Prof. Mabel L. Rice , PhD

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Speech-Language-Hearing, Child Language Doctoral Program
Director, Child Language Doctoral Program
Fred and Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies
Primary office:
Dole Human Development Center, 3031
University of Kansas
1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045
Second office:
Haworth Hall


Mabel L. Rice, PhD, is the Fred & Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies at the University of Kansas.

She directs the Merrill Advanced Studies Center, the Child Language Doctoral Program, and the NIDCD-funded Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences of Communication Disorders (P30 DC005803). She directs the Language Acquisition Studies Laboratory, and is the PI on two longitudinal language acquisition studies funded by NIDCD (R01 DC005226, R01 DC001803). She is a member of the Scientific Leadership Group for the NIH Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS, U01 HD052104) and a Co-PI on an NIH Small Business Tech Transfer grant (STTR, R42 DC013749) with Richard Ellenson. She also directs a NIDCD-funded training grant (T32 DC000052).

She has been a Scholar-in-Residence at MIT, Harvard, the University of Potsdam, Germany, and Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and a Japan Fellow in Tokyo.



Dr. Rice teaches graduate courses on language acquisition, language impairments in children, morphosyntax, research methods, and issues in the conduct of research. She directs the cross-disciplinary Child Language Doctoral Program, jointly sponsored by the departments of Applied Behavioral Sciences, Linguistics, Psychology, and Speech, Language, Hearing.

She has an extensive record of mentoring doctoral and post-doctoral students. She has directed a T32 NIDCD training grant for more than 20 years and has directed training grants from NINDS and the Department of Education. She received the John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award.

Teaching Interests

  • Language impairments in children


Dr. Rice's research focuses on language acquisition and language impairments, morphosyntax (grammar markers of language impairment), genetics of language, reading, and speech impairments; language acquisition and impairments in twins, language impairments in children affected by HIV, and language impairments in children with autism.

Her research is multidisciplinary and internationally collaborative. Her lab is funded by NIDCD for an ongoing longitudinal, family-based genetic study of language acquisition of children with and without SLI (R01 DC001803), based in the Midwest, and for an ongoing epidemiologically ascertained longitudinal family-based genetic study of twins (R01 DC005226), with data collection in Western Australia.

She enjoys and appreciates the support and contributions of scientific collaborators from Nebraska (Shelley Smith), New York (Richard Ellenson), Australia (Steve Zubrick and Cate Taylor), Washington University (Brad Schlagger and Steve Petersen), Switzerland (Javier Gayán), Tulane University (Russ Van Dyke), University of Illinois (Ken Rich) and Norway (Synnve Schjolberg), as well as the members of the Language Acquisition Studies Lab at the University of Kansas. She is a Partner Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, directed by Stephen Crain.

For her research she has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Psychological Association (APA), Association for Psychological Science (APS), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She also received ASHA Honors and the Alfred A. Kawana Council of Editors Award from ASHA. She is an Affiliate of the American Health Council. In her role as Director of the Merrill Advanced Studies Center, she organizes scientific conferences and dissemination of papers on research in public universities, and produces papers and edited books on emerging cross-disciplinary topics related to language, cognition and neuroscience.

Research Interests

  • Language impairments in children
  • Genetics of language


Dr. Rice served on the Advisory Council of the NIDCD, on the Communications Disorders Workgroup for American Psychiatric Association DSM-V, co-chaired the PhenX Speech and Hearing Working Group for the National Human Genome Research Institute, is a consultant for the Norwegian Institute for Public Health Longitudinal Study of Child Health Outcomes, and the Autism Speaks Treatment Advisory Board.

She served as co-Chair for KU's Strategic Planning from 2012 – 2014. She serves on numerous editorial boards of professional organizations and on the Publication Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, with a term as Chair beginning in 2015.

