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Dr. Olness’ research examines the discourse production abilities of adults with acquired neurogenic communication disorders, such as stroke-induced aphasia. Normal pre-morbid discourse variation is incorporated into her approach (ethnic discourse styles of African Americans and Euro-Americans, formality, spontaneity, age/cohort effects, etc.). Her interests focus on the relationship between linguistic and paralinguistic forms and their communicative function-- for example, language forms used to express emotion, opinion, and attitude--and their neurological underpinnings. These combined areas of inquiry are applied to the design of clinical discourse assessment and assessment of functional communication. In addition, her research with disordered populations sheds light on the cognitive-linguistic and neurological substrates of “normal” discourse production in non-brain-injured populations.
Prior to joining the UNT SPHS faculty in 2006, Olness worked as a federally funded (NIH) Research Scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Callier Center. Olness received her doctoral and post-doctoral training at UTD (Human Development and Communication Sciences), under the mentorship of Dr. Hanna Ulatowska. Earlier degrees were in Linguistics (M.A., U. of Oregon), and Communicative Disorders (M.S., U. of Wisconsin--Madison). Olness began her career as a B.A. double major in French and Speech & Hearing Sciences (Indiana U., - Bloomington) under the mentorship of Dr. Judith Johnston.
Publications authored and co-authored by Olness have appeared in Aphasiology, Brain and Language, Discourse Processes, the Journal of Neurolinguistics, the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, and Advances in Speech-Language Pathology, inter alia.
Olness’ clinical training in adult neurogenic communication disorders includes a graduate internship at the Middleton V.A. Hospital (Madison, WI) under Dr. John (Jay) Rosenbek, and a Clinical Fellowship at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She continued her clinical work as a staff speech-language pathologist in a non-profit clinic in Eugene, Oregon. Her current clinical research program involves on-going contact with and advocacy for individuals who have aphasia.
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