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Diane L. Williams, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, Third Recipient of the Anna Rangos Rizakus Endowed Chair in Health Sciences and Ethics
Rangos School of Health Sciences
Speech-Language Pathology

409 Fisher Hall
Phone: 412.396.4217


Ph.D., Speech-Language Pathology, Bowling Green State University, 1999
M.A., Religious Studies, Villanova University, 1985
M.A., Speech-Language Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1978
B.S., Speech-Language Pathology, Auburn University, 1976

Dr. Williams has expertise in the areas of autism and developmental language disorders. She is associated with the Autism Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Williams' research focuses on cognitive and linguistic processing in autism using functional magnetic resonance imaging and behavioral methodology.

Dr. Williams is a Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language and a certified speech-language pathologist with extensive clinical experience with children and adults with autism and other developmental disorders with a wide range of language abilities. She has worked in early intervention programs, preschool programs, community agencies, pediatric hospitals, and university clinics. As Program Director of the Child Language Clinic at Duquesne, Dr. Williams coordinates clinical services for children with a variety of language problems and teaches the language disorders coursework in the Department.

  • SLP 526 Language Disorders I
  • SLP 536 Language Disorders II

Williams, D.L. (in press). Language processing in autism spectrum disorders: Insights from neuroscience. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education.

Schipul, S.E., Williams, D. L., Keller, T.A., Minshew, N.J., & Just, M.A. (2012). Distinctive neural processes during learning in autism. Cerebral Cortex, 22, 937-950.

Williams, D.L. (2010). Developmental language disorders: Learning, language and the brain. San Diego: Plural Publishing.

Williams, D.L., & Minshew, N.J. (2010). How the brain thinks in autism. The ASHA Leader, 15 (5), 8-11.

Williams, D.L., Goldstein, G., Kojkowski, N., & Minshew, N.J. (2008). Do individuals with high functioning autism have the IQ profile associated with nonverbal learning disability? Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2, 353-361.

Mason, R.A., Williams, D.L., Kana, R.K., Minshew, N.J., & Just, M.A. (2008). Theory of mind disruption and recruitment of the right hemisphere during narrative comprehension in autism. Neuropsychologia, 46, 269-280.

Williams, D.L. (2008). What neuroscience has taught us about autism: Implications for early intervention. Zero to Three, 28, 11-17.

Williams, D.L., Goldstein, G., & Minshew, N.J. (2006). Neuropsychologic functioning in children with autism: Further evidence of disordered complex information processing. Child Neuropsychology, 12, 279-298.


Williams, D.L., Carter, E.J., Lehman, J., & Minshew, N.J. (2012). Making tough decisions: The neural correlates of categorization in children with and without autism. International Meeting for Autism Research, Toronto, Canada.

Williams, D.L. (2012). The neurobiological basis of autism: Relevant findings in language development [2-hour webinar]. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Williams, D.L. (2012). Developing language in children with autism: Insights from neuroscience [3-hour short course]. Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Lancaster, PA.

Williams, D.L. (2012). Helping children with autism learn language: Insights from neuroscience [3-hour short course]. Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Columbus, OH.

Williams, D.L., Carter, E.J., Lehman, J., & Minshew, N.J. (2011). Brain activation during inferential and theory of mind processing in children with autism. International Meeting for Autism Research, 10, 412 [Online: http://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2011/webprogram/Paper8467.html].

Williams, D.L. (2011). The brain basis of autism: Effects on learning and language development [6-hour workshop]. Delaware Speech-Language-Hearing Association Spring Conference, Dover, DE.

Williams, D.L., Carter, E.J., Minshew, N.J., & Pelphrey, K.A. (2010). Brain mechanisms for perceiving emotional information in body movement in children with autism. International Meeting for Autism Research Abstracts, 9 [Online: http://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper7226.html].

Williams, D.L. (2010). Update on the neurobiological basis of autism for SLPs [2-hour mini-seminar]. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA.



Principal Investigator: Neurocognitive Basis of Language Processing in Autism funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 2004-2009.

Co-Director, Subject Core: Biological and Information Processing Mechanisms Underlying Autism funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 2007-2012.

Co-Principal Investigator: Disturbances of Affective Contact: Development of Brain Mechanisms for Emotion funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 2008-2012.

Consortium Principal Investigator: Developmental Characteristics of MRI Diffusion Tensor Pathways Changes in Autism funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 2010-2012.