Joanne C Volden, PhD


Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Communication Sciences & Disorders



PhD - Educational Psychology, Special Education - University of Alberta
MClSc - Communicative Disorders - University of Western Ontario
BSc - Rehabilitation Medicine, Speech Pathology & Audiology - University of Alberta

Background Information 
Academic positions
Assistant Professor, UofA, Rehabilitation Medicine: 1999-2004
Associate Professor, UofA, Rehabilitation Medicine:  2004-2008
Associate Dean, UofA, Rehabilitation Medicine:  2008-2012 

Personal Interests
Development and disorders of pragmatic language and social cognition; with a particular emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Current Research
Involved in a longitudinal study of developmental trajectories of children with ASD from first diagnosis. We have followed them to age 10 thus far.

With graduate students, investigating gender differences in social communication in ASD, and neural basis of figurative language comprehension.

Scholarly Activities

Research - Current Research Projects

  • Pathways in ASD: Phase II. Multisite longitudinal study about developmental trajectories in children with ASD. (with Pathways in ASD team; Szatmari, P., Bryson, S., Fombonne, E., Mirenda, P.,Roberts, W., Smith, I., Vaillancourt, T., Volden, J., Zwaigenbaum, L., Georgiades, S., Bennett, T., Duku, E, Thompson, A., El Sabbaugh, M).
  • Neural correlates of metaphor comprehension in high-functioning adolescents and adults with ASD (with doctoral student, B. Chouinard)
  • Examination of the communicative profile of high-functioning adults with ASD, and Listener perceptions of the quality of communication (with doctoral student, W. Mitchell)
  • Development of Number-Line Knowledge in students with and without ASD (with doctoral student C. Piatt)
  • Characterizing the communication skills of 8-9-year-olds with ASD, using the Expression, Reception and Recall Instrument (with M. SLP students, K. Engel and E. Dodd)
  • Investigating gender differences in language skills of school-aged children with ASD (with M. Sc. Rehab. Sc. student, O. Conlon)
  • Establishing transcription reliability on narratives during expository narrative task (with M. SLP students, K. Livesay, M. Conrad, K. Smith, B. Dube)
  • Establishing transcription and coding reliability on the Pragmatic Rating Scale for adults with ASD (with M. SLP students, V. Funk, D. Scher, P. Thompson)


Developmental trajectories of symptom severity and adaptive function in an inception cohort of preschool children with ASD.

Author(s): Szatmari, Bryson, Fombonne, Mirenda, Roberts, Smith, Vaillancourt, Volden, Zwaigenbaum, Waddell, Georgiades, Bennett, Elsabbaugj
Publication: Journal of the American Medical Association

Measuring pragmatic language disorder in ASD

Author(s): Volden, Phillips
Publication: American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Using the Preschool Language Scale to Characterize Language in Preschool Children with ASD

Author(s): Volden, Smith, Szatmari, Bryson, Fombonne, Mirenda, Roberts, Vaillancourt, Waddell, Zwaigenbaum, Georgiades, Bennett, Duku
Publication: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology

Service utilization in a preschool sample of children with ASD: A Canadian Snapshot

Author(s): Volden, Duku, Shepherd, Szatmari, Bryson, Fombonne, Mirenda, Roberts, Smith, Vaillancourt, Waddell, Zwaigenbaum, Georgiades, Bennett, Elsabbaugh
Publication: Pediatrics and Child Health