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Amber Thiessen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Thiessen

Associate Professor
Phone: (713) 743-5990
Email: althiess@Central.UH.EDU
Office: Melcher Life Sciences M243C
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)

  • Thistle, J., & Thiessen, A. (2021). Effectiveness and utility of visual scene displays as communication supports for adults and children with complex communication needs: Perspectives of clinicians and researchers. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 30(3), 1181-1193. 
  • Thiessen, A., & Brown, J. (2021). Personalization of restorative and compensatory treatments for people with aphasia: A review of the evidence. Topics in Language Disorders, 41(3), 269-281.  
  • Thiessen, A., Thistle, J., & Brown, J. (2021). Clinical and research perspectives on visual scene displays. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 30(3), 1134-1156.
  • 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.
*Student co-author

Professional Activities

  • ASHA Division 2 - Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders
  • ASHA Division 12 - Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Editor, ASHA Perspectives SIG 12