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Lesley Sylvan

Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Dr. Lesley Sylvan is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University. Dr. Sylvan is a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) with extensive clinical experience working with school-aged children both in public school and private clinical settings. She completed a Master's degree in educational policy and management as well as a Doctorate degree in human development and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Broadly, Dr. Sylvan's scholarly interests center on the intersection between the field of education and the field of speech-language pathology. Within the intersection of education and speech-language pathology, she pursues research related to both the K-12 educational sector as well as issues related to higher education. She has authored numerous academic papers in these areas and is a regular speaker at academic conferences.

Related to K-12 settings, Dr. Sylvan’s research involves closely examining the work of school-based SLPs in public school settings with an emphasis on educational policies and educational reforms. Her forthcoming book by Plural Publishing, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Implementation Tools for Speech-Language Pathologists in Education, provides answers to a range of questions related to educational policy and explores the applicability of the multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to a speech-language pathologist’s role in schools. Information about the book, including reviews and sample pages can be seen on the Plural Publishing website:

Related to higher education, Dr. Sylvan’s scholarly work encompasses issues related to the training and preparation of SLPs in higher educational settings. Within this area, she studies the implications of both program-level decisions (e.g. admissions requirements, coursework) and classroom-level pedagogical choices (e.g., course design, assignment selection) in departments offering degrees in speech-language pathology.

At Montclair State University, she teaches courses focused on language acquisition in children, language disorders in school-aged children, and research methodology. She views research mentorship as a key part of her teaching responsibilities and regularly publishes articles with Master’s-level students.

Selected publications:

Sylvan, L., Goldstein, E., & Crandall, M. (in press). Capturing a moment in time: A survey of school-based SLPs’ experiences in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.

Sylvan, L. Brock, K., Perkins., A, Garrett, J. (2020). Building blocks of knowledge: A close look at prerequisite coursework for graduate programs in speech-language pathology. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 1-10.

Sylvan, L. Perkins, A., Truglio, C. (2020). Student experience applying to graduate school for speech-language pathology. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 5(1), 192-205.

Sylvan, L. (2019). How to teach concern: Inspiring speech-language pathology graduate students to develop empathy and advocacy with the power of personal stories. Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 3(2), 9.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Bringing book club to class: Engaging college students in reading content-specific books written for popular audiences. College Teaching, 66(4), 225-234.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Tiers to communication success: How can SLPs join in the MTSS framework many schools are adopting to catch students’ special education needs earlier and provide levels of intervention? The ASHA Leader, 23(8), 44-53.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Similar populations, differing service levels: Exploring factors that drive variability in the provision of speech-language service. Educational Policy, 32(4). 598-630.

Sylvan, L. (2016). When it’s time for goodbye: When a student is ready to “graduate” from services, how do you handle resistance from parents? The ASHA Leader, 21(9), 44-48.

Sylvan, L. (2014). Speech-language services in public schools: How policy ambiguity regarding eligibility criteria impacts speech-language pathologists in a litigious and resource constrained environment. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 7-23.

Sylvan, L., & Christodoulou, J. (2010). Understanding the role of neuroscience in brain-based products: A guide for educators and consumers. Mind, Brain, and Education, 4(1), 1-7.

Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Sylvan, L., (2010). Admiration for virtue: Neuroscientific perspectives on a motivating emotion. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 35(2), 110-115.


Language disorders in school-aged children, special education policy, roles of the school speech-language pathologist, scholarship of teaching and learning, current practice patterns and personnel preparation needs in the field of speech-language pathology, multiple tiers of student support (MTSS) framework

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