Graduate student Melody Zambriski has undertaken a research study that involves investigating the impact of rhyming books on language-impaired children.

by Cecil Harris

Melody Zambriski has undertaken a research study that involves investigating the impact of rhyming books on language-impaired children. One group will simply have the books read to them; the other group will have the rhymes reinforced through other activities after the reading. Before and after each reading, the children will undergo an electroencephalogram (EEG), which involves attaching flat metal disks, or electrodes, to the scalp to measure electrical activity in the brain.

“My hypothesis is the children who receive extended intervention [after the reading] will have more of a grasp of their rhyming awareness,” said Zambriski, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Speech-Language Sciences and Disorders at Adelphi University. “By using EEG, we’ll see if there is a neurophysiological component.”

Zambriski, who has worked in literacy for 18 years, will conduct her study under the supervision of Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Ph.D., director of the Neurophysiology in Speech Language Pathology Lab (NSLP Lab) at the Hy Weinberg Center for Communication Disorders and newly appointed chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“Melody’s study will identify the most effective methods to promote preliteracy skills in children with language impairment,” said Dr. Khamis-Dakwar.

This past summer, Zambriski traveled with fellow Ph.D. candidate Veronica Jimenez-Harrison to Eugene, Oregon—at Adelphi’s expense—for a week of intensive EEG training at Electrical Geodesics, Inc. Joseph Hoffman, Ph.D. ’14, also had EEG skiils training at Adelphi’s expense before earning his doctoral degree in speech-language sciences and disorders.

Zambriski said the study requires 30 children. She’ll find them through recommendations from supervisors of other programs at the Hy Weinberg Center and recruitment flyers in schools. Currently, she’s working on the last of three qualifying papers she must write before beginning work on her dissertation.

Zambriski, a breast cancer survivor, returned to Adelphi after being away for 2 1/2 years to undergo treatment and to care for her 7 1/2-year-old twin daughters, Mackenzie and Hailey. Having received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a master’s degree from LIU Post, she feels at home in Adelphi’s Ph.D. program.

“Adelphi is really great, really collegial,” she said. “Professors like Dr. Khamis-Dakwar are amazing. They go above and beyond to give us the best training, and I love the clinical aspect of the program.”

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