Language and literacy are the oral and written dimensions of language acquisition. These are essential foundational skills for the life-long competencies. This initiative focuses primarily on gaining a fuller understanding of how these factors affect the acquisition of language and literacy. Therefore, In addition to studying processes that underlie typical acquisition, this initiative particularly focuses on language and literacy acquisition in those who face challenges. These include “special” populations such as children and adults with disabilities (e.g. autism, cerebral palsy, hearing and vision impairments, intellectual disabilities, developmental and learning disorders, neurological conditions),persons whose environments include multiple languages or spoken dialects that differ from the dialect they are speaking or reading, and other children and adults who struggle with language and/or literacy acquisition. Moreover, it leads us to address not only basic conceptual and methodological issues in the area of language and literacy acquisition but also to strive to design and evaluate interventions that help individuals overcome the challenges of acquiring language and literacy.

The vision of the initiative is to integrate and expand Georgia State’s many individual language and literacy research endeavors, thereby building a more unified and strongly interdisciplinary program that can achieve an unparalleled national and international reputation for excellence. We believe that as an institution, Georgia State is uniquely well-positioned for this level of achievement through its existing strengths  across a range of critical areas in language and literacy, as evidenced by the lead departments and many supporting units that have worked cooperatively in shaping the current proposal. Further, recent years have seen important growth across many of these units, as evidenced by the increases in the number of faculty working in language and literacy related fields, their success procuring external research funds, and the formation and maturation of research partnerships at both individual and organizational levels within the university as well as between university groups and external entities.

Our vision is to integrate and build on our current nationally recognized individual research programs in language and literacy to create a word-class interdisciplinary research and doctoral training program at Georgia State University focused on the acquisition of language and literacy.