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Reuterskiöld received her doctorate in medical science from Lund University, Sweden. Also a speech-language pathologist, she is an associate professor and the chair of the department of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University. Reuterskiöld’s 2017 Emerging Research Grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International.

Successful literacy is critical for a child’s development. I am fascinated by the development of language and communication skills in children and how some of the oral language skills are linked to later literacy learning. Decoding written words is mostly dependent on the child’s processing of speech sounds, requiring a certain level of awareness of speech sounds and words.

If the benefits of early cochlear implantation support the development of central auditory processing skills and phonological awareness, children with cochlear implants (CIs) would be expected to acquire phonological awareness skills comparable to children with typical hearing. However, past research has generated conflicting results, which my project will attempt to remedy through investigating rhyme recognition skills and vocabulary acquisition in children who received CIs early in life. We hope to shed light on the importance of auditory processing during a child’s first years of life for developing strong literacy skills.

I grew up in Sweden, learning several languages, and I have always been intrigued by how language and communication works, how languages differ, and how children learn to become proficient in their native language in a few years after birth.

My Master’s thesis at Boston University was on the topic of auditory comprehension in individual with aphasia (the inability to understand or express language) and whether the emotional content of words facilitate comprehension compared to neutral words; I found a significantly better performance from emotional words. I really liked the research process, continuously asking questions and learning new things. My paper was published in Cortex, and after that I was hooked and wanted to continue doing research.

I have had several different jobs. I started out as a physical education teacher and have also worked as a tour guide and a ski guide in Europe, as well as a speech-language pathologist in clinical settings. I like being in a profession where I may make a difference in someone else’s life. I also
value being able to engage with students at all levels, to watch their excitement about findings from our studies.

A novel I wrote is almost finished so I don’t want to say more just yet. We will see if someone wants to publish it—if not, it will be a story for my family! I like to cook and I am an amazing baker. I make better Swedish cinnamon buns than anyone else, if I may say so myself.

Christina Reuterskiöld, Ph.D.’s grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International. We want to thank the Royal Arch Masons for their ongoing commitment to research in the area of central auditory processing disorders.