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headshot of Dawna Duff, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dawna Duff, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor

Division of Speech and Language Pathology; Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences


Dawna Duff is a research scientist and experienced clinician who specializes in issues related to vocabulary and literacy. She joined Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences in fall 2022 as an assistant professor in the Division of Speech and Language Pathology.

Duff has an active research program focused on individual differences in word learning and reading comprehension. A current research project in collaboration with Suzanne Adlof at the University of South Carolina about word learning in children with developmental language disorder and dyslexia is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

As a clinician, she has experience in school and pediatric outpatient settings, serving children and youth with diverse needs, including language and reading disorders, individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication, co-occurring behavioral and language disorders, and children with autism spectrum disorder. Her experience as a school SLP was in the Toronto (Canada) region, working with children and families from many culturally and linguistically diverse communities.


  • PhD, speech and hearing science, University of Iowa
  • MHSc, speech language pathology, University of Toronto
  • BSc, physiology and linguistics, McGill University

Research Interests

  • Individual differences in vocabulary and word learning
  • Factors affecting reading comprehension
  • Relationships between reading and vocabulary
  • Intervention research in educationally based SLP
  • Developmental language disorder, dyslexia

Clinical Interests

  • Reading disorders
  • Language disorders affecting academic performance in school-aged children
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Children with complex communication needs 
  • Co-occurring language and behavioral disorders

Teaching Interests

  • Language development
  • Assessment and treatment of language disorders
  • Research methods
  • Scientific writing

More Info

  • Registered member, College of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
  • Certified member, Speech Language and Audiology Canada (SAC)
  • Certified member, American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Member, Scientific Studies of Reading (SSR)

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