The University of Texas at Austin
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Sana Naiyer

Sana Naiyer
Major: 
Communication Sciences and Disorders; Applied Learning and Development

Sana’s undergraduate research topic is Assessment and Treatment of Speech Sound Disorders in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

“Participating in research has helped me apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to actual research in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.”

Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Barbara Davis and Dr. Jessica Franco, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Briefly describe your research project.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. Many children with ASD demonstrate a speech disorder, and this percentage is much higher than the normal estimate of speech disorders in children. This study looks at three different treatment options to see how effective or ineffective they are in improving the speech intelligibility of children who have autism and a speech disorder.

What was the most rewarding part of your research experience?

I really enjoy being able to work with children with ASD during study sessions, which is where we collect speech samples to later analyze. Another rewarding aspect was being able to make valuable connections with other students and professors. My faculty supervisors are great mentors.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?

Participating in research has helped me apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to actual research in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

What surprised you during the research process?

I was surprised by the amount of resources available for students and faculty wanting to do research. I also realized just how many factors and variables there are when it comes to conducting a research study, and that there is a lot of careful planning to be done.

Do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

Yes. Doing research has helped me improve my clinical and critical thinking skills, both of which will help me when I attend graduate school and work as a professional. I have also learned more about autism and working with kids who have autism, which will be invaluable as a future speech-language pathologist. Having this experience will also be beneficial if I decide to pursue a research career.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

Do research in something you’re sincerely interested in and don’t limit yourself to just one department. Don’t be afraid to approach professors and talk to them about their work.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 15-19 this year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.