Steven F. Warren, PhD

Research Centers - Speech-Language-Hearing
Investigator, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies
University Distinguished Professor
PhD, Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center
Room 3001
The University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Ave., Room 3045
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7555


I received my PhD in child and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977. From 1982 to 2000 I was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University and an Investigator at the John F. Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. I returned to the University of Kansas in 2000 to become the Director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies. In 2007 I became the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies. I stepped down from that role in 2014 to teaching and research. I am presently Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders and an Investigator in the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.


PhD, Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas

MA, Human Development, University of Kansas

BGS, Psychology and Human Development (with Honors), University of Kansas


I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders


My research has focused on communication and language development in children with developmental delays and disabilities. Early in my career I contributed to the development of Milieu Communication Teaching, one of the primary approaches used in early language intervention. Much of my work has focused on the effects of different types of communication and language interventions and the manner in which children with specific disorders (e.g. Down syndrome) respond to these interventions. Over the past 20 years I have worked with colleagues to conduct several randomized clinical trials on the effects of these interventions on children's language development. I am also interested in the role of parenting in children's development. I am presently conducting a longitudinal study of parenting effects on children with fragile X syndrome. This research is presently funded by an R01 from the National Institutes of Health. Finally, early on I became involved in the development of LENA, an automatic device to collecting and analyzing large amounts of children's speech and their language enriching interactions with others in their environment. My research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and the US Department of Education throughout my career. The impact of my research has been recognized by major research awards from the National Down Syndrome Congress (1999), the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (2008), and the American Psychological Association (2013).

Research Interests

  • Children, language, communication, early intervention, developmental disabilities, Down syndrome, autism, fragile X syndrome, parenting, randomized clinical trials, Milieu teaching,


I serve on a variety of SPLH Department Committees. I also participate in various committees and activities associated with the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies.

News and events


Dr. Julie Washington is coming as the invited speaker on February 11, 2019: The Annual Betty H. Bunce Multicultural Lecture 

Dr. Holly Storkel leads a research project aimed at developing effective interventions for kids with DLD called KAW Story. The project just earned a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to continue research with 60 Kansas kindergarteners across several school districts.

SPLH/IPCD Graduation Information Page, May 12, 2018 (2019 informationto be edited soon)

SPLH Professor, Holly Storkel, has been selected as Associate Dean for Academic Innovation & Student Success

SPLH Acting Chair, Nancy Brady, has been promoted to Professor by Chancellor Douglas A. Girod - Chancellor announces faculty awarded promotion and tenure for 2018

Three students received Undergraduate Research Awards for SPLH projects in the Spring 2018 semester!  Congratulations to Grace Carlson (mentored by Navin Viswanathan), Beth Fentress (mentored by Holly Storkel) and Bri Marsh (mentored by Jon Brumberg).

Ana PaulMumy's TEDxKU talk- Placing Value on Human Imperfection

Holly Storkel and Navin Viswanathan receive Friends of the Life Span Institute Investigator Awards in 2017

McKenzie Butcher is one of 13 students to receive Undergraduate Research Awards in fall 2017

Kate DeJarnette, a student in KU’s speech-language pathology program, walks us through why she chose to study augmentative and alternative communication.

Explore a degree in audiology or speech-language pathology at the University of Kansas

"The Impact of Parenting on Fragile X Syndrome" in "Research Features", UK online science magazine, featuring research by Steven F. Warren and Nancy C.Brady

KU to present University Scholarly Achievement Award to Nancy Brady on April 10, 2017

KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times