Selected Publications

Rice, M. L. (2020). Response to the letter to the Editor from  Bishop (2020) regarding Rice (2020), “Clinical Lessons from Studies of Children with Specific Language Impairment,” [Journal Articles]. Perspectives, 5(3), 570–571.
Rice, M. L., Taylor, C. L., Zubrick, S. R., Hoffman, L., & Earnest, K. K. (2020). Heritability of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Non-specific Language Impairment (NLI) at ages 4 and 6 years across phenotypes of speech, language, and nonverbal cognition [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research. Published.
Rice, M. L. (2018). Specific Language Impairment in Children:  Part Two [Books]. In Open Access Journal (pp. 1–14).
Rice, M. L. (2018). Language development: Learning from what children say [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government, 390–391.
Rice, M. L., Russell, J. S., Frederick, T., Purswani, M., Williams, P. L., Siberry, G. K., Redmond, S. M., Hoffman, H. J., & Yao, T.-J. (2018). Risk for speech and language impairments in preschool aged HIV-exposed uninfected children with in utero combination antiretroviral exposure [Journal Articles]. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 37(7), 678–685.
Rice, M. L. (2018). Growing up with Specific Language Impairment.  Open Access Government [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government. Published.
Rice, M. L. (2018). Language development:  Learning from what children say [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government. Published.
Rice, M. L. (2018). Specific Language Impairment (SLI) versus Speech Sound Disorders (SSD) [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government, 310–311.
Taylor, C. C., Rice, M. L., Christensen, D., Blair, E., & Zubrick, S. R. (2018). Prenatal and perinatal risks for late language emergence in a population-level sample of twins at age 2 [Journal Articles]. BMC Pediatrics. Published.
Rice, M. L. (2018). What twins can tell us about Specific Language Impairment [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government, 234–237.
Dale, P. S., Rice, M. L., Rimfeld, K., & Hayiou-Thomas, E. (2018). Grammar clinical marker yields substantial heritabiity for language impairments in 16-year-old twins [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research, 61, 66–78.
Rice, M. L., Zubrick, S. R., Taylor, C. L., Hoffman, L., & Gayan, J. (2018). Longitudinal study of language and speech of twins at 4 and 6 years:  Twinning effects decrease; zygosity effects disappear; and heritability increases [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research, 61, 79–93.
Rice, M. L. (2017). Specific language impairment: what do we know? [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government, 34–35.
Rice, M. L. (2017). Overlooked by public health:  Specific Language Impairment [Journal Articles]. Open Access Government, 28–29.
Rice, M. L. (2017). Lost for words: Investigating specific language impairments. [Journal Articles]. Research Features, 105.
Rice, M. L. (2016). Specific Language Impairment, Nonverbal IQ, ADHD, ASD, Cochlear Implants, Bilingualism and Dialectal Variants:  Defining the boundaries, clarifying clinical conditions and sorting out causes [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 59, 122–132.
Rice, M. L. (2016). Children with Specific Language Impairment and Their Families:  A Future View of Nature Plus Nurture and New Technologies for Comprehensive Language Intervention Strategies [Journal Articles]. Seminars in Speech and Language, 37, 310–318.
Redmond, S. M., Yao, T. J., Russell, J. S., Rice, M. L., Hoffman, H. J., Siberry, G. K., Frederick, T., Purswani, M., & Williams, P. L. (2016). Longitudinal evaluation of language impairment in youth with perinatally acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and youth with perinatal HIV exposure [Journal Articles]. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, 5((suppl1)), S33–S40.
Abel, A., Rice, M., & Bontempo, D. (2015). Effects of verb familiarity on finiteness marking in children [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, 58, 360–372.
Rice, M. L., & Hoffman, L. (2015). Predicting vocabulary growth in children with and without Specific Language Impairment [Journal Articles]. Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, 58, 345–359.
Himes, S. K., Huo, Y., Siberry, G. K., Williams, P. L., Rice, M. L., Sirois, P. A., Frederick, T., Hazra, R., & Huestis, M. A. (2015). Meconium Atazanavir concentrations and early language outcomes in HIV-exposed, uninfected infants with prenatal Atazanavir exposure. [Journal Articles]. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), 69, 178–186.

