to complete her Master of Science degree in June 2018. She has been a part of the ASC Lab for 3 years and is serving as webmaster. Her interests are 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, social communication, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She first became interested in ASD after studying at PSU under Dr. Donaldson and volunteering for Spark, a community-based alternative to employment organization for people with disabilities.
Cindy is a first year graduate student in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Portland State University, and this is her second year as part of the ASC lab. Her interest in social communication for individuals on the autism spectrum developed through her experiences as an educator, partnering with children and their families in her work as a teacher, reading clinician, and program director. She looks forward to deepening her knowledge of research methods and evidence based clinical practices through her participation as an ASC lab member.
I'm Alison Yildirok. I am a post-bac student in speech & hearing sciences and this is my first year working in the ASC Lab. I was inspired to learn more about ASD after taking Language Disorders in Children, taught by Dr. Donaldson, last year. I am currently working on learning the Computerized Language Analysis (CLAN) program and the Codes for Human Analysis of Transcripts (CHAT) as part of the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES). I plan to apply the knowledge and experience gained in the ASC lab to better support and understand this population, both on a personal level and in my future practice as an SLP.
I am a first year graduate student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences department at PSU, meaning this is my first year as a member in the ASC lab! I am particularly interested in the influence of social environment, such as family and school, on social competence of autistic individuals. I am currently working with Dr. Donaldson on implementing a qualitative research study assessing the firsthand college experiences of autistic students at PSU. Aside from school, I enjoy hiking, traveling, and exploring hidden gems in every city I visit.
My name is Libby Richardson and I am excited to be a new member in the lab. I have several areas of interest within speech and hearing including Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injury, and swallowing. I have some experience working directly with individuals with autism and was inspired to learn more. I am excited to expand my knowledge and skills regarding autism and how it relates to everyday life. I look forward to working on the Social Sibs project. I love to travel and enjoyed lived abroad when I was sixteen.
Hello, my name is Rasena Wager and I am currently a post-baccalaureate student at Portland State University. I hope to be attending a graduate program for Speech Language Pathology in the fall of 2018. I joined the lab in spring of 2017 and I am very excited about this opportunity to work on currently and upcoming research projects that will have an impact on the community. My interest in working with children with Autism grew after spending two weeks volunteering at Camp Yakety Yak. I am currently working on Social Communication Behaviors Coding project and I am looking forward to taking on more projects in the future. I am currently a teacher at an after school program working with children who have typical, as well as atypical development. I am excited about expanding my knowledge on research methods and evidence based practices by being an active ASC lab member
My name is Amy Shafer. I am first year graduate student in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Portland State University and this will be my first quarter as a lab member. My experience working as a behavior technician at the University of Washington Autism Center (UWAC), providing early intervention to children with autism, is where I developed my interest in social communication. One of my goals is to learn more about adaptive and alternative approaches to facilitate social communication in an educational setting. My hobbies outside of speech and hearing include yoga, hula-hooping and hiking.
My name is Kaitlynn Jaeger, I'm a first year graduate student and a new member to the ASCL. While my interest in speech and hearing is currently primarily focused on children and social communication, I am frequently inspired by information on unfamiliar populations in the field! I've spent several years working with children and adults with disabilities and have a passion for working with people with ASD. I'm excited to support the ongoing projects in the ASCL, all of which will undoubtedly result in a greater wealth of information in the field of speech and language pathology and autism studies. Some fun facts about me are that I love to draw, paint and do all things craft-related, I just picked up boxing, and I'm obsessed with my fluffy orange cat, Jerry.
Sarah is in the second year of her undergraduate studies at Portland State, studying to get her Bachelor's of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She is also enrolled in the Urban Honors program. While this is her first year in the ASC lab, she is very excited to be involved and is looking forward to all of the research opportunities that come with it. Sarah is most interested in speech language development and social communication disorders in children, and hopes to expand her knowledge on the subjects while in the ASC lab. Sarah has been a nanny for the past 6 years, and has worked with children ranging from newborn to late elementary. She is also an avid language learner, being nearly fluent in French, and having studied American Sign Language and Spanish.
Fall 2017 is my first term volunteering as part of the Autism and Social Communication lab here at PSU. My clinical interests include early intervention, pediatric and school-age populations, hearing loss, American Sign Language, Spanish, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, multiculturalism, social model of disability, fluency and language. I look forward to finding my place in the ASC lab as a volunteer and researcher, working alongside the community, fellow researchers and mentors. A fun fact about me is that I am a proud cat mom to two 4-year-old fur babies. This summer we drove cross-country to Portland together from Chicago, which took about 32 hours... It is safe to say that Portland is their "furever" home, which is good because we love it here!
Cecelia Rehm is a first-year Speech-Language Pathology graduate student at Portland State University. This is Cecelia's first year in the ASC lab. Her enthusiasm for working with children and adolescents with disabilities was sparked by her work as a youth activity coordinator in a group foster home, where she grew passionate about working with children with complex communication profiles. Her specific interests in ASD and social communication are rooted in previous work experiences as an educator in Portland and San Francisco, where she taught neurodiverse youth in after-school programs.
Alexandra "Ali" Savage-Arct
My beautiful, wonderful, amazing young son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder about 5 years ago. Ever since then I've had a burning desire to understand more about it, especially his mixed expressive and receptive language disorder. He inspires me in so many ways to be patient, kind, and look at life in a unique way. So does his equally awesome little brother.
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