School-based Practices, Effectiveness, And Research Lab

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The School-based Practices, Effectiveness, and Research Lab is directed by Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills in the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University.

Operating as usual


Members of the SPEAR Lab are headed to Boston for the 2023 ASHA Convention! Check out our presentation schedule below. We hope to see you there! (Can't attend this year? Check out the robust offerings available through the virtual presentations. Each of the SPEAR Lab presentations listed here is presented both virtually and in person!)


Attention SLPs who work with school-age children and adolescents with language disorders!
SPEAR Lab Director, Dr. Hall-Mills is providing a full-day professional development event online on Friday, October 27th, 8am-4pm in conjunction with the Central Area Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CASHA) in New York. Registration is still open and is available to non-CASHA members and students. This opportunity to earn CEUs online may be of interest to school-based SLPs and private practice SLPs who work with school-age clients. Register today at

Have you thought about pursuing a Ph.D.? 10/22/2023

Our department has new doctoral (Ph.D.) student funding! FSU SCSD is one of the best places in the US for doctoral training in this field! Email [email protected] for more info.

Have you thought about pursuing a Ph.D.? We are currently seeking applicants for a doctoral training program The FSU School of Communication Science & Disorders has been granted a prestigious doctoral training award, earmarking financial su


This newly published article is part of a Special Forum focused on Implementation Science. The other authors are dear friends and frequent collaborators who make the work fun! This team is deeply committed to supporting school-based SLPs in their roles with children. In the past decade since our previous article on this topic, there have been some improvements in SLPs’ access and use of EBP resources as well as participation in EBP activities. That is the good news. There are continued needs to tailor training and continuing education and better support SLPs locally (in terms of dedicated time in the workload schedule) for them to be more fully engaged with EBP activities. This is where the work continues.


Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are already engaged in social media for personal or recreational purposes, and to a lesser extent for professional reasons. There is an opportunity for social media to be better leveraged in training and continuing education programs to advance the translation of knowledge to practice. Check out this new collaboration between SPEAR Lab Director Dr. Hall-Mills and co-FSU Alumnus Dr. Diehm!

Photos from School-based Practices, Effectiveness, And Research Lab's post 05/26/2023

SPEAR Lab has been celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month this May. How common are communication disorders? Learn about the prevalence of speech and language impairments in school-age children from these articles (one is free to ASHA members, the other is free to everyone!)

PhD Student Gets Published in the Journal of Communication Disorders - News & Events 03/28/2023

SPEAR Lab would like to congratulate Ms. Denisha Campbell on her recent publication as first author and highlight the work she completed as a SPEAR Lab member. Ms. Campbell is currently a doctoral candidate at Florida State University. For her master’s thesis, Ms. Campbell examined students’ use of dialect-specific forms during a writing task. The study has important implications for assessment practices with linguistically diverse school-age children. You can find the article in the Journal of Communication Disorders.

PhD Student Gets Published in the Journal of Communication Disorders - News & Events School of Communication Science and Disorders PhD student Denisha Campbell recently got a paper published in the Journal of Communication Disorders. Campbell’s paper, An Examination of 3rd and 5th Grade Students' Use of Dialect Specific Forms During a Written Editing Task, was based on her master....

Supporting Your Well-Being: ASHA Virtual Town Hall for Assistants, Audiologists, and SLPs 02/28/2023

On March 2nd, 8-9:30 ET, ASHA will host a town hall event online focused on well-being for SLPs, AUDs, and Assistants. SPEAR Lab Alumnus Dr. Leesa Marante Pulte is serving as a panelist, bringing her expertise and research on SLP workforce issues including burnout. It's free for ASHA members to register!

Supporting Your Well-Being: ASHA Virtual Town Hall for Assistants, Audiologists, and SLPs ASHA will host a virtual town hall “Supporting Your Well-Being: A Virtual Town Hall for Audiologists, SLPs, and Assistants” on Thursday, March 2, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m., ET, via Zoom.

Teaching Expository Text Management and Proficiency Skills for Comprehension for Students With Language/Learning Disabilities - Shannon S. Hall-Mills, Leesa M. Marante, 2023 01/05/2023

Hot off the press! A new intervention study from SPEAR Lab is available online. Text structure intervention can easily be incorporated in language therapy and reading intervention sessions for students with language impairment, specific learning disability, and other learning difficulties. It is an efficient and effective way to target language skills and build content knowledge to support advanced literacy.

Teaching Expository Text Management and Proficiency Skills for Comprehension for Students With Language/Learning Disabilities - Shannon S. Hall-Mills, Leesa M. Marante, 2023 The purpose of this registered report study was to determine the effects of explicit text structure instruction on the expository text comprehension of students...

