The Winter 2016 issue of the Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) features the work of Mark Aronoff, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at Stony Brook University.
The Bulletin discusses the first meeting of the Commission on Language Learning, of which Aronoff is a member. This national Commission was created by the AAAS at the request of Congress to examine the state of language education, project what the nation’s education needs will be in the future and offer recommendations for ways to meet those needs. The Commission is made up of national leaders in education, scientific and humanistic research, business, and government.
Another Bulletin feature involves Aronoff’s research on autism, specifically the second meeting of the Consortium on Autism and Sign Language, which is led by Aronoff and Matthew Lerner, an assistant professor of psychology, psychiatry and pediatrics and director of Stony Brook’s Social Competence and Treatment Lab.
The focus of the meeting was to gain an understanding of the nature of communication in populations for whom it may otherwise be difficult. Aronoff and other participants specifically discussed the emergence of communication in autism by leveraging methods and insights from sign language research. For many years Aronoff has been part of a team studying the Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language.
The first meeting of the Consortium was held at Stony Brook in 2014.