Charity Rowland, PhD


Professor, Pediatrics  
PI, Proving the Effectiveness of the Online Communication Matrix  
, Communication Matrix Community of Practice    
Academic Interests: communication and cognitive development, individuals with severe/multiple disabilities, communication assessment, communities of practice 



Dr. Rowland's interests and research involve the assessment, development and education of individuals who experience severe and/or multiple disabilities, including complex communication needs (CCN). Her work is supported entirely by federal grants. Areas of specific interest include communicative development and cognitive development in nonspeaking children and adults. Current grants focus on the assessment of communication skills, the development of appropriate IEPs for children with CCN, and the creation of a new virtual community of practice for professionals and parents who support the needs of individuals with CCN. Design to Learn research is conducted in community-based settings including public schools and homes.



Ph.D. University of Oklahoma: Experimental Psychology
M.S. University of Oklahoma: Experimental Psychology
B.S. New College: Experimental Psychology


Summary of Current Research

H327A110010 US Dept. of Education. 2011-2015 (Rowland, PI). Proving the Effectiveness of the Online Communication Matrix

This project will examine whether using the online Communication Matrix suite is associated with the development of better communication-related IEP/IFSP goals and better attainment of these goals by students, as compared to a "business-as-usual" approach.


H327S130010 US Dept. of Education. 2014 – 2019 (Rowland, PI). Communication Matrix Community of Practice.

This is an implementation project to scale up use of the Communication Matrix suite by teachers and speech-language pathologists nationwide. The project will develop a virtual community of practice to augment the current Communication Matrix suite.


Scholarly Work/Publications

  1. Chen, D., Rowland, C. Stillman, R., & Mar, H. (2009). Authentic practices for assessing communication skills of young children with sensory impairments and multiple disabilities. Early Childhood Services, 3(4), 328-339.
  2. Rowland, C., Stillman, R. & Mar, H. (2010). Current Assessment Practices for Young Children who are Deafblind.  AER Journal, 3 (3), 63-70.
  3. Rowland, C. & Fried-Oken, M. (2010) Communication Matrix: A clinical and research assessment tool targeting children with severe communication disorders. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 3, 319-329.
  4. Rowland, C. (2011). Using the Communication Matrix to Assess Expressive Skills in Early Communicators. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 32, 190-201.
  5. Rowland, C., Fried-Oken, M., Steiner, SAM, Lollar, D., Phelps, R., Simeonsson, R., and Granlund, M. (2012). Developing the ICF-CY for AAC Profile and Code Set for Children Who Rely on AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 28(1): 21-33.
  6. Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Noethe, G., Dixon, M., Fuller, B., Mills, C., Gibbons, C., Daniels,D., Small, J., Still, K., Oken, B. (2012). AAC to support conversation in persons with moderate Alzheimer's disease. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 28(4):219-231. 
  7. Rowland, C. M., & Schweigert, P. D. (2009). Object lessons: How children with autism spectrum disorders use objects to interact with the physical and social environments. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(2), 517-527.
  8. Rowland, C., Quinn, E. & Steiner, S. (accepted) Beyond legal: Crafting high quality IEPs for children with complex communication needs. Communication Disorders Quarterly.
  9. Rowland, C., Fried-Oken, M. & Steiner, S. (2014). Communication Supports Inventory-Children & Youth, available at:   
  10. Rowland, C., Quinn, E.D., Steiner, S.A.M. & Bowser, G. (2013). Design to Learn IEP Development Guide. Available at:
  11. Rowland, C. & Parker, A. (in press). Research on communication intervention for children who are deafblind. In M. Romski & R. Sevcik (Eds.) Examining the Science and Practice of Communication Interventions for Individuals with Severe Disabilities. Baltimore: Paul Brookes.