It’s on the tip of my tongue!
This idiom is typically exclaimed in frustration, when a person cannot think of a word. Occasionally, everyone wrestles with anomia — the inability to recall the right word.
“This can be really troubling for people who have anomia to the extent that they cannot form sentences or get their thoughts across,” said Elena Keltner, a doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders PhD program at UT Dallas.
Under the mentorship of Dr. John Hart, professor and Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience, Keltner conducts research that aims to determine the neural correlates behind a person’s search for semantic object memories — words or concepts in the brain. Using electroencephalogram (EEG), Keltner monitors a research participant’s brain and measures the electronic signals that occur when a person retrieves a word from semantic memory.
“If we can figure out how our brain does this normally, we can figure out what goes wrong in our brain when word-finding difficulties occur,” Keltner said. “If we can do that, we can use the research to help people clinically, to create speech therapies backed by research evidence.”
In speech-language therapy, when a patient struggles to recall a word such as “pen,” a speech-language pathologist may cue the patient by providing a “feature,” or descriptor, like “ink.” Keltner is working to determine the kinds of features that best and most quickly help patients recall words. Her goal is to translate this research into a speech therapy app that assists patients with their semantic retrieval.
“Elena’s clinical training in speech-language pathology combined with the neuroscience-based training she will receive as a graduate student provide her with a novel approach that will enable making unique and impactful advances in patient communication,” Hart said.
Keltner hopes her research may be used to treat adults with anomia caused by conditions including stroke, brain injury or other communication disorders.
“It kills me when people can’t talk to their children or grandchildren,” Keltner said. “I want to help people tell their stories and communicate with their loved ones.”
“ I want to help people tell their stories and communicate with their loved ones. ”-– Elena Keltner, doctoral student, Communication Sciences and Disorders PhD Program
Stories to Inspire
- Researchers to Study How Fathers Influence Children’s Language Development
Researchers at the Callier Center and Center for Children and Families have joined with colleagues from across the country to investigate how father-child interactions influence language development and literacy achievement in low-income ethnic-minority communities.
- BBS Revises Academic Areas, Bolsters Faculty Roster
Dr. Steven Small, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, welcomed a group of new tenured and tenure-track faculty members and implemented a reorganized departmental structure designed to align the school with elite institutions across the country.
- Alumna Named New Executive Director of the Callier Center
Angela Shoup BS’89, MS’92, PhD’94 has been selected as the new executive director of the Callier Center.
- Dr. Thomas Campbell, Longtime Callier Center Executive Director, Set To Retire
Dr. Thomas Campbell will retire at the end of August, leaving behind a 14-year success story of improved patient care, nationally ranked student education and a vigorous research enterprise.
- Telehealth Adds Needed Touch to Callier Center’s Care, Clinical Training
Learn how Callier is providing telehealth services to patients, as well as facilitating the clinical experience needed by graduate students to complete their degrees.
- Crystal Charity Ball Grant to Callier Gives Nonverbal Children a Voice
The Crystal Charity Ball selected Callier to receive $997,996 to benefit the Pediatric Special Connections Project.
- Graduate Programs Ranked Among Best in Country by U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report ranked UT Dallas’ audiology program No. 2 (tied with the University of Iowa) and the speech-language pathology program No. 10 (tied with UT Austin).
- New Callier Center Test Catches Cause of Balance Issues
After a recent program expansion, the Callier Center is one of the few facilities in North Texas that has the capability to provide a full battery of tests for problems associated with dizziness, balance or uncontrollable eye movements.
- Hope Story: Stefanie and Aaron Conley
Stefanie and Aaron Conley established a planned gift of $150,000 to be used by the Callier Center director to propel Callier’s mission and leave a lasting impact.
- Research Story: Dr. Edward Lobarinas
Callier researchers aim to enhance the listening experience of hearing-impaired children and adults who attend musical and theater events in Dallas.
- Training Story: Elena Keltner
Through her research, Elena Keltner aims to help treat adults with word-finding difficulties caused by stroke, brain injury or other communication disorders.
- Meet Isabella
At age 3, Isabella Gonzalez put her ear to the TV speakers to hear cartoons. When her family’s insurance denied coverage for hearing services, generous donors bridged the gap.
- Giving Story: Northwood Woman’s Club
To commemorate its 50th year, Northwood Woman’s Club selected the Callier Center as its sole beneficiary and raised $250,000, which was matched by other gift funds at the Callier Center to create a $500,000 endowment.
- Hope Story: Crystal Charity Ball
In 2016, the Crystal Charity Ball awarded the Callier Center a grant for $630,000 to provide hearing evaluations, hearing aids and three years of follow-up services to approximately 360 children from low-income families. Through Crystal Charity’s generosity…
- Dr. Jun Wang, Callier Center researcher
The Callier Center gives a voice to people who don’t have one, and the research of Dr. Jun Wang is a core part of that mission. Wang is developing a silent speech processor, in which a person’s lips and tongue movements will be recognized by a sensor and then translated into spoken words. When completed,...
- David Tolstyka, audiology graduate student
At age 15, David Tolstyka suffered from an autoimmune inner ear disease. Within three months, he went from normal hearing to profound bilateral deafness. “There’s an existential dread to losing a sense,” Tolstyka said. “It’s something that no one can prepare for.” Tolstyka underwent cochlear implant surgery in Michigan. When his family moved to Texas,...
- Addy DeWolfe
Two-and-a-half-year-old Addy DeWolfe loves to sing “Wheels on the Bus,” but when she was born, she failed her newborn hearing screening and was later diagnosed with permanent hearing loss in both ears. “The day we found out she was deaf, I was pretty devastated,” said Jennifer DeWolfe, Addy’s mother. At 14 months old, Addy received...
- Giving Story: The Meadows Foundation and Ruth and Ken Altshuler
To honor longtime Callier champions The Meadows Foundation and Ruth and Dr. Ken Altshuler, the clinical wings located inside the Callier Center Expansion at The University of Texas at Dallas were recently named the Meadows Foundation Wing and the Altshuler Wing. “Al Meadows invested in Callier from the beginning…
A collaboration between Callier and RoboKind, Robots4Autism™ uses a humanoid robot to deliver research-based lessons that teach social behaviors to children with autism.
- Meet Cole
The people at the Callier Center make me feel like I don't need to go through difficult times anymore.
- Meet Ashish
When I was in second grade, when I first got hearing aids, I could finally hear the teacher...Thank you Callier. You are my HEAR O.
- Meet Amy
Before, I felt abnormal. I didn't feel like who I was. Coming here, it was more like God sent me here. This is what I needed.
- Meet Graycie
Because of Callier, I can hear, and they just keep my super ears [hearing aids] going, so I don’t miss a thing.
- Meet Kourtnei
Kourtnei received a bone-conducting hearing aid and benefited from hearing services.
- Meet Jack
I used to go to Callier two times a week, and we used to do speech class. Two years ago, they said I’m done, because I have perfect speech.
- Meet Jackson
Diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, Jackson has cochlear implants that he calls his “magic ears.”
See for Yourself: Callier’s Cochlear Implant Camp
Watch the video of Cochlear Implant Camp, where children who have cochlear implants receive listening and speech-language therapy while participating in fun camp activities.
Callier Center Honors The Meadows Foundation, Celebrates a Longstanding Relationship
Learn about the relationship between The Meadows Foundation and the Callier Center that dates back to the formation of both organizations.