Pumpki Lei Su

Pumpki Lei Su

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Language development and caregiver-child interaction in children with autism and bilingual children; language assessment in bilingual children.

Tags: Communication Sciences and Disorders autism language development SLH-Faculty Callier-Faculty Speech and Language Disorders Child language Bilingualism

Professional Preparation

PhD - Hearing and Speech Sciences
Vanderbilt University
MS - Interdisciplinary Science in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
Vanderbilt University
BS - Communication Sciences and Disorders; Linguistics
Northwestern University

Research Areas

Dr. Su’s research focuses on language development and caregiver-child interaction in children with autism spectrum disorder and bilingual children. Theoretically guided by the Transactional Model of Language Development, she focuses on the influence of child-level factors, input-level factors, and their interaction on language learning in her research. She uses various methods in her work, including observational methods, eye-tracking, naturalistic home language recordings, and language sample analysis to understand how children with different linguistic experiences acquire language.

The long-term goal of her work is to (a) identify malleable aspects of caregiver-child interaction that optimize language outcomes in diverse groups of children, and (b) develop culturally and linguistically sensitive tools to assess language and identify language disorders in children from diverse backgrounds.


Su, P. L., Rojas, R., & Iglesias, A. (2022). Dual language profiles in Spanish-Speaking English Learners. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65(7), 2608-2628.

2022 - publications
Sheng, L., Wang, D., Walsh, C., Heisler, L., Li, X., & Su, P. L. (2021). The bilingual home language boost through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 12(July), 1-10.

2021 - publications
 Su, P. L., Rogers, S. J., Estes, A., & Yoder, P. (2020). The role of early social motivation in explaining variability in functional language in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 25(1), 244-257. 

2020 - publications
 Koegel, L. K., Bryan, K. M., Su, P. L., Vaidya, M., & Camarata, S. (2020). Definitions of nonverbal and minimally verbal in research for Autism: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50(8), 2957-2972. 

2020 - publications
 Su, P. L., Castle, G., & Camarata, S. M. (2019). Cross-modal generalization of receptive and expressive vocabulary in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments, 4, 1-18. 

2019 - publications
 Su, P. L., & Roberts, M. Y. (2019). Quantity and quality of parental utterances and responses to children with hearing loss prior to cochlear implant. Journal of Early Intervention, 41(4), 366-387. 

2019 - publications


Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2022–Present]
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Delaware [2020–2022]
Clinical Fellow in Speech-Language Pathology
Late Talkers Consulting [2018–2020]


Word learning from infant-directed speech in bilingual children
2022/01 Research on early language development has focused disproportionally on monolingual children. Given the prevalence of bilingualism worldwide and in the US, more research is urgently needed to generate language development theories that address diverse language learners and to better support language development in bilingual children. This study focuses on word learning from infant-directed speech (IDS; also known as "motherese"/"parenthese"/"babytalk") in Spanish-English bilingual toddlers and incorporates eye-gaze measures and all-day recording data. 

Word learning from infant-directed speech in autistic toddlers
This study focuses on word learning from infant-directed speech (IDS; also known as "motherese"/"parenthese"/"babytalk") in autistic toddlers. Similar to the project above, this study uses eyegaze methods and all-day recording data. 
Narrative sample analysis in Mandarin-English bilingual children
2022/08 This project aims to develop transcription and scoring protocol for narrative samples from Mandarin-English bilingual children. 


Word Learning from Infant-Directed Speech in Bilingual Children
- ASHFoundation [2021/06–2023/06]