Luigi Girolametto, PhD

University of Toronto

Background
Dr. Girolametto is a Professor in the Department of Speech- Language Pathology at the University of Toronto and has a cross-appointment to the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. He received his MSc from McGill University and PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He worked as a speech-language pathologist for eight years prior to joining U of T. From 1978-86 he worked with parents of children with language disorders in The Hanen Program in Montreal. From 1986-92, Dr. Girolametto worked in the Department of Communication Disorders at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, where he developed and conducted group therapy programs for young children with language disorders. From 1992 to present, Dr. Girolametto has been teaching child language and conducting research at the University of Toronto.

He is a visiting professor at the National Research Council, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Rome, Italy since 2014. In the past, has been a visiting professor at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1998-99), University of Siena, Italy (1999 and 2010), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (2005-06). He has also been a research fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, AU from 2006-2011.

Dr. Girolametto is the recipient of three teaching awards. In 2003, he received the Healthy U of T Award from the Centre for Health Promotion at U of T for initiatives that promote the physical, mental, and spiritual health of campus community members. In 2014 he received the Mentorship Award from Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) and in the same year, the Sustained Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award from the Faculty of Medicine, U of T.

Research

Dr. Girolametto’s research is focused on three areas of pediatric speech- language pathology:

Parent-Focused Intervention

The first focus is on the effects of parent-focused intervention for young children with language disorders. His articles on this topic have been published in various journals including, Infant-Toddler Intervention, Journal of Childhood Language Development, Journal of Speech- Language-Hearing Research, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Taken together, they provide a strong basis of evidence for the efficacy of parent training for children with language disorders, late talkers, and children with developmental delays. Since 2014, Dr. Girolametto has been collaborating with colleagues at the University of Parma (Arianna Bello, Lorena Remi) and the CNR (Cristina Caselli, Daniela Onofrio to publish a manual for Italian speech-language pathologists on how to deliver a six-week parent training program focused on shared book reading. The aim of this publication is to provide Italian parents of late talkers a training program that will develop the vocabulary and combinatorial language skills of their children. The parent training program has been field-tested in Mantova and the data from this study are currently being analysed.

Language and Literacy Facilitation in Early Childhood Education Settings

His second research focus has included investigations of educator-child interactions in early childhood education settings. These studies have focused on language stimulation, the facilitation of peer interaction, and the promotion of early literacy skills. His work in this area has investigated the efficacy of professional development for educators in fostering language and literacy skills in preschoolers. Dr. Girolametto and his colleagues, Elaine Weitzman and Janice Greenberg, received a 2004 Editor’s Award from Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools (ASHA) for their article on the effects of in-service education to promote peer interaction skills in preschoolers.

Bilingualism

The third area of research focuses on bilingual language development in typical children and children with language disorders. In two ongoing studies, funded by SSHRC, he is investigating English language learning by bilingual children. One study focuses on Cantonese speakers learning English at ages 4 and 5 (all have typical language development). The second study, lead by Dr. Elina Mainela-Arnold focuses on statistical learning as a potential assessment tool for investigating language development in bilingual children with language disorders.

Professional interests
His professional interests include: language disorders, mother-child interaction, educator-child interaction, language intervention, bilingual language development.