Welcome to my website

Picture by Suzan Zanders

Picture by Suzan Zanders (Radboud University)

I am an Assistant Professor (0.8 fte) at the Centre for Language Studies and I teach various courses offered by the Department of Language and Communication, Radboud University.

I am involved in several research projects, most of which relate to language disorders and their rehabilitation. I have a strong background in clinical rehabilitation of people with acquired language disorders. As such, I have a natural preference for applied research based on theoretical insights.

Most of my research projects are team projects, in which I collaborate not only with CLS colleagues, but also with researchers of the Language Function and Dysfunction group of the Donders Institute as well as with former colleagues from the Sint Maartenskliniek rehabilitation centre in Nijmegen.

My three main research interests: 

1.   Functional communication: effectiveness and efficiency

The ultimate goal of language therapy is to improve verbal functional communication, which can be measured with the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT; Blomert et al., 1995). In collaboration with my co-authors, I improved the construct validity of the ANELT. We developed a quantitative measure for this test which not only allows an objective measure of verbal efficiency, but also allows a more sensitive measure of changes in verbal effectiveness over time (Ruiter et al., 2011). We are currently seeking to improve the clinical applicability of these measures.

2.  Compensation for chronic aphasia: In-person and online therapy

Agrammatic speakers encounter problems with the production of well-formed sentences. Sentence production is slow, effortful and errorful. The rationale of the Dutch and adapted Reduced Syntax Therapy (REST; Ruiter, 2008) resides in providing these speakers with a compensation strategy. It enhances a normal—but previously infrequently used—linguistic operation of the dominant hemisphere: the production of reduced utterances called ellipses (e.g., problem solved). REST was found to be effective in improving functional communication, either administered as in-person therapy (Ruiter et al., 2010, 2013) or via an e-health platform (Ruiter et al., 2016). End of 2018 the Language in Interaction consortium released an extended and improved online version of this therapy called SimpTell and we are currently conducting a pilot-study on the effectiveness of the therapeutic app (see https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/7855).

3.   Mechanisms underlying language improvement in aphasia

As it is important to set attainable goals for aphasia therapy I (co-)investigate the mechanisms underlying behavioural plasticity in stroke-related aphasia. Firstly, I participate in a research project of dr. Vitória Piai on language reorganisation in chronic aphasia through right hemisphere recruitment. Secondly, I am a co-investigator in the ‘REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after Stroke’ project (RELEASE; chief investigator: Prof Marian Brady, Glasgow Caledonian University). In her doctoral studies Saskia Mooijman seeks to explicate the relationship between executive functioning and language performance, and its role in the language improvement of mono- and bilingual persons with aphasia (under supervision of Professor Rob Schoonen, Professor Ardi Roelofs and dr. Marina Ruiter).

Current as of  19 December 2020

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