Selected Presentations

Rice, M. L. (11/16/2015). Users' Guide to Collaborative Research. Annual meeting of ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University. Sydney, Australia
Rice, M. L. (6/20/2015). Cochlear Implants, ASD, Bilingualism and Dialectical Variants: Defining the boundaries, clarifying clinical conditions and sorting out causes. Advances in the Sciences of Language Disorders. University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Rice, M. L. (5/31/2015). Need for diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in search for causes of language impairments in children. Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Oslo, Norway
Rice, M. L. (1/31/2015). Longitudinal language outcomes in children with SLI: Phenotypes and genetic etiology. Taiwan Society for Cognitive Neuroscience conference, National Taiwan Normal University. Taipei City, Taiwan
Rice, M. L. (11/30/2014). Language impairment alone or in company: The value of comparative research. 24th annual Research Symposium at ASHA Annual Convention. Orlando, FL
Rice, M. L. (10/23/2014). 10 things to know about children with language impairments. Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) meeting. Bethesda, MD
Rice, M. L. (7/31/2014). Growth of language in children with and without SLI: Moving toward epigenetic models of strengths and weaknesses. Genetics and Neurobiology of Language, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Rice, M. L. (7/31/2014). Longitudinal outcomes in children with SLI: Lessons for language dimensions and genetic investigations. Workshop on Language Acquisition and its Disorders, Beijing Language and Cultural University. Beijing, China

Selected Awards & Honors

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Journals Board
2015 - 2019
Representative of NIDCD to NIH Scientific Priorities Workshop, March, 2018. Invited small work group sponsored by All of Us Research Program. Purpose of the workshop is to identify future research priorities
American Psychiatric Association DSM-V Neurodevelopmental Disorders Work Group, Communication Disorders
American Psychiatric Association
2009 - 2012
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Council
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
2008 - 2012
John C. Wright Outstanding Graduate Mentor
University of Kansas
Recipient of the Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research 2008 EditorΓÇÖs Award of Highest Merit for Language Publication
Alfred A. Kawana Council of Editors Award
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Women of Distinction
University of Kansas
Recipient of the Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research 1996 EditorΓÇÖs Award of Highest Merit for Language Publication
Kansas University Distinguished Professor
American Health Council Affiliate
2017 - Present
American Psychological Association, Division 1, 7
American Association for the Advancement of Science
2004 - Present
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
1988 - Present
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2004 - Present
Scientific Leadership Group, NIH Pediatric HIV AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS)
National Institutes of Health
2005 - Present

News and events

— Expertscape: Your Source For Medical Experts (@Daily_Experts) December 3, 2021

Kris Pedersen and Ana Paula Mumy joined Governor Kelly for bill signing enacting the Interstate Compact for SLPs & Audiologists. 

Nicola Santangelo awarded a Summer 2021 UGRA with Dr. Jena McDaniel

SPLH graduate program ranked in top 50

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Foundations, Perspectives, & Accountability virtual continuing education course featuring Stephanie Meehan, PhD, CCC-SLP and Mathew Gillispie, PhD, CCC-SLP

KSHA's Executive Board is addressing the need for diversity and inclusion in our profession in a multi-pronged approach. We are committed to ongoing dialogue across cultural lines. We recognize the need for further education amongst ourselves and our membership. We have partnered with the University of Kansas to offer this FREE virtual continuing education course. 


Ana Paula Mumy - Spero Stuttering

Personnel Prep Grants

Megan Davidson and Jena McDaniel (Post doc) will each be receiving ASHAFoundation New Investigator Research Grants! 

Randi Hutto was awarded a Fall 2020 UGRA with Dr. Meghan Davidson

MA student Alondra Del Real received an honorable mention for Therapy Insight's Essay Contest. Her essay was titled "The Lack of Diversity in the Field of Speech-Language Pathology." 

