Charity Rowland

Dr. Rowland's interests and research involve the assessment, development and education of individuals who experience severe and/or multiple disabilities. Her work is supported entirely by federal grants.

Areas of specific interest included communicative development and cognitive development of nonspeaking children and adults. Current grants focus on research and demonstration of assessment and instructional strategies for children with deaf-blindness and for children with PDD. In addition, two grants underwrite the provision of training in alternative communication strategies for teachers, speech-language pathologists and family members across the country.

Design to Learn research is conducted in community-based settings including public schools and homes.


  • Communication development,
  • Cognitive development,
  • Severe/multiple disabilities,
  • AAC,
  • Assessment


Ph.D. University of Oklahoma: Experimental Psychology

M.S. University of Oklahoma: Experimental Psychology

B.S. New College: Experimental Psychology

Recent Publications: 

Rowland, C. (in press). Using the Online Communication Matrix to Assess Early Communicators who are Deafblind. Deafblind Perspectives.

Rowland, C. (in press). Using the Communication Matrix to Assess Expressive Skills in Early Communicators. Communication Disorders Quarterly.

Rowland, C. & Fried-Oken, M. (in press) Communication Matrix: A clinical and research assessment tool targeting children with severe communication disorders. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine.

Rowland, C. (2011). An Invitation to Use a Free Online Assessment Tool for Early Communicators who are Deafblind,. Deafblind International Review,46, 51-55.

Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Gibbons, C. (2010). Providing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Treatment to Persons with Nonfluent Progressive Aphasia. Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic, 20, 21-25 

Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Baker, G., Dixon, M., Mills, C., Schultz, D., and Oken, B. (2009). The Effect of Voice Output on AAC-Supported Conversations of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease. ACM Trans. Access. Comput. 1(3),1-11.

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. 


Current Research Support 

HD047754-01A1 (Co-Principal Investigator); 2005-2007. AAC Rehabilitation for Conversation in Dementia (NIH)

H133G0430176 (Co-Principal Investigator); 2004-2007. AAC Applications in Dementia (US Dept. of Education/NIDRR)

H324324D030001 (Principal Investigator); 2004-2008. Validation of Evidence-based Assessment Strategies to Promote Achievement in Children who are Deafblind (DOE)

H324R030099 (Principal Investigator); 2003-2006. Design for Learning (DOE)

Completed Research Support 

H324R020050 (Principal Investigator); 2002-2005. Making the Right to Communicate a Reality for Young Children with Multiple Disabilities III (DOE).

H324R90018 (Principal Investigator); 1999-2003. Making the Right to Communicate a Reality for Young Children with Multiple Disabilities II (DOE).

H324M980032 (Principal Investigator); 1999-2003. Establishing the Foundations for Self-Determination in Young Children with Low-Incidence Disabilities (DOE).

H324T990012 (Principal Investigator); 1999-2003. Learning to Learn (DOE)

Charity Rowland, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Oregon Health & Science University
Design to Learn Projects
Child Development & Rehabilitation Center
Phone: 503.494.2263
Fax: 503.494.2859