Affiliated Faculty

Sally Clendon, Ph.D. Sally is a Senior Lecturer in the Speech Language Therapy Programme at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. Sally began her clinical career working as a speech-language therapist in New Zealand schools, providing direct intervention and working collaboratively with parents, teachers, and support staff. During this time, Sally developed a strong interest in improving access to the curriculum and to literacy learning for children with severe disabilities. In 2006, Sally obtained her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences with Karen Erickson in the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. Her current research focuses on analysing the language used by children without disabilities when they write about self-selected topics. The information gained from the research will assist speech-language therapists and teachers to plan more effective vocabulary sets and language representation systems for children who use AAC. Sally is also involved in a large international study examining the receptive and expressive communication abilities of children who use AAC. In addition, Sally continues to collaborate with her colleagues in the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies.

David Koppenhaver, Ph.D., Professor, Reading Education and Special Education Department, Appalachian State University. Dr. Koppenhaver holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He is the former director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and has worked for the past 25 years with preschool- and school-aged children who have a wide variety of literacy learning difficulties. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in reading methods, special education, and instructional technology. He has written and lectured widely on literacy instruction for children with significant disabilities and was the recipient of the 1998 International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication/Don Johnston, Inc. Distinguished Lecturer Award. He collaborated with Karen Erickson and David Yoder in organizing a collection of AAC/literacy case studies for the book Waves of Words: Augmentative Communicators Read and Write. His current scholarship focuses on the use of internet technologies to assess reading capabilities in students with Down syndrome and co-authoring with Karen Erickson a literacy methods text for children with severe disabilities.

Patricia B. Porter, Ph.D., is a certified Speech/Language Pathologist and holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former classroom teacher and a school and hospital communication disorders specialist with a focus on persons with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Dr. Porter served as Clinical Director of the Center for Disorders of Development and Learning of the UNC School of Medicine and participated in the establishment of the Augmentative Communication Team, the first such interdisciplinary assessment and intervention  team in the state. She developed and directed the first university class in Augmentative and Alternative Communication in North Carolina. Dr. Porter served as Chief of the Developmental Disability Services Section for the NC Dept of Health and Human Services for fourteen years. During that time, North Carolina experienced the greatest growth in community programs and services for persons with developmental disabilities in the history of the state; far exceeding the national average. She has published many book chapters, journal articles and instructional materials. Dr. Porter served as the  Associate Director for Administration and Development at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies for five years.


Vicky Roy, Ph.D. Vicky is a RDI® Program Certified Consultant who is currently living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has partnered with Access to Better Communication in Baton Rouge, LA to provide RDI® program consultation to families of children with a diagnosis of autism. In addition to her work with families, Vicky has conducted workshops and inservice trainings focused on early language and literacy development and relationship based intervention for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Vicky completed her dissertation examining interest and engagement during storybook reading with very young children. Vicky is currently involved in conducting research in literacy and communication development for school-aged students with developmental disabilities with the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. She is also collaborating with the Lousisana Department of Education and the University of New Orleans to develop a personnel preparation program focusing on literacy for children with significant disabilities.

Stephanie Spadorcia, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Literacy and Language, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. Dr. Spadorcia holds a Ph.D. in special education and literacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was a teacher of adolescents with disabilities and continues to have research interests in the areas of the compatibility of reading materials and instruction, high-interest, low-level texts for struggling readers, and assessment and instruction of literacy skills for children with disabilities. Dr. Spadorcia is a key collaborator for numerous research, professional development, and dissemination activities conducted at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies including ABC-Link.