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Professionals and students in Communication Sciences and Special Education focus on meeting the needs of all people who might benefit from a range of approaches to teaching, learning, or communication. Our work is guided by the four strategic principles of the Mary Frances Early College of Education, which begin with diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people and also include high quality research, instruction, and outreach. We welcome all inquiries from students, professionals, community members, and families.

Academic programs in communication sciences and disorders, special education, birth through kindergarten programs, American Sign Language, and other specialties reflect our fundamental belief that all people should be as independent as they can possibly be.


We value high-quality research that generates new knowledge and we value the best possible applications of current knowledge.


Potential students who are interested in participating in the PIPs Project, a joint effort between the Communication Sciences and Disorders program and the Special Education B-K program that provides interdisciplinary training to support young children with high intensity needs across a variety of settings, can apply for funding.

Apply for Funding


Through the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, the Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic, and other outreach activities, we share our expertise with those who may benefit from it.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree and certificate programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders prepare students to be future leaders in speech-language pathology, audiology, and related areas.

Special Education

Our special education degree programs offer opportunities for students to work in general curriculum, adapted curriculum, and birth through kindergarten areas.

Non-Degree Programs



Research Grants

  • Analysis, Interpretation, Instruction, Management (AIIM)

    This project prepares graduate students to evaluate and plan intervention programs for K-12 students with ASD. Students earn a master's degree in special education upon completion and are eligible to sit for the board certification in applied behavior analysis examination.

    • Sponsored by: U.S. Department of Education
    • Principal Investigator: Kevin M. Ayres
  • Effects of Reinforcer and Extinction Factors on Response Strength of Behavior

    This study will investigate how to program reinforcement for communication strategies so responses will persist longest when functional communication training is challenged, and will begin to clarify the role extinction plays in the maintenance of the treatment to help minimize relapse.

    • Sponsored by: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
    • Principal Investigator: Joel Ringdahl
  • Georgia Sensory Assistance Project (GSAP)

    The Georgia Sensory Assistance Project is a grant funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, that provides services to children and youth with deaf-blindness from birth through age 21.

    • Sponsored by: U.S. Department of Education
    • Principal Investigator: Cynthia O. Vail
  • SUCCESS: Success in College after Concussion with Effective Student Supports

    The goal of this project is to develop and test a peer mentoring program for college students with concussion. We aim to do this through a two-year project which will engage subject matter clinical experts as well as students recovering from concussion.

    • Sponsored by: Andee's ARMY
    • Principal Investigator: Katy H. O'Brien, Tracey Wallace Clinical Research Scientist, Shepherd Center
  • The PIPs Project

    The purpose of this project is to provide interdisciplinary training to graduate-level early childhood special educators (ECSE) and speech-language pathologists (SLP) to support young children with high intensity needs across a variety of settings.

Outreach Programs

  • Audiology Services

    The UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic offers comprehensive audiology services for all ages including hearing evaluations, acoustic reflex testing, ABR testing, OAE testing, infant hearing testing, and more!

  • CABER Services

    The Center for Autism and Behavioral Education Research works with local students and teachers to create and sustain supportive learning environments. Here are ways we engage with the community.

  • Preschool Program for Language and Literacy

    This program targets language and literacy skills for pre-K children through evidence-based practices.

  • Speech and Hearing Screenings

    Free speech and hearing screenings are offered in the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic twice a year as a community service.

  • Speech-Language Pathology Services

    The UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic offers comprehensive speech-language pathology services for all ages, including aphasia, articulation, speech sound disorders, aural rehabilitation, and more!


In addition to the following departmental scholarships, learn more about additional opportunities for financial assistance on our financial aid page.

Our clinics

Our clinics

We are home to the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic, which add depth to our programs.

Community services

Community services

We offer summer programs for all ages, as well as speech and hearing screenings for children and adults in the community.

