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Kristen Secora, PhD

Assistant Professor & SLP Research Lab Director, Communication Disorders, Deaf Studies & Special Education


Kristen Secora is an assistant professor in communication disorders, deaf studies, and special education, and directs the UT SLP Research Lab. She is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She worked as an SLP in a public elementary school for three years before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee. Professor Secora has a passion for equipping pre-service teachers and speech-language pathology/audiology students with the tools to prepare them for graduate school and their professional lives.

Professional Background


Dr. Secora’s research focuses on developing tools for fostering and assessing language development for deaf and hard of hearing children, particularly those who use American Sign Language.

  • Visual perspective-taking abilities in deaf signers
  • Theory of Mind development for deaf signers

Dr. Secora additionally directs the SLP Research Lab. The SLP Research Lab's current research is focused in the following:

  • How can hearing parents best support their Deaf/Hard of Hearing child’s language and perspective-taking abilities?
  • How can SLP programs increase their students’ awareness of the cultural and linguistic diversity associated with Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) individuals, specifically those who use sign language?
  • How can SLPs and Teachers of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students best work together to support the language and communication goals of their students?
  • How can SLPs incorporate perspective-taking activities into therapy in a way that affirms all types of students, including those who are neurodivergent?

Visit the SLP Research Lab here.

Kristen Secora headshot

Contact Information

  • A216 Jane and David Bailey Education Complex, 1126 Volunteer Boulevard Knoxville TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-3435
  • E-mail: