Working across disciplines
Lanter describes her work - as a clinician, teacher and researcher - as 'strongly situated within a larger, cross-disciplinary context and extending beyond the bounds of speech language pathology."
"Maladaptive communication is communication, but troubled children just can't find the words or conventional ways to share what is going on. We try and understand them and work towards giving them a conventional way to communicate," she said. "We look at their culture, age, community and developmental stage for clues because it is more than just a speech thing."
Since her arrival at RU in 2008, Lanter has published, presented and engaged in research with 18 different RU students. Her research is based upon a solid foundation established as a doctoral candidate at UNC Chapel Hill during which she won several awards, including the James J. Gallagher Dissertation Award, Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award and a Smith Graduate Research Grant.
Her research efforts at RU have resulted in four peer-reviewed publications as first author. They have appeared in Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, a journal of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, a cross-disciplinary journal for teachers, trainers and parents of persons with autism or other pervasive developmental disabilities among others. She has contributed a chapter to the upcoming fourth edition of the Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders and made four oral presentations and 12 poster presentations at peer-refereed state, national and international professional conferences in the dynamic speech pathology field. Her article, "Promoting Literacy in student with ASD: The basics for the SLP" is frequently listed among the 50 most-read within its respective journal according to the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and her article in this journal titled "Emergent Literacy in Children with Autism: an Exploration of Developmental and Contextual Dynamic Processes' was identified as a key research article by the online Psychology Progress.
Lanter's grant proposals have garnered over $100,000 in funding from sources like the Virginia Department of Education and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
In a challenging field
"The field is more than helping children say their L's and R's," said Ken Cox, Dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services. "Dr. Lanter's expertise crosses into language development and literacy and her strength is her experience working with children with autism and Asperger's syndrome . . . as big a challenge as any faced by a practitioner. She gives the students in our program a distinct advantage in preparing them to work in a challenging environment."
To Lanter, it is ironic that she is in the field. She recalls an interview for a SLP job in which she was confidently responding to queries until her questioner posed a question about working with autistic children. Lanter immediately said, "No, I can't do that. It is too frustrating and I feel powerless to help."
The admission turned out to be a defining moment. Shortly thereafter, Lanter embraced the challenge and declared autism to be the subject of her doctorate.
"It is so challenging to accept the idea that there are no right answers," she said. "We don’t have the disabilities that our patients have, so our understanding of them has to be more than just prescriptive."
Empathy and compassion are vital for a practitioner in the field and she cautions against the urge to think there will be a clean, simple answer to the complex, confusing problem that confronts the victim, the practitioner and the family.
"I am helping people get how to get it," she said of her work in the field and in the classroom. "Experience is the best teacher and through research and practical experience I want my students to get it intellectually and emotionally."
Winners of the Outstanding Faculty Award will be honored at a special ceremony at the State Capitol in February.
Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,900 students. RU serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 191-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 69 degree programs at the undergraduate level, and 21 master's programs and three doctoral programs at the graduate level. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford participates in 19 varsity sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005, the university has secured approval and funding for nearly $300 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.
Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.