Studies language impairment in children and adults

Christina Samuelsson is hoping to make life easier for children and adults with communicative disabilities. Her research ranges from the importance of gestures for children with developmental language disorders to digital conversational support in elderly care homes.

Christina Samuelsson
Professor of Speech and Language Pathology Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.

What are you researching?

“I’m a specialist in speech and language pathology (SLP), researching communicative disabilities in adults with dementia or aphasia and children with language disorders or cochlear implants. Our aim is to map the consequences of these disabilities and to improve the help that these patients receive and the methodology of SLP assessments. A perspective running through our research is ecological validity: to base our work on the patients’ everyday life and experiences.”

How are you researching this?

“An important line of our research on dementia is digital communication support. Amongst other things, we have shown how tablets can be used to support communication in care homes for the elderly. We also aim to examine how digital lifestories could be used in elderly care instead of today’s analogue stories, which are often sheets of paper stuffed into a folder."

"Our research on children is of a more mapping nature. There is still much we don’t know about developmental language disorders, or about the difficulties such children have in school – how much worse their grades are, even how much they’re helped by us pathologists. We’re also particularly interested in the link between gestures and early language development. Hopefully, gesture assessment will one day be included in SLP assessments.”

What is your objective?

“I want to help people with commu- nicative disorders to better communication and to be less restricted in their daily lives by their impairments. The most important thing I do, I think, is that I help to shift the focus of SLP onto things that are of practical significance to the patients. Today we’re better placed than ever before, not least due to easily accessible video technology in smartphones, to see what our patients struggle with on a day-to-day basis.”

Christina Samuelsson

Professor of Speech and Language Pathology at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology

Christina Samuelsson was born in Östergötland in 1966. She took her degree in speech and language pathology at Gothenburg University in 1989, after which she worked as a pathologist at Västervik Hospital. Samuelsson earned her PhD at Lund University in 2004 and did postdoc research at Sheffield University, UK, in the autumn of 2005.

Since 2003 she has been affiliated to Linköping University (LiU) as a teacher and researcher. Christina Samuelsson was made docent in 2012. In 2020, she was promoted to professor at LiU, where she now works as a visiting professor as of 1 July 2021.

Christina Samuelsson was appointed Professor of Speech and Language Pathology at Karolinska Institutet on 1 October 2020.

Text: Anders Nilsson
First published in the booklet From Cell to Society 2021