Laura DeThorne

Photo of Laura DeThorne
Laura DeThorne
Chair and Professor
(269) 387-8045
4470 Health and Human Services Building, Mail Stop 5355
Mailing address: 
Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5355 USA
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Research interests: 
  • Models of disability
  • Autism
  • Multimodal communication

After working as a speech-language pathologist, Laura DeThorne received her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science in 2002. She served as faculty at the University of Illinois for 13 years, including administrative appointments as the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Head of Speech and Hearing Science. She came to Western Michigan University and became the chair of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in 2018.

Dr. DeThorne’s research examines the multiple factors that shape children’s communicative competence in everyday contexts, with a particular interest in the social communication practices related to autism, childhood apraxia of speech, and use of augmentative and alternative communication. She has served as an associate editor for the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and has reviewed grants for a variety of national and international agencies. Her work has been funded by NICHD, U.S. Department of Education and private foundations. Dr. DeThorne particularly enjoys student mentoring and was recently invited to serve as a mentor for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Pathways Program. She has also received awards for excellence in both graduate and undergraduate teaching.