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Language is a Treasure Trove! That is What the Project is About

Research Team

Project Coordinator

Research assistant

Alice is the project coordinator for the TOHOL project. Since 2017, she has coordinated a variety of research projects developed by Drs. Farnia and Cohen, such as the Handle with Care and the Guiding Stars. Additionally, Alice worked with Dr. Farnia to complete an educational evaluation report for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Currently, her work includes the coordination of many components of the TOHOL project activities. Alice is a registered occupational therapist who has over 30 years of clinical, research, teaching and management experience in various mental health programs, including CAMH and the University of Toronto. Alice also completed her Master of Education, specializing in counselling from OISE in 1992. More recently, she has obtained her certification as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist with the Beck Institute and works part-time at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto.

Research Assistants

Teachers

Alisa is completing her B.Sc. in psychology and is enrolled in the M.Sc. in the Developmental Psychology program under the supervision of Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter at Trent University. She thoroughly enjoys her work as a research assistant and psychometrist in the Language and Cognition Lab at Trent University. Alisa has a broad range of interests in psychology, and is most interested in learning more about atypical development and psychopathology. Alisa also has a passion for mentoring students and hopes to continue her studies at a doctoral level upon the completion of her M.Sc.

Teachers

Amy is a Master of Education student in Developmental Psychology and Education. Prior to her graduate studies at OISE, she completed a Communicative Disorders Assistant Graduate Certificate at Durham College, a Bachelor of Arts (Specialized Honours in Linguistics), and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at York University. She joined the TOHOL Lab team as a research practicum student in September 2021, where she assists with the development of the Test of Higher Order Language (TOHOL). The TOHOL Test is a standardized, interoperable, and developmentally sensitive measure of higher order language that will allow reliable assessment of markers of HOL comprehension among typically developing children and adolescents, second language learners, and those who may have a learning disability or language impairment. Currently working in the field of communication disorders and behavioral science at a special needs learning center, her research interests include typical and atypical language acquisition and development, literacy education, and supporting learners with various learning needs. Committed to providing evidence-based practice as an early intervention therapy provider, she is excited to collaborate with her team members and further her knowledge of higher order language development and intervention, and the test development process.

Research staff

Angel is a Master of Education student in the Developmental Psychology and Education at OISE. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2021. She has been teaching Chinese ESL students since 2020 and loves being with the kids! As part of her research practicum course, Angel became a member of the TOHOL team in September 2021 and assisted in test development. Her interests include second language acquisition and figurative language instruction for ESL learners. She would also love to explore the field of pragmatic deficits in children with ADHD.

Research staff

Ayda completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at York University. She is currently an MA student in School and Clinical Child Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). She intends to focus on understanding language and literacy acquisition among children, adolescents, and young adults. She is also interested in the development and evaluation of interventions to facilitate learning a second language and developing literacy skills in first and second languages. Her career goals include being a researcher and a psychologist working with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings such as schools, mental health facilities, community organizations, and academia. Ayda joined the TOHOL team in June 2020 and is contributing to the creation of a standardized measure that reflects an individual’s higher-order language ability. She interested in how to develop a marker for diagnosing language impairments in children and adolescents. Being a research assistant in the TOHOL project team has been a great learning experience for her and she is developing the skills needed to achieve her goals.

Teachers

Jessica completed her Master of Education in Developmental Psychology and Education at the University of Toronto in 2020. She is currently working as a behavior therapist for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum disorder. Her career goal is to become a clinical child psychologist. Jessica joined the TOHOL team in May 2020 and is actively involved in the development of a standardized test of higher order language. Her research interests include the early identification and intervention of neurodevelopmental disabilities in children from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and exploring ways to better support their families. She is pleased to be part of the TOHOL team and enjoys working in such a supportive and collaborative environment!

Teachers

Sepideh graduated from York University with an Honour Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2020. As a graduate student in Developmental Psychology and Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, she became involved in the TOHOL lab. Since 2015, Sepideh has worked as a mentor, tutor and instructor teaching French language skills and math to children with different levels of ability. Sepideh is interested in language development and the emergence of figurative language processing specifically metaphor, in preverbal children.

Teachers

Shalette is in the first year of her Master of Information program and is studying User Experience Design at the University of Toronto. Before joining the TOHOL project as a work-study student, she worked in several fields – interface development, graphic design and marketing. Shalette is passionate about creating equitable and user-friendly solutions to help improve digital experiences.

Teachers

Shreya has completed her Honors Bachelor of Sciences at the University of Toronto and is working towards pursuing a career in occupational therapy. She has been a part of the TOHOL team since 2018, working as a research assistant on various projects including the Test of Higher Order Language (TOHOL), Guiding Stars program for at-risk youth in Ontario schools, as well as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) project investigating teaching and learning practices in elementary schools of West Asia. Currently, she is supporting a systematic review on HOL development and the creation of a standardized measure that reflects an individual’s higher order language ability to establish a marker for diagnosing language impairments in children and adolescents. She enjoys collaborating with the TOHOL team and feels this experience has played a major role in strengthening the personal and professional skills needed to pursue her career goals.

Teachers

Tanzeela is in the first year of her Master of Education program. She is studying Developmental Psychology and Education at Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She has worked in a developmental clinic and developmental psychology research lab from 2017 to 2021. She has recently joined the TOHOL project as a work-study student. Tanzeela is interested in second language development in immigrant children and how it can be enhanced through the education system.

Research staff

Vibhuti is a speech-language pathologist at York Hills Centre for Children, Youth and Families. She completed her M.H.Sc. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto in 2015. She is an enthusiastic learner and joined the TOHOL team in June 2020 to strengthen both her clinical and research skills. On the TOHOL team, Vibhuti is currently supporting a systematic review on the higher order language development and the creation of a standardized assessment tool for higher order language. Vibhuti has a special interest in understanding the role language plays in mental health, trauma, attachment and family systems. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts about language, literacy and mental health and is developing a podcast of her own!

Research staff

Wenfu is a Ph.D. student in Speech-Language Pathology and Neuroscience at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto. He completed his M.Sc. in Linguistics at the University of Alberta. In September 2020, Wenfu joined the TOHOL team as a Work-Study student, and he is very interested in developing assessment tools for higher order language skills, especially among children with language impairment and second language learners. Outside of TOHOL, Wenfu is currently working on examining the cognitive and neural development in bilinguals. In particular, he is interested in the neurophysiological correlates of attention allocation during spoken language processing among bilingual infants, children and adults.