Faculty profile

Faculty profile

Associate Professor Kevin Ayres launched the BCBA clinic following the successful start of a program to train educators in Board-Certified Behavioral Analysis.

Student Organizations


CommunicAID Nation was founded as a non-profit organization in Atlanta in 2012 as a means to provide resources and support for individuals with communication needs. By offering access to direct and affordable services, providing financial assistance, and by supplying assistive technology devices, CommunicAID Nation enables individuals with communication disorders to access the world around them.

We encourage people to find their voice and we advocate within the community and local government to create change. We feel strongly that everyone deserves to be heard.

National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA)

We provide students in the fields of human communication sciences and disorders an opportunity to share ideas in assessment and treatment; provide information; provide community service and social interaction.

Faculty advisor: Nancy Dellaria

Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC)

This professional organization promotes the advancement and education of all individuals with exceptional traits.

Faculty advisor: Allison U. Nealy

Outreach Programs and Events

Our summer programs offer intensive clinics for students and adults with speech and hearing difficulties. Visit our event page to learn more.

Upcoming Events


Three College alumnae named to UGA’s 2020 40 Under 40 Class

July 22, 2020
Laine Bradshaw (B.S.Ed. ’07, M.Ed. ’07, Ph.D. ’11), Brittany Kisner (B.S.Ed. ’07), and Samantha Livingstone (B.S.Ed. ’05, M.Ed. ’08) were named to UGA's 40 Under 40 Class of 2020 for their personal, professional and philanthropic achievements.

Academic Advisors

Patricia La Madrid

  • Communication Sciences and Disorders

Emily Robinson

  • Campus-Based Special Education

Faculty and Staff

Laurie Achin

  • Lecturer

Tina C. Anderson

  • Clinical Assistant Professor

Amber Atkinson

  • Program Coordinator II

Kevin M. Ayres

  • Professor

Sandie Bass-Ringdahl

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Jennifer A. Brown

  • Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator

Rachel R. Cagliani

  • Assistant Professor

Liang Chen

  • Associate Professor

Amy Childre

  • Clinical Assistant Professor

Thomas J. Clees

  • Associate Professor

Carol Darrah

  • Early Childhood Coordinator

Alicia B. Davis

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Nancy Dellaria

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Barbara Derricotte

  • Office Manager

Patrick Finn

  • Professor

Diane Foster

  • Family Engagement Coordinator

Alisa Norris Fountain

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Bethany Hamilton-Jones

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Holly S. Kaplan

  • Clinical Professor

Hannah Krimm

  • Assistant Professor

Amber Laws

  • Administrative Specialist II

Rebecca G. Lieberman-Betz

  • Associate Professor

Jennifer H. Lindstrom

  • Associate Professor

Anne K. Marcotte

  • Professor and CMSD Program Director

Rebecca Shisler Marshall

  • Associate Professor

Melissa Montalvo

  • Business Manager I

Alison Morrison

  • Clinical Assistant Professor

Allison U. Nealy

  • Clinical Professor

Laura Nichols

  • Clinical Assistant Professor

Katy H. O'Brien

  • Assistant Professor

Amy Peterson

  • Lecturer

Terry Jean (T.J.) Ragan

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Cherry Rawlins

  • Administrative Assistant

Joel Ringdahl

  • Associate Professor

Heather Woodard Roberts

  • Student Affairs Professional II

Nina Santus

  • Clinical Assistant Professor

Kristin L. Sayeski

  • Associate Professor

Mini Shrivastav

  • Part Time Sr. Research Scientist

Christine Spratling

  • Program Coordinator IV

Debra Teesdale

  • Lecturer

Cynthia O. Vail

  • Professor and Department Head

Kimberly Viel-Ruma

  • Clinical Associate Professor

Contact Us

Department Head: Cynthia O. Vail

570 Aderhold Hall 110 Carlton Street Athens, Georgia 30602
  • Phone: 706-542-4561
  • Fax: 706-542-5348