About Professor Kirrie Ballard

As a Speech Pathologist, I was never really sure that my treatment was the main agent of change in my patients with communication disorders, or if it was the best treatment option. The primary research goals of my lab are to better understand the nature of speech-language production disorders and explore more effective treatment approaches.

A/Prof Ballard was awarded the PhD from Northwestern University in the USA. She has held academic appointments in the USA and Sydney. Her major contribution has been to understanding the nature, diagnosis, and treatment of acquired disorders of speech and language production (i.e. aphasia and Apraxia of Speech). Her work applies current theories of motor control and learning, neuroplasticity, and linguistics in two major areas: (a) analysis of deficits in patients with acquired brain injury and (b) maximising response to behavioural rehabilitation. Recently she has extended this work to studying Childhood Apraxia of Speech (i.e. verbal dyspraxia). A/Prof Ballard’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health in USA and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. In 2009 she received the Editor’s Award for her co-authored paper on principles of motor learning in treatment of motor speech disorders (American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 277-298). Her strong record of translational research is evident by involvement in practice guideline initiatives and regular invitations to provide continuing education for primary health care workers

Selected publications

Ballard, K.J., Robin, D.A., McCabe, P., & McDonald, J. (in press, accepted February 2010). Treating dysprosody in childhood Apraxia of Speech. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Tomblin, J.B., Bjork, J., Shriberg, L.D., Williams, C., Anderson, S., Patil, S., Ballard, K.J., O’Brien, M., & Murray, J.C. (accepted January, 2009). Language features in a mother and daughter with a chromosome 7;13 translocation involving FOXP2.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

Maas, E., Robin, D.A., Austermann-Hula, S.N., Freedman, S.E., Wulf, W., Ballard, K.J., & Schmidt, R.A. (2008). Principles of motor learning in treatment of motor speech disorders. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology.
17, 277-298. PMID: 18663111

, K.J., & Robin, D.A. (2007).
Influence of continual biofeedback on jaw pursuit tracking in healthy adults and adults with apraxia plus aphasia. Journal of Motor Behavior, 39, 19-28. PMID: 17251168

Shriberg, L.D.,
Ballard, K.J., Tomblin, J.B., Duffy, J., Odell, K.H., & Williams, C.A. (2006). Speech, prosody, and voice characteristics of a mother and daughter with a 7;13 translocation affecting FOXP2. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49, 500-525. PMID: 16787893

, K.J., Robin, D.A., Woodworth, G., & Zimba, L. (2001). Age-related changes in motor control during articulator visuomotor tracking. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 763-777. PMID: 11521770

, K.J., Granier, J., & Robin, D.A. (2000). Understanding the nature of apraxia of speech: Theory, analysis, and treatment. Aphasiology, 14, 969-995.

Knock, T.R., Ballard, K.J., Robin, D.A., & Schmidt, R. (2000). Influence of order of stimulus presentation on speech motor learning: A principled approach to treatment for apraxia of speech. Aphasiology, 14, 653-668.

, K.J. & Thompson, C.K. (1999). Treatment and generalization of complex sentence production in agrammatism. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 690-707. PMID: 10391633

Thompson, C.K., Ballard, K.J., Tait, M.E., Weintraub, S., & Mesulam, M. (1997). Patterns of language decline in non-fluent primary progressive aphasia. Aphasiology, 11, 297-321.