Katherine C Hustad

Katherine Hustad, PhD

PhD, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Faculty Core Co-Director, Clinical Translational Core
Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Contact Information:

Waisman Center
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Lab Website: Speech Intelligibility & Augmentative Communication Laboratory
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Research Statement

My laboratory is dedicated to the study of communication development in children with cerebral palsy (CP).  CP is the most common cause of severe motor disability in children and it affects 2.5 per 1000 in the US. Although motor impairment is the primary defining feature of CP, other issues such as intellectual disabilities, seizure disorder, and learning disabilities often co-occur. In the past, studies have suggested that up to 60% of children with CP may have communication problems, but our own work has revealed that this figure may be considerably higher (up to 75%).  Prior to our work, however, the exact nature of communication problems in children with CP had never been comprehensively examined. As a result, little is known about the nature of speech, language, and cognitive problems and their co-occurrence with gross motor, and fine motor problems. One result is that data-based prognoses for communication development are unknown, and many children who have CP do not receive appropriate speech and language intervention until they enter preschool, missing critical early intervention opportunities.  

Research in my laboratory focuses on characterizing changes in speech production, speech intelligibility, language, cognition, and functional communication abilities among children with CP beginning at the age of 18 months and continuing through adolescence (and ultimately through adulthood).  This work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2003.  We are currently following approximately 100 children with CP over time to understand the ways in which their speech, language, and communication abilities develop and change as children grow up.  One key facet of this work is that it involves multidimensional examination of a variety of complex communication-related variables as well as interactions among the different variables that have not previously been studied.  A primary objective is to generate a theoretically driven, data-based longitudinal model of speech and language development in CP that can be used to predict outcomes, test interventions, and guide treatment decisions. The ultimate goal is to use this model of speech and language development and the classification groups that emerge from it to develop and test individually-targeted communication interventions aimed at enhancing developmental trajectories, communication outcomes, and quality of life for children with CP.

Representative Publications

Hustad KC, Allison KM, Sakash A, McFadd E, Broman AT, Rathouz PJ. (2016) Longitudinal development of communication in children with cerebral palsy between 24 and 53 months: Predicting speech outcomes. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 28:1-8.

Hustad KC, Oakes A, McFadd E, Allison KM. (2016) Alignment of classification paradigms for communication abilities in children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 58(6):597-604. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12944.

Hustad KC. (2016) Reflections on the Functional Communication Classification System for children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 58(10):996. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.13147.

Hustad KC, Oakes A, Allison K. (2015) Variability and diagnostic accuracy of speech intelligibility scores in children. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research. 17. doi: 10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0365.

Smith AL, Hustad KC. (2015) AAC and Early Intervention for Children with Cerebral Palsy: Parent Perceptions and Child Risk Factors. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. In Press.

Lee J, Hustad KC, Weismer G. (2014) Predicting speech intelligibility with a multiple speech subsystems approach in children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research. 1;57(5):1666-78.

Allison KM, Hustad KC. (2014) Impact of sentence length and phonetic complexity on intelligibility of 5-year-old children with cerebral palsy. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 16(4):396-407.

McFadd E, Hustad KC. (2013) Assessment of social function in four-year-old children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 16(2):102-1.

Hustad KC, Allison K, McFadd E, Riehle K. (2013) Speech and language development in 2-year-old children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 2013 Apr 29.

Hustad KC, Schueler B, Schultz L, Duhadway C. (2012) Intelligibility of 4 year old children with and without cerebral palsy. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Jan 9.

Clancy KJ, Hustad KC. (2011) Longitudinal changes in feeding among children with cerebral palsy between the ages of 4 and 7 years. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. 14(4):191-8.

Hustad KC, Dardis CM, Kramper AJ. (2011) Use of listening strategies for the speech of individuals with dysarthria and cerebral palsy. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Mar;27(1):5-15..

Hustad KC, Gorton K, Lee J. (2010) Classification of speech and language profiles in 4-year-old children with cerebral palsy: a prospective preliminary study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Dec;53(6):1496-513.