Susan Ellis Weismer, PhD

Position title: Professor Emeritus, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Susan Ellis Weismer, PhD

PhD, Indiana University

Contact Information

473 Waisman Center
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Little Listeners Project
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Research Statement

My primary program of research investigates the developmental course and nature of language learning and processing in atypical language learners compared to those with typical language development. Populations of interest have included children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as late talkers, children with specific language impairment/developmental language disorder, and social (pragmatic) communication disorder. I also conduct collaborative research in the areas of bilingualism and language intervention. Over the last 10-15 years my work has mostly focused on toddlers and children with ASD. A current project is exploring a Prediction Deficit Account of autism. That is, we are investigating whether language deficits in children with ASD can be attributed to atypical domain-general prediction processes such that children have difficulties generating expectations during learning. My research employs longitudinal and cross-sectional designs using a variety of behavioral measures, including eye-gaze techniques. Most of my research has involved clinical or convenience research samples, but I recently engaged in training in the area of epidemiology (through NIH K18 funding) which has provided me the expertise to conduct research employing population-based samples. My research program, conducted at the Waisman Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders) for more than 30 years. Although I retired from my teaching faculty position in August 2021, I maintain my research laboratory at the Waisman Center and continue as Principal Investigator for my NIH-funded research. I am also serving as primary sponsor for two newly funded F31 dissertation awards for my doctoral advisees.

Selected Publications