Photos from School-based Practices, Effectiveness, And Research Lab's post 12/06/2022

This time of year is primed for reflection and gratitude. We are grateful that SPEAR Lab has accomplished its goals for 2022! The breadth and depth of projects is expanding and new collaborations are brewing, all in line with the lab's mission to enhance and promote school-based practices for children with language and literacy difficulties. Kudos to the undergraduate, masters and doctoral students who are learning and lending a hand along the way! Lab milestones also provide insight to the components of a professor's work life. Now this professor is going to take a vacation (and a nap) ;-) Happy Holidays!


Here is another highlight of an upcoming ASHA presentation from members of SPEAR Lab! Understanding school factors that predict caseload enrollment is important for multiple reasons, a few of which are: 1) Looking more closely at the role played by student demographic characteristics, 2) Uncovering evidence of disproportionality, 3) Supporting school and district-level admins' efforts to staff schools appropriately based on where SLPs are needed the most, and 4) Considering caseload characteristics within the broader context of the SLP workload. Meet with us at Poster screen #106, Friday, Nov 18th 3-430pm (Central).


Happy Halloween from the SPEAR Lab! Join Dr. Hall-Mills and a team of students at the 2022 ASHA Convention to learn more about why disproportionate representation in special education and related service is scary!


For the next few weeks, we will preview the SPEAR Lab presentations for the upcoming 2022 ASHA Convention! First up, Dr. Marante's presentation about Peer Support Groups for Resilient SLPs in school settings. Dr. Marante completed her Ph.D. at FSU last year. This presentation is based on work flowing from her dissertation. We hope school SLPs and their leaders will be able to tune into this virtual presentation!


October 14th is DLD Awareness Day! 1 in every 14-15 people (2 kids in every class of 30) have DLD.
I remember submitting a research application several years ago to conduct a study on written language skills in school-age children with DLD, and being told by the school system that they could not accept my proposal because “We don’t have those students here.” 🤷‍♀ That school district has about 900 students with a primary disability of LI, and a total language therapy enrollment (including primary and secondary LI students) double that (about 2,000). I’m pretty sure you have students with DLD in that mix. There have been so many labels for this condition, no wonder schools are confused sometimes. That's why we work on raising awareness. Check out some of the research from this lab that addresses the numbers of students identified for speech and language impairment and who receive therapy services in US schools. Among those numbers are many students with DLD. ,

Photos from School-based Practices, Effectiveness, And Research Lab's post 08/31/2022

SPEAR Lab Director Dr. Hall-Mills and new lab member/first year doctoral student Lydia Kim attended the FCRR Colloquium today on the topic of “Using Data to Guide Instruction in Reading”. Celebrating 20 years of FCRR with speakers Drs. Joseph Torgesen (1st FCRR Director), Nathan Clemens (UT-Austin), and Mr. Stu Greenberg.

Timeline photos 08/29/2022

Thank you to FSU CCI for highlighting this new grant-funded interdisciplinary research to address student voices and perspectives in STEM. Hats off to the full research team, especially our fearless leader (PI) Dr. Roxanne Hughes (FSU Mag Lab) and Eric Clark of Leon Co. Schools Foundation. Looking forward to working with middle school students throughout this project!

Assistant Professor from the School of Communication Science and Disorders, Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills, received the Accelerator Grant for a project that focuses on the lack of diversity in STEM, and how to bring in more under-represented individuals into the STEM field as early as middle school.

To read more about what Dr. Hall-Mills and her team plan to do with the Accelerator Grant, click the link below!


This survey is now closed. Thank you to the SLPs who participated!

Attention School-Based SLPS! We would love to hear from you about your current engagement with Evidence-Based Practices! Please consider participating in this important research!


SPEAR Lab will be represented at this year's SSSR Conference in Newport Beach, CA. We are looking forward to sharing the findings of a text structure intervention to improve expository reading comprehension for students with language disorder!

School-Level Predictors of Speech-Language Therapy Enrollment 06/30/2022

In the spring we promised upcoming research about speech-language caseloads in schools. The first of those reports is now available in article form. This project (one in a series) stemmed from Dr. Hall-Mills' caseload/workload advocacy conversations with state legislators in Florida and answers (empirically) an important question about school-level factors that are related to caseload size. The first author is FSU graduate student Lauryn Shanks who conducted the analysis for her honors thesis! Congrats to Lauryn on her first publication!

Speech-language therapy enrollment in the schools is predicted by school-level factors related to the socioeconomic status, reading, and English proficiency of the student population. In Florida, there are separate course codes for speech therapy vs. language therapy. We were able to look at not only the total combined speech-language therapy enrollment counts but also break them down by speech versus language therapy enrollment (akin to looking at enrollment of students with a primary exceptionality of speech impairment versus language impairment). Very few states track these separately. This finding suggests that there are different factors at play that influence speech versus language therapy enrollment, which has important implications for SLPs and school administrators in their attempts to achieve and maintain a balanced workload for school SLPs.

