April M Yorke (April), PhD
 Title: Assistant Professor
 Dept: Health Sciences
 Office: IM 335
 Phone: 216-687-6994
 Email: a.yorke@csuohio.edu
 Address: 2121 Euclid Ave. IM 335, Cleveland, OH 44115

Courses Taught

Publications

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Research Keywords:
Complex communication needs, CCN, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, AAC, literacy, reading, writing, children, adults, developmental disabilities, acquired disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Rare genetic disorders, Metabolic disorders, Intellectual disabilities.
 
Education:
Ph.D., Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 2017
M.S., Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 2003
B.S., Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, 2001
 
Brief Bio:
April M. Yorke, PhD, CCC-SLP has been an Assistant Professor in the Speech and Hearing Program, School of Health Sciences since 2015.  Dr. Yorke teaches courses in Phonetics, Speech Sound Disorders, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

April has a life-long love of working with individuals with severe disabilities. Since 1995, April has worked individuals with severe and complex communication needs due to developmental or acquired disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, stroke, rare genetic disorders, etc).  She uses technology and other augmentative and alternative communication strategies to help individuals with little or no verbal speech to communicate.

For her research, Dr. Yorke spends her life creating innovative strategies to help individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) to learn to read. It is estimated that 90% of individuals with CCN are graduating high school without functional literacy skills.  It is Dr. Yorke¿s personal mission to change those outcomes. With her amazing team of research assistants (undergrad and graduate students), Dr. Yorke goes out into low income schools and provides intervention to approximately 20 students with CCN multiple times a week. Recently, she has also begun researching interventions to improve literacy outcomes for young typically developing children (pre-k to 1st grade) who are at moderate to high risk for literacy deficits.

Prior to coming to Cleveland State, Dr. Yorke spent 20+ years working with individuals with severe disabilities. Dr. Yorke worked with individuals with severe disabilities in the homes, schools, hospitals, and communities through her undergraduate years and grew to love this population. These phenomenal experiences lead April to Penn State University for her MS Program where she received highly specialized training as part of an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Training Grant from the US Dept. of Education. In addition to receiving the standard speech-language pathology coursework, April completed 3 AAC-specific courses and 2 AAC-specific research projects. It was here that April first discovered the vital importance of literacy for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. After receiving her MS, April served as a speech-language pathologist and augmentative communication/assistive technology specialist in the schools and at a post-acute brain injury rehab for 9 years. By then, April had been working with individuals with severe disabilities for 17 years. She decided it was time to return for a PhD and to train the next generation of speech-language pathologists. April returned to Penn State University again for her PhD program and began a new journey as a researcher, creating the next generation interventions to improve literacy outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs.  She couldn¿t be happier with her path.
 
Honors and Awards:
2020             Textbook Hero Award. Cleveland State University Student Government Association. Given to a faculty member who replaced a traditional textbook with an open alternative and whose efforts had a high impact on textbook costs, classroom engagement, and student achievement.
 
Creative and Activities:
Presentations¿ State, National, and International

2021 Yorke, A. Music-Infused Explicit Instruction for Teaching Foundational Literacy Skills to Individuals who require AAC, their peers with intellectual disability, and low SES children who are at moderate-to-severe risk for literacy delays. Ohio School Speech Pathology Educational Audiology Coalition (OSSPEAC) Conference: Columbus, Ohio. (July 2021)

2019 Yorke, A. Music-Infused Explicit Instruction for Teaching Foundational Literacy Skills to Individuals with Complex Communication Needs. American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference: Orlando, FL.

2019 Yorke, A., Pukys, N., Sternad, E., Grecol, C., Roth, A. Reading-related phonological processing interventions for individuals who use AAC: A systematic review. Paper presented at the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association (OSHLA) Conference: Columbus, Ohio.

2016 Yorke, A. & Light, J. Reading-related phonological processing interventions for individuals who use AAC: A systematic review. Paper presented at International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference: Toronto, ON, Canada.

2015 Yorke, A. & Light, J. Effects of Explicit Instruction During Shared Book Reading on Receptive Vocabulary of Children with CCN. Paper presented at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention: Denver, Colorado.

2014 Yorke, A. & Light, J. Reading-related phonological processing interventions for individuals who use AAC: A systematic review. Accepted for presentation at International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference: Lisbon, Portugal.

2014 Yorke, A. Understanding Newborn Screenings and Treatable Metabolic Disorders: Helping to Prevent disabilities and improve outcomes, ¿One Foot at a Time.¿ Accepted for presentation at International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference: Lisbon, Portugal.
 
