Keith Nelson's interests concern cognitive developmental theory. His research involves children's acquisition and use of language and art. He also works with microcomputer-multimedia applications in educational research aimed at improving communication, art, and thinking in normal and handicapped children. Another facet of theorizing deals with the ways that cognition, emotion, and motivation are intertwined in children's learning. Another recent direction includes joint projects with scholars at The Prevention Center concerning new integrative interventions for at-risk preschool and school children that jointly advance social skills, language, emotion regulation, literacy, and motivation.
Programmatic research additionally has concerned similarities and differences in language-learning patterns across different subject groups, notably language-delayed, developmentally delayed, language-normal, autistic, and aphasic. Coupled to this are systematic experimental studies of different treatments. These sorts of systematic efforts are rare in the field of communication disorders and child language. Our lab is one of a very few that has demonstrated highly specific learning conditions under experimental control that are causally associated with language acquisition gains by both language-delayed and language-typical children. We are currently refining both theoretical accounts of the most effective learning conditions so far and new intervention procedures that move toward further improvement of language intervention effectiveness.
Nelson, K. E. (2000). Methods for stimulating and measuring lexical and syntactic advances: Why Fiffins and lobsters can tag along with other recast friends. In L. Menn & N. B. Ratner (Eds.), Methods for Studying Language Production. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nelson, K. E. (2001). Dynamic tricky mix theory suggests multiple analyzed pathways (MAPS) as an intervention approach for children with autism and other language delays. In S. von Tetzchner & J. Clibbens (Eds.), Understanding the Theoretical and Methodological Bases of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (pp. 141-159). Toronto: International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Nelson, K. E., Camarata, S. M., Welsh, J., Butkovsky, L., & Camarata, M. (1996). Effects of imitative and conversational recasting treatment on the acquisition of grammar in children with Specific Language Impairment and younger language-normal children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 39, 850-859.
Bohannon, J. N., Padgett, R. J., Nelson, K. E., & Mark, M. (1996). Useful evidence on negative evidence.Developmental Psychology, 33, 551-555.
Nelson, K. E., Heimann, M., & Tjus, T. (1997). Theoretical and applied insights from multimedia facilitation of communication skills in children with autism, deaf children, and children with motor or learning disabilities. In L. B. Adamson & M. A. Romski (Eds.), Research on Communication and Language Disorders: Contributions to Theories of Language Development (pp. 296-325). Baltimore: Brookes.
Nelson, K. E., & Welsh, J. A. (1998). Progress in multiple language domains by deaf children and hearing children: Discussions with a Rare Event Transactional Model. In R. Paul (Ed.), The Speech/Language Connection (pp.179-225). Baltimore: Brookes.
Nelson, K. E., Welsh, J., Camarata, S. M., Butkovsky, L., & Camarata, M. (1995). Available input and available language learning mechanisms for specifically language-delayed and language-normal children. First Language, 15, 1-17.
Nelson, K. E., Welsh, J., Camarata, S., Heimann, & Tjus, T. (2001). A rare event transactional dynamic model of tricky mix conditions contributing to language acquisition and varied communicative delays. In K. E. Nelson, A. Koc, & C. Johnson (Eds.), Children's Language (Vol. 11). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.