Life Span Institute - Profile

Steven F. Warren, Ph.D.

Steven F. Warren is University Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders, and an Investigator in the Life Span Institute. He was associated with Vanderbilt University's John F. Kennedy Center for Human Development for 18 years as a Professor of Special Education and Psychology and Deputy Director before coming to the University of Kansas in 2000. He served as Director of the Life Span Institute from 2001 to 2008, and Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies from 2007-2014. Professor Warren is internationally recognized for his research on language development and intervention in children and leadership in the field of developmental disabilities. He has conducted extensive research on early communication and language intervention approaches and has published more than 170 papers, chapters and books on these and related topics.

Professor Warren's major research interests are in the areas of early communication and language development and intervention and the prevention of intellectual disabilities. Over the past 35 years he has investigated the effects of a variety of different communication and language intervention strategies intended for use with children three years and younger with developmental delays.

This research has focused on the development of intervention models (i.e. milieu language intervention, prelinguistic communication intervention) and longitudinal evaluation of these and other approaches, and most recently the interaction of early intervention and specific etiologies (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Downs syndrome). His research has been funded since 1977 by NIH (NICHD and NIDCD) and by the U.S. Department of Education.

In collaboration with KU colleague Nancy Brady, he is conducting a longitudinal study on the role of maternal responsivity in the development of children with fragile X syndrome. This study is part of a larger investigation of Family Adaptation to FXS under supported by NICHD and represents a collaboration of investigators at the University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin.

Major Honors

Edgar Doll Award (2013), American Psychological Association Division 33 in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities

Lifetime Achievement Research Award (2008), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Theodore D. Tjossem Research Award (1999), National Down Syndrome Congress

Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1993

Recipient, 2003 Century Award, Region V, American Association on Mental Retardation ( This award was given to 34 individuals in this region for significant contributions to the field over the past 100 years.)

Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1993

Fellow, American Association on Mental Retardation, 1992

NIH Service

Member, Behavioral and Biobehavioral Processes Study Section, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group, 2002-2007 (Chair, 2006-07)

Member, Human Development and Aging Study Section 3, Center for Scientific Review, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1997-1999

Member, Biobehavioral and Behavioral Processes Study Section 6, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1999-2001

2003 - 2007 Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, NIH Autism Research Networks (CPEA/STAART)

Selected Publications

1. Warren, S.F., Fey, M.E., Yoder, P.J. (2007). Differential treatment intensity research: A missing link to creating optimally effective communication interventions. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13 (1), 70-77.

2. Warren, S.F. & Brady, N.C. (2007). The role of maternal responsivity in the development of children with intellectual disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13(4), 330-338.

3. Warren, S.F. Fey, M.E., Finestack, L. H., Brady, N.C., Bredin-Oja, S.L., & Fleming, K. (2008). A Randomized Trial of Longitudinal Effects of Low Intensity Responsivity Education/Prelinguistic Milieu Teaching. Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 51 (April), 451-470.

4. Warren, S.F., Brady, N.C., Sterling, A.M., Fleming, K., & Marquis, J. (2010). Maternal responsivity predicts language development in children with fragile X syndrome. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities , 115(1), 63-84.

5. Warren, S.F., Gilkerson, S., Richards, J.A., Oller, D.K., Xu, D., Umit, Y., & Gray, S. (2010). What automated vocal analysis reveals about the vocal production and language learning environment of young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 40, 555-569.

6. Oller, D.K., Niyogi, P., Gray, S., Richards, J., Gilkerson, J., Xu, D., Yapanel, U., Warren, S.F. (2010). Automated vocal analysis of naturalistic recordings for children with autism, language delay, and typical development. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, (201003882) published on line, July 19th.

7. Fey, M.E., Yoder, P.J., Warren, S.F. & Bredin-Oja, S. (2013). Is More Better? Milieu communication: teaching in toddlers with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research, 56, 679-693.

Steven F. Warren, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies

Professor, Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders, University of Kansas

Courtesy Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center

Ph.D., University of Kansas, Child and Developmental Psychology, 1977

M.A., University of Kansas, Human Development, 1975

B.G.S., University of Kansas, Psychology and Human Development (with honors), 1974


The University of Kansas
Dole Human Development Center
1000 Sunnyside Avenue, 3045
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7555

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