XWin a $50 Amazon gift cardby helping us understand how you view our school and what you think of our website! It takes 5-10 minutes to complete and will help us make important decisions about how we communicate with website visitors.Take Survey Here


Anna A. Allen, PhD, MS, CCC-SLP

Anna Allen


Anna A. Allen, PhD, MS, CCC-SLP

PhD '19

What year did you start the program? 2012




What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Biological Sciences, Smith College, Northampton, MA, 1999
MS, Speech-Language Pathology, MGH Institute of Health Professions, 2003

What was your research setting?
: Howard C. Shane, PhD, CCC-SLP, Director
Setting: Center for Communication Enhancement, the Autism Language Program,
Boston Children’s Hospital

On what was your research focused?
My research focuses on the efficacy of visual augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Specifically, I am interested in the use of mobile technology platforms for improving language comprehension in children with moderate to severe ASD, and in training caregivers to implement these systems.

What was your dissertation topic?
“The Effect of Cue Type on Speed, Accuracy, and Independence of Direction-Following in Children with Moderate-Severe Autism Spectrum Disorder.” 

What publications or external presentations have you produced since the start of the program?
Allen A, Alper M, Haynes C & Shane H: "Interprofessional Development of a Survey Exploring Mobile Technology Use Among Families of Children with Autism."

Schlosser RW, O'Brien A, Yu C, Abramson J, Allen AA, Flynn S & Shane HC (October 2017): "Repurposing Everyday Technologies to Provide Just-In-Time Visual Supports to Children with Intellectual Disability and Autism: A Pilot Feasibility Study With the Apple Watch." International Journal of Developmental Disabilities.

O'Brien A, O'Brien M, Schlosser RW, Yu C, Allen AA, Flynn S, Costello J & Shane H: "Repurposing Consumer Products as a Gateway to Just-In-Time Communication." Seminars in Speech and Language.

Allen AA, Scholsser RW, Brock KL & Shane HC (June 2017): "The Effectiveness of Aided Augmented Input Techniques for Persons With Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review." Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Amanda O'Brien, Ralf W. Schlosser, Howard C. Shane, Jennifer Abramson, Anna Allen  Suzanne Flynn, Christina Yu (December 2016) "Just-in-Time Visual Supports to Children with Autism via the Apple Watch®: A Pilot Feasibility Study." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Allen, A. A. & Shane, H. C.  (2014). The evaluation of children with an autism spectrum disorder: Adaptations to accommodate a telepractice model of clinical care. Perspectives on Telepractice, 4, 42-51.  DOI: 10.1044/teles4.2.42

Allen, A. A. & Shane, H. C.  (2014). Autism spectrum disorders in the era of mobile technologies: Impact on caregivers. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 17(2), 110-114.  DOI: 10.1044/teles4.2.4210.3109/17518423.2014.882425

Allen, A. A. & Shane, H. C.  (2015, January 29). A field study: Implementing the Visual Immersion System (VIS) via telepractice. Seminar presented at the meeting of the Assistive Technology Industry Association, Orlando, FL. 

Allen, A. A., Lof, G. L., & Shane, H. C.  (2014, November 22). “Miracles” in autism treatment: Helping parents become better decision-makers. Seminar presented at the meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Orlando, FL. 

Allen, A. A., Jeans, C. E., & Ball, L. J.  (2013, November). Caregiver attitudes toward the iPad for young adults with ASD: A Survey. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Chicago, IL.

What awards have you won while in the program?
Saffran Student Scholar Award (2013): Pre-doctoral scholarship to the 8th Annual Eleanor M. Saffran Cognitive Neuroscience Conference at Temple University
Award for Continuing Education (ACE), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2014)

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The Institute's PhD program distinguishes itself in that all of the students are established, experienced clinicians,
and in its interprofessional environment. The program is designed to foster the overlap of what could be called traditional “clinical” and “research” realms.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
There are a number of reasons. Regarding career potential after graduation, I felt that I would be more uniquely marketable coming from this program vs. a more traditional program. I liked the unique dual focus on what could be called traditional “clinical” and “research” realms.

I wanted my classmates to be other established clinicians (vs. new clinicians just out of a masters program). I was impressed by the large number of faculty who are leaders in their fields. I am an alumna of the Institute and have found that it has great name recognition and regard. And I like the program’s geographic location.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to have a research-oriented career in a health care and/or academic setting, conducting research on applications of technology and caregiver training that will contribute new knowledge about communication intervention for persons with autism spectrum disorders.