Emily Sonsthagen presented a Poster in the 23rd Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 25, 2020

Emily Sonsthagen received an Outstanding Presentation Award!

Suma Suswaram to be awarded the KU Tradition of Excellence Award on Saturday, April 18, 2020

SPLH UG students selected as University Scholars: Sophie Moore and Michaela Russ 

Suma Suswaram is International Leader of the week (2/24/2020).  Congrats Suma!

News from Ana Paula G. Mumy, M.S., CCC-SLP February 2020

KU Student Equity & Inclusion WorkgroupKU Student Equity & Inclusion Workgroup Fall 2019 Newsletter

CoKU Student Equity & Inclusion Workgroupngratulations to our December 2019 Graduates: Elyse T. Adame, Gabriella A. Araiza, Hannah Grace Harrison, Ezra S. Kaiser, Romaric A. Keuwo, Rebecca Grace McGuinness, Margaret Ann Olson, Allison G. Peterka, Hally Allena Ricklefs, Carrie Michelle Riseling, Gabrielle K. Rosenwald, Lindsay Nicole Thomas.

Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP (center) was recently an invited speaker at the Brazilian Stuttering Association “AbraGagueira” conference. She is pictured with its current president (left) and its founder/director (right).  A large group attended the documentary film showing, "When I Stutter", which is the film Ana Paula translated with the AbraGagueira founder.

Corinne Walker, a Ph.D. student in SPLH received the 2019 ASHA foundation Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development

SPLH student Haleyanna Schippers- one of 10 undergraduate students to receive undergraduate research awards this fall.

Bridget Rennard is featured on page 18 of KU Giving magazine's Fall 2019 edition.

SPLH student Bridget Rennard is one of 7 KU students, graduates to win Fulbright awards 

Steven F. Warren, Ph.D. has been named the 2019 Distinguished Alumni by the Applied Behavioral Sciences department.

IPCD students, Ivarene Hurtado (MA-SLP) and Suma Suswaram (PhD), have been selected for ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP) Class of 2019

Joshuaa Allison-Burbank is recognized by The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development: as a 2019 Native American 40 under 40 award recipient.

Ana Paula Mumy along with Brazilian SLP Daniela Zackiewicz just completed translation of the film, "When I Stutter" in Portuguese, and it will be debuted at the "Abra Gagueira" conference this October, which is the Brazilian association for persons who stutter.  Ana Paula is an invited speaker at the conference and will be hosting the very first screening of the film in Portuguese!

Bachelor’s Degrees in American Sign Language & Deaf Studies, KU Edwards Campus

Congratulations to Russell Johnston, Ph.D., Kristen Muller, Ph.D., and Kevin Pitt, Ph.D. for successfulling defending their dissertations this summer! 

Congratulations to Tiffany P. Hogan, Speech Language Pathology PhD alum, ASHA Fellowship of the Assiciation 2019 Award recipient.

Suzanne Adlof, one of our Speech Language Pathology MA/PhD alums now in South Carolina, received the presidential early career award in science/engineering.

Congratulations to Mindy Bridges, Assistant Professor, on receiving the School of Health Professions (SHP) Research Grant for her proposal: The Development of Language-Intensive Professional Development Modules for Prekindergarten Teachers.

Abby Enneking, 2nd year MA-SLP student, will be 1 of 2 students from Kansas to receive the Sertoma International Award.

Frank Kim, 2nd year MA-SLP student, will be the recipient of the SHP Dean's Diversity Scholarship.

Nancy Brady recently participated in the First Summit Forum of China Higher Education of Speech Language Pathology at East China Normal University in Shanghai China. Dr. Brady is pictured with Dr. Qiaoyun Liu, the department head and associate Dean at East Normal. Dr. Liu was a visiting scholar at KU in 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a consensus for curriculum in Speech Language Pathology in China.


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.

KU Today
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