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Amber Thiessen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Thiessen

Associate Professor
Phone: (713) 743-5990
Email: althiess@Central.UH.EDU
Office: Clinical Research Services 114
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Thiessen received her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to completing her Ph.D., she worked as a speech-language pathologist with adults with acquired neurological disorders. Her research focuses on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for adults with acquired neurological disorders. Dr. Thiessen teaches graduate courses in cognitive disorders and augmentative and alternative communication.


  • Ph.D., Speech-Language Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
  • M.S., Speech-Language Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
  • B.A., Speech-Language Pathology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND


  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (COMD 6240)
  • Acquired Cognitive Disorders (COMD 6328)

Research Interests

Dr. Thiessen’s research focuses on creating effective augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) displays for adults with acquired brain injuries and other neurological conditions and improving treatment outcomes through communication partner/facilitator training. Her current research projects focus on measuring the visual attention patterns of adults with traumatic brain injury and aphasia when viewing grids and visual scene images.

For more information, view Dr. Thiessen’s research page.

Research Grants

(past 5 years)

  • 2019  Grants to Enhance and Advance Research (GEAR), University of Houston, Personalized Images as Communication Supports, Role: Principal Investigator
  • 2017  CLASS Research Progress Grant, University of Houston, Theme Identification of Two Forms of Message Representation: An Eye Tracking Investigation, Role: Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

(for a full list of publications, see curriculum vitae)

  • Brown, J., Thiessen, A., Freeland, T., & *Brewer C. H. (2019). Visual processing patterns of adults with TBI when viewing image-based grids and visual scenes. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 35(3), 229-239.
  • Thiessen, A., Brown, J., Freeland, T., & *Brewer, C. H. (2019). Identification and expression of themes depicted in visual scene and grid displays by adults with traumatic brain Injury. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 28(2), 664-675. 
  • Thiessen, A., Brown, J., Beukelman, D., & Hux, K. (2017). The effect of human engagement depicted in contextualized photographs on the visual attention patterns of adults with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Communication Disorders. 69, 58-71.
  • Thiessen, A., Brown, J., Beukelman, D., Hux, K., Myers, A. (2017). Effect of message type on the visual attention of adults with traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 26(2), 428-442.
  • Thiessen, A.Beukelman, D., & Hux, K., & Longenecker, M. (2016). A comparison of the visual attention patterns of people with aphasia and adults without neurological conditions for camera-engaged and task-engaged visual scenes. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59(2), 290-301. 
*Student co-author

Professional Activities

  • ASHA Division 2 - Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders
  • ASHA Division 12 - Augmentative and Alternative Communication