Steven F. Warren, Ph.D

Steven F. Warren, Ph.D.

Steven F. Warren

Steven F. Warren is University Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders and an Investigator with the Institute of Life Span Studies at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Warren’s research has focused throughout his career on communication and language development in children with developmental delays and disabilities. Much of this work has focused on the effects of different types of communication and language interventions as well as the way that children with specific neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. Down syndrome) respond to different interventions. Over the past 20 years he and his colleagues have conducted several randomized clinical trials on the effects of these interventions on children’s language development. In 2004 he began working with an interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers on the development of LENA, a breakthrough technology that automatically captures and analyzes huge amounts of child language interaction data in any language.  Dr. Warren co-directs an ongoing study on the impact of parenting on the development of children with fragile X syndrome (the most common known genetic cause of autism). His work has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Education throughout his career. He has published more than 185 papers and his work has been cited more than 6,800 times according to google scholar.

University Distinguished Professor,
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Ph.D., Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas
M.A., Human Development, University of Kansas
BGS., Psychology and Human Development, University of Kansas

Contact Information


1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 3045
3001 Dole Human Development Center
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7555


Research Interests

  • Children, language, communication, early intervention, developmental disabilities, Down syndrome, autism, fragile X syndrome, parenting, randomized clinical trials, Milieu teaching,

Dr. Warren's major research interests are in the areas of early communication and language development and intervention and the prevention of mental retardation. Over the past 30 years he has investigated the effects of a variety of different communication and language intervention strategies intended for use with children three years and younger with developmental delays.

This research has focused on the development of intervention models (i.e. milieu language intervention, prelinguistic communication intervention) and longitudinal evaluation of these and other approaches, and most recently the interaction of early intervention and specific etiologies (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Downs syndrome). His research has been funded since 1977 by NIH (NICHD and NIDCD) and by the U.S. Department of Education.

In collaboration with KU colleague Nancy Brady, he is conducting a longitudinal study on the role of maternal responsivity in the development of children with fragile X syndrome.

Professional Service

Member, Behavioral and Biobehavioral Processes Study Section, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group, 2002-2007 (Chair, 2006-07); Member, Human Development and Aging Study Section 3, Center for Scientific Review, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1997-1999; Member, Biobehavioral and Behavioral Processes Study Section 6, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1999-2001; 2003 - 2007 Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, NIH Autism Research Networks (CPEA/STAART)


Edgar Doll Award (2013), American Psychological Association Division 33 in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities

Lifetime Achievement Research Award (2008), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Theodore D. Tjossem Research Award (1999), National Down Syndrome Congress

Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1993

Recipient, 2003 Century Award, Region V, American Association on Mental Retardation ( This award was given to 34 individuals in this region for significant contributions to the field over the past 100 years.)

Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1993

Fellow, American Association on Mental Retardation, 1992

Recent Publications

Warren, S.F., Yoder, P. J., Gazdag, G. E., Kim, K., & Jones, H. A.  (1993). Facilitating prelinguistic communication skills in young children with developmental delay. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 83-97

Warren, S.F., Fey, M.E., Yoder, P.J. (2007). Differential treatment intensity research: A missing link to creating optimally effective communication interventions. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 13 (1), 70-77.

Warren, S.F., Brady, N.C., Sterling, A.M., Fleming, K., & Marquis, J. (2010). Maternal responsivity predicts language development in children with fragile X syndrome.  American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115(1), 63-84.

Warren, S.F., Gilkerson, S., Richards, J.A., Oller, D.K., Xu, D., Umit, Y., & Gray, S. (2010).  What automated vocal analysis reveals about the vocal production and language learning environment of young children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 40, 555-569.

Warren, S.F., Brady, N., Fleming, K., Hahn, L. (2017). The effects of parenting on adaptive behavior in children with Fragile X Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, D0I: 10.1007/s10803-016-2999-7


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