Teaching Areas:
Cleveland State University: Speech and Hearing Program, School of Health Sciences

Graduate Coursework
     Comprehensive Exam  (Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021)
     Phonological and Articulation Disorders/ Speech Sound Disorders (Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020)
     Clinical Supervision (Fall 2017)
     Independent Research (Fall 2018, Fall 2019)
     Directed Study (Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
     Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Spring 2020, Spring 2021)

Undergraduate Coursework
         AAC and Literacy Intervention Research¿Speech Seminar (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Summer 2018, Fall 2018,
                Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021)
Phonetics (Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
        Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication¿Speech Seminar/Special Topics in HSC
               (Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021)
       Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders (Fall 2016, Spring 2017)
       Independent Study in HSC (Fall 2019, Spring 2020)


Pennsylvania State University: Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Undergraduate Coursework
        Developmental Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Language Disorders (Spring 2015, Fall 2015,
                 Spring 2016)
      Independent Study: Mentoring Teaching and Research Assistants (Spring 2015, Fall 2015)
 
Professional Affiliations:
2003- American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)
           Special Interest Division 12: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
           Special Interest Division 2: Neurology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders
 
University Service:
Cleveland State University
      2021 ¿ 2023 Strategic Plan Committee, School of Health Sciences.

      2020 ¿ 2021 Search Committee for Faculty Position in Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program,
                                College of Science and Health Professions.

     2020 ¿ 2021 Equity Gap Taskforce, College of Science and Health Professions.

     2020 ¿ 2021      Graduate Admissions Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2020 ¿ 2021 Library Committee, University Level.

     2020 ¿ 2021     Anti-racism Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2020 ¿ 2021     Strategic Plan Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2020 ¿ 2021     Curriculum Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2019 ¿ 2020 Search Committee for Associate Dean for Curriculum and Operations,
                                College of Science and Health Professions.

     2019 ¿ 2020 Library Committee, University Level.

     2019 ¿ 2020      Curriculum Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2017 ¿ 2019 Accreditation Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

     2017 ¿ 2018 Faculty Mentoring Committee, University Level.

      2018 ¿ 2019      Faculty Search Committee, School of Health Sciences.

      2018 ¿ 2019      New Faculty Onboarding Subcommittee, School of Health Sciences

      2016 ¿ 2017      Graduate Admissions Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

      2016 ¿ 2017      Curriculum Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

      2016 ¿ 2017     Active Learning Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.

      2016 ¿ 2017     Strategic Plan Education Subcommittee, School of Health Professions.

      2016 ¿ 2017 Distinguished Speaker Committee, Speech and Hearing Program.


Pennsylvania State University
      2015- 2016 Course Curriculum Review Committee. Department of Communication    Sciences and Disorders
 
Professional Service:
2019- American Speech-Language Hearing Foundation University Giving Program Ambassador

2019- Peer reviewer for Journal articles, Augmentative and Alternative Communication

2019- Peer reviewer for Journal articles, EHearsay


2018 Peer reviewer for Journal articles, Universal Access in the Information Society.

2016 Conference Program Reviewer, International Society of Augmentative and Alternative
                Communication Conference (Toronto, Canada).
 
Community Service:
2017 ¿ present YouTube Video Series: Teaching Your Children Foundational Literacy Skills in the Home
2017 ¿  present Cleveland Metro School District: AAC and Literacy Interventions.
2017 ¿ 2018         Avon Local School District: Literacy Consultation.
2017 ¿ 2018         Avon Community: Parent Literacy Training.
2016 ¿ 2017         Cleveland Metro School District: AAC and Literacy Evaluations.
2016 ¿ 2017         Avon Local School District: AAC Consultation.
 
Research Grants:
2020 $1000. Cleveland State University¿Textbook Affordability Grant.

2020 $5000. Cleveland State University¿Undergraduate Summer Research Award. Raising the Bar for Literacy¿   Musical Literacy Interventions for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs and At-Risk Kindergartners due to Low SES.

2019 (application) $10,000. American Speech-Language Hearing Foundation¿ New Investigator¿s Grant. The Effects of Multi-Sensory Music-Infused Explicit Instruction on the Decoding of CVC Words in Sentences for Children with Complex Communication Needs and their Peers with Intellectual Disability.

2019 $4500. Cleveland State University¿Undergraduate Summer Research Award. Musical Literacy Interventions for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs and Typically Developing Children who are at Severe Risk for Literacy Delays Due to Low Socio-Economic Status.

2018 $238, 441. Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant. (Department representative on a large grant to the School of Health Sciences.)

2018 $5000. Cleveland State University¿Undergraduate Summer Research Award. Literacy for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs.

2018 $1204. Leap Frog / V Tech Electronics Equipment Donation.