School-Level Predictors of Speech-Language Therapy Enrollment Purpose: There are extensive concerns about the size of speech-language caseloads in schools. However, little empirical data exist regarding the patterns of speech-language services enrollment. We reviewed data from several hundred schools in a large state to explore the role of school-level factors...


Shout out to these amazing volunteer research assistants in the SPEAR Lab who recently presented a poster at the FSU Research Rounds event sponsored by NSSLHA. They did an excellent job presenting! They’ve been working throughout the year with longitudinal data from Florida schools to examine trends of disproportionality in special education. Many thanks to their time and dedication to the research. Pictured here (with permission): Lindsey Wood, Rachel Sherman, and Parker Franklin. Not pictured: 12 additional student volunteers who have assisted with this project.


HOT OFF THE PRESS! This interdisciplinary study is the first article in a Forum on "Speech and Language Tele-Intervention: The Future Is Now". Each study in this Forum addresses important issues and research related to the telepractice service delivery model, which has garnered much greater attention during the pandemic out of necessity to improve access to essential services for children with communication needs.


SPEAR Lab researchers are celebrating the acceptance of a new paper reporting school caseload research! What school factors predict speech and language therapy enrollment? More info to come!


New interdisciplinary research collaborations are underway for the SPEAR Lab at The FSU Rez today!


SCSD faculty, graduate and doctoral students are excited to represent FSU and the professions of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the 2022 Godby High School Career Fair, where we are recruiting the next generation of SLPs and AUDs!

Dr. Hall-Mills with doctoral students Anne Reed and Miguel Garcia-Salas.

Timeline photos 03/04/2022

SPEAR Lab is celebrating this interdisciplinary collaboration about SLP experiences engaging in telepractice during the pandemic! The first paper is published in LSHSS, and we hope to share additional data from this project soon!

In December of 2021, faculty members from Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information published a paper titled, “Providing Telepractice in Schools During a Pandemic: The Experiences and Perspectives of Speech-Language Pathologists.” Authors Shannon Hall-Mills, Lakeisha Johnson, Melissa Gross, Don Latham, and Nancy Everhart created this study to share the perspectives of speech-language pathologists in regard to educational tools during the pandemic.

In this pandemic, telecommunication technology is vital for sustaining educational opportunities; the broad scope of speech-language pathology stresses the importance of school systems partnering with others for support and shared resources during this time. “Telepractice is here to stay, and I’m grateful that programs like ours have shifted to meet the needs of the up-and-coming workforce and engage in research to support the use of Telepractice to improve the quality of life of individuals who need communication therapies.”

For more info on this research team and their study, visit the link in our bio!

FSU Communication Science and Disorders


Celebrating our accepted presentation proposal for the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR) and looking forward to sharing findings of a text structure intervention for students with language impairment!


We received news today that this paper (accepted in 2021) is now published in TLCSD and available to readers! TLCSD is a peer-reviewed, open access journal. This project was made possible by the dedication of FSU master’s students to support early language and literacy development in children at the local homeless family shelter. That is code for: It was evidence-based and oh so fun!

Providing Telepractice in Schools During a Pandemic: The Experiences and Perspectives of Speech-Language Pathologists 12/11/2021

New research hot off the press from SPEAR Lab! This was a fun COVID-19 grant collaboration with colleagues in the School of Information. Here the voices of many school based SLPs around the country are represented. Check it out!

Providing Telepractice in Schools During a Pandemic: The Experiences and Perspectives of Speech-Language Pathologists Purpose: The main objective of this study was to gain insight into school-based speech-language pathologists' (SLPs') perspectives on and experiences with telepractice as a service delivery model at the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic. A better understanding of the facilitating and challenging...

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Supporting Evidence-Based Speech, Language, and Literacy Practices in Schools

The mission of the SPEAR Lab is to build the evidence base and awareness thereof for effective school practices to support children’s language and literacy success. Language development is an essential component of learning during the school years. Children and adolescents who struggle with literacy achievement often have underlying difficulties in oral and/or written language skills. Speech-language pathologists in schools can provide a range of services in support of children and adolescents with language and learning difficulties. This lab focuses on research to build evidence-based practices in schools through projects designed to broaden our knowledge about language development, child language disorders, language-based reading and writing difficulties, and to design quality tools for language assessment and intervention.

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The SPEAR Lab has reached a new milestone this year. True to the lab’s mission, these publications include a combination...




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