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Parsons Research Center Welcomes R. Michael Barker Post-doctoral Fellow Ph.D.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My education background includes a B.S. in Psychology at Georgia State University in 2003, M.A. in Psychology at GSU in 2007, and Ph.D. at GSU in Developmental Psychology in 2010. I have a broad interest in symbol development in children with developmental disabilities, from the use of first words all the way through literacy development.

Photo of Michael Barker

Michael Barker, Ph.D.

My education background includes a B.S. in Psychology at Georgia State University in 2003, M.A. in Psychology at GSU in 2007, and Ph.D. at GSU in Developmental Psychology in 2010. I have a broad interest in symbol development in children with developmental disabilities, from the use of first words all the way through literacy development.

I chose the postdoctoral training program at KU because it provided me the unique opportunity to start a program of research that simply wasn't available at other institutions. I decided in 2008, when taking my general exam, that I wanted to start my research career that addressed the unanswered questions surrounding the development of phonological awareness and reading for individuals who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices as their primary mode of communication. KU provided a unique opportunity for me to start this research for two reasons: Not very many people are conducting this research, and Kate Saunders and Nancy Brady were also very interested in starting an investigation into this area.

Kate Saunders and Nancy Brady are my postdoc supervisors. We are beginning to develop a phonological awareness assessment protocol for individuals who use AAC as their primary mode of communication. We plan to adapt the computerized teaching strategies that Kate uses in her work for assessment purposes for those who do not speak. In the long term, we hope to use what we learn developing the assessment to develop a reading intervention protocol for individuals in this population. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. This is my first foray away from home. Needless to say, I'm a little terrified of the first winter here. I'm a total Apple gadget nut, so I fit in well with the group at Parsons! I spend my free time tinkering with computers and electronics. Recently I've gotten into flying remote-controlled helicopters.



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