Our Purpose

The primary aim of the Development in Neurogenetic Disabilities (DND) Lab is to gain a better understanding of early development in infants and young children with neurogenetic disabilities in order to promote positive development and well-being in these children and their families.

Meet Our Staff

DND Lab staff 2021-2022

Top row, from left: Megan Cooney, Dr. Laura Mattie, Kassidy Reno, Nadia Hernadez, Sammy Rhodes
Bottom row, from left: Daniela Fanta, Karen Huang, Hannah Streeter, Emily Falcon

Latest News & Events

Dr. Laura Mattie and collaborator, Dr. Marie Channell, featured in the Speech & Hearing Science Newsletter!

Check out the two articles below!

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Speech Accessibility Project is Now Recruiting Adults with Down syndrome!

The Speech Accessibility Project, a collaborative effort between the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Speech and Hearing Science departments, is now recruiting U.S. adults with Down syndrome. The goal of the project is to make voice recognition technology useful for individuals who may have diverse speech patterns and disabilities.

Dr. Laura Mattie and Dr. Marie Channell led the project from the Speech and Hearing department. Both are associate professors who work with individuals with Down syndrome throughout the lifespan.

The UIUC Speech Accessibility project was highlighted on WCIA 3 News! Click the button below to watch interviews with Dr. Laura Mattie and Dr. Mark Hasegawa-Johnson concerning the goal of the project.

Dr. Laura Mattie named a 2023-24 Emerging Research Leader

This interdisciplinary cohort of faculty will receive training to “pursue large, multi-PI grants, lead campus research initiatives, enhance their own research programs, and ultimately position Illinois for research excellence.” To read more about the Emerging Research Leaders program, click here.

Congratulations, Dr. Mattie! 🎊

PhD Student Daniela Fanta is awarded the Goldstick Family Doctoral Fellowship!

Daniela Fanta, lab manager of the DND lab under Dr. Laura Mattie, has been awarded the Goldstick Family Doctoral Fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year. Congratulations, Daniela! 🎉

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM)!

Celebrate DDAM by exploring and sharing resources that amplify the voices of disabled individuals! The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) has begun sharing their resources on their webpage and will continue to update them throughout March! Click here to access and share!

This year’s DDAM official logo, created by Jamila Rahimi! Click here to learn more about Jamila

UIUC Speech and Hearing Science to Participate in Annual Race for 3.21

The University of Illinois Speech and Hearing Science program will be participating in the 7th annual NDSS Race for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, to support NDSS, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. 

Click here for more information and to join our team!

NIDCD Sponsored Webinar to take place on January 24th and 25th, 2023

The workshop, Minimally Verbal/Non-Speaking Individuals with Autism: Research Directions for Interventions to Promote Language and Communication, will take place online from 12pm to 4pm CST on January 24th and 25th, 2023. The webinar will be co-chaired by Judith Cooper, Connie Kasari, and Helen Tager-Flusberg. Discussions will be held concerning new interventions for individuals who are minimally verbal or non-speaking, research designs for intervention studies, meaningful outcome measures, and possible next steps in the area of research.

There is no registration or fee required to attend.

Click here to join on January 24th, and here to join on January 25th.

PhD student Daniela Fanta and MA-SLP student Emily Falcon present at ASHA

Daniela presented her ASHA poster on parental stress as a predictor of receptive language in toddlers with Down Syndrome (click here to view). Emily and Daniela also presented a collaborative poster with the Applied Psycholinguistics Lab, led by Dr. Pamela Hadley, on the relationship between maternal labeling and child gesture use in toddlers with Down Syndrome (click here to view).

Daniela in front of her poster on parental stress and receptive language at ASHA 2022
Daniela and Emily in front of the collaborative poster with the APL at ASHA 2022

Dr. Mattie & Dr. Channell to present on Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and the Neurodiversity Movement

On 10/26/2022 from noon to 1pm on Zoom, Dr. Channell and Dr. Mattie will present Neuroinclusion 101. Attending participants will learn about neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., autism, intellectual disability, learning disability, ADHD, communication-related disabilities), practical considerations when interacting with individuals who are neurodiverse, and ways to foster a neuroinclusive environment on campus. Registration is required.

DND Lab Undergraduate Priscila Espinoza-Castillo Invited to ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program

Congratulations to Priscila Espinoza Castillo on participating in ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program. As part of this program, she will participate in a virtual Student Development Series. She is excited to connect with leaders and students in the profession who are also minorities to support her future career goal of working with Spanish-English bilingual families in the future.

Dr. Channell and Dr. Mattie were featured in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute’s REDCap Spotlight

Dr. Channell and Dr. Mattie discuss why they used REDCap for their new study on ASD Symptomatology in Down syndrome. Read the full story.

New grant to study ASD Symptomatology in Children with Down Syndrome!

Dr. Marie Channell (principal investigator) and Dr. Laura Mattie(Co-investigator), Department of Psychology Clinical Assistant Professor Amy Cohen (Co-I), and their colleagues at Emory University and Johns Hopkins University/Kennedy Krieger Institute were awarded a two-year $440,000 R21 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for the project. This study will evaluate the psychometric characteristics of current autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptom measures and characterize ASD symptom profiles in a large, nationwide sample of 6- to 18-year-olds with Down syndrome. This project is part of the NIH DS INCLUDE (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE) Project initiative.

For more information, contact Dr. Channell’s research team at idclResearch@illinois.edu or 217-265-6058.

Daniela Fanta & Kaori Terol named Goldstick Fellows

Congratulations to Daniela Fanta for being named one of the Goldstick Fellows for the 2021-2022 school year! Way to go Daniela and Kaori!

Daniela Fanta named LEND Fellow

Congratulations to Daniela Fanta for being named one of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellows for the 2020 -2021 school year! Way to go Daniela!

Dr. Mattie receives grant to study children with fragile X syndrome

Dr. Mattie receives grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders to examine early predictors of language development in children with fragile X syndrome, with her colleague, Dr. Pamela Hadley! View the current study details.
Read the full story.

Dr. Mattie receives grant

Dr. Mattie receives grant from the Center for Health, Aging, and Disability to examine early predictors of language development in children with Down syndrome, with her colleague, Dr. Pamela Hadley! See current studies for details.