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Kathryn Drager

by SKeira Apr 16, 2015
Kathryn Drager

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

401G Ford Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-6247


  1. Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999


Research Interests

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for individuals with severe expressive communication disorders, autism, listeners' comprehension of synthetic speech, and assessment and intervention for individuals with severe disabilities or challenging behaviors.

Examples of Collaborative Projects

Designing AAC Systems that Provide Dynamic Shared Interactive Contexts to Support the Communication and Language Development of Children with Complex Communication Needs (Co-investigator with Janice Light, Principal Investigator). The purpose of this project is to investigate the effects of innovative designs for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies that provide a truly dynamic shared context to support communication and language development for children with complex communication needs (e.g., children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities). This project is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the AAC-RERC III: The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement (2008ˆ2013). The AAC-RERC II 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 the AAC-RERC Web site.

The Penn State AAC Project: Improving Language and Literacy Services and Results for Children with Severe Communication Disabilities Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication. (Co-investigator with Janice Light, Principal Investigator and Barb Roberts, Co-investigator). This project is designed to address the urgent need for highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs) 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 (2008-2012).