Lynn Dempsey

Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics

PhD (University of Western Ontario)

Office: MC D450A
905-688-5550 x5168

Dr. Dempsey completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 2000.  She also has a M.Sc. in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology) from UWO (1999), a BA in Psychology and a BSW from McMaster University in 1996.   Dr. Dempsey is a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (CASLPO) and a member of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA). She has worked with preschool and school-age children at Peel Preschool Speech and Language Services (Ennoak) and the London Speech and Language Centre, and taught graduate courses in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UWO.  She began a tenure-track appointment at Brock University in 2005.

Dr. Dempsey’s research interests focus primarily on narrative comprehension in preschool age children with and without language impairments. More specifically, she explores the nature of young children’s story representations, the factors that contribute to successful story comprehension in young children, and the relationships between early oral story comprehension and later reading comprehension. Dr. Dempsey is the Director of the Child Language Laboratory and a member of the LifeSpan Development Centre.

Other research interests include:


  • The development of English language narrative comprehension in children learning English as a subsequent language
  • Measurement of young children’s language abilities, particularly measurement of early story comprehension and comprehension monitoring abilities
  • The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (World Health Organization) and its application to assessment and treatment of children’s language disorders
  • Dempsey, L., & Skarakis-Doyle, E (2010). Developmental language impairment through the lens of the ICF: An integrated account of children’s functioning. Journal of Communication Disorders43(5), 424-437.
  • Skarakis-Doyle, E., Campbell, W., & Dempsey, L. (2009). Identification of Children with Language Impairment: Investigating the classification accuracy of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory-III (CDI-III). American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 18(3), 277-288.
  • Skarakis-Doyle, E. & Dempsey, L. (2008a). Assessing story comprehension in preschool children. Topics in Language Disorders, 28, 127-144.
  • Skarakis-Doyle, E. & Dempsey, L. (2008b). The detection and monitoring of comprehension errors in preschool children with and without language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research51, 1-17.
  • Skarakis-Doyle, E., Dempsey, L., & Lee, C. (2008). Identifying language comprehension impairment in preschool children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39, 54-65.
  • Lee, C.J., Skarakis-Doyle, E., & Dempsey, L. (2003). The contributions of activity and occupation to young children’s comprehension of picture books. Journal of Occupational Science, 10(2), 80-83.
  • Dempsey, L. & Skarakis-Doyle, E. (2001). The validity of the Joint Story Retell as a measure of young children’s comprehension of familiar stories. Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 25(4), 201-211.

Dr. Dempsey typically teaches the following courses:

  • LING 1P92 Introduction to the Psychology of Language
  • LING/CHYS/PSYC 3P61 Child Language Acquisition – Early Stages
  • LING 3P90 Language Disorders in Children
  • LING 4P20 Evaluation of Speech and Language Disorders

Dr. Dempsey has served as Coordinator of the DALS Research Speaker Series.