About the research group – University of Copenhagen

Communication Disorders > About the research group

About the group of researchers

Researchers involved in the Communication Disorders research group have three aims:

  1. To illuminate atypical communication, language use, language acquisition and language development, and the consequences these entail for the communication of an individual.
  2. To develop and investigate theoretically motivated evaluation tools and intervention procedures.
  3. To examine what atypical communication due to cognitive and sensory-motor impairments can tell us about language.

Successful communication is dependent on the interaction between a variety of skills including:

  • Signalling systems (language, gesture, mimicry, voice),
  • Social cognitive and cognitive systems (e.g., shared intentionality, inference, memory),
  • Motor output systems (speech organs, hand movements),
  • Sensory input ( hearing, vision).

Breakdown in one of these systems can have consequences for other systems and for the ability of an individual to communicate and interact with others.  The scope of communication impairment is also related to an individual’s ability to compensate and of a communication partner’s ability to appropriately align interaction with regards to the impairment.

Examples of communication impairments are:

  • Aphasia, which is partial or complete loss of language due to insult to specific regions of the left hemisphere.
  • Deafness and hearing loss, which is a decrease in the sensitivity of the sensory input system. This has consequences for an individual’s ability to acquire spoken language and can affect cognition.
  • Cleft Palate which is a condition that affects the motor output system and can negatively influence a child’s pronunciation to the extent that communication with a stranger can be difficult.
  • Specific Language Impairment (SLI) –a developmental language disorder that cannot be attributed to other impairments like hearing loss, loss of motor skills or general developmental disorders. However, children with SLI exhibit limitations in processing functions which are central to learning and gaining facility with language. SLI affects a child’s communication and is commonly associated with impaired language production and with receptive difficulties.
  • Voice Disorders, which of functional, organic, neurological or psychological causes affect the sound or perceptual salience of the voice.

These impairments are represented in the research themes of the group. Another language impairment is dyslexia, and the Communication Disorders research group has a close co-operation with the Centre for Reading Research which is also housed in the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.