SUGAR Language


Quick, simple and researched LSA.


In 2016, Pavelko, Owens, Ireland and Hahs-Vaughn published the results of a large nationwide survey indicating that school-based SLPs sampled little and used methods of transcription and analysis that did not conform to best practices. We took the results as a challenge to action. Deciding to meet SLPs where they indicated they were, we used 50-utterance conversational samples as our base and tried to answer concerns expressed by SLPs that LSA was too time consuming, seemed to lack validity, and required special expertise. 

Fifty-utterance conversational samples imposed some limitations. Based on previous research, we collected robust samples, identified valid quantitative analysis values, figured out the quickest method for calculating those values, established norms, and went on to identify changes in children’s language reflected by those values. We conducted sub-analysis and identified possible intervention targets buried within samples.

Our goal was to create a system for LSA that was quick, based on valid research, and was easy to understand and use. It had been our plan from the inception to make the results available free of charge to all interested practitioners. This website is the result.

We hope you will find SUGAR as helpful as we intended it to be and that it will leave a sweet taste in your mouth. A spoonful of SUGAR helps the sample go ‘round.


Get in touch

Thanks for visiting the SUGAR website. We hope you’ll become as excited as we are about the possibilities of language sample analysis as a clinical tool. We’d be happy to share more information with you and your organization in the form of a workshop or webinar. Contact us with your ideas and we promise to get back to you as quickly as possible. Please use the format on the contact page. And remember that A Spoonful of SUGAR helps the sampling go ‘round!

BOok a workshop ▸


Robert (“Bob”) Owens, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Professor, NYS Distinguished Teaching Professor, ASHA Honors

The College of Saint Rose
Albany, NY

Robert E. Owens, Jr. Ph.D. (“Dr. Bob”) is a New York State Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Communication Disorders and Sciences at the College of St. Rose where he teaches courses in language development and language disorders. In 2015 he received the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

He is the author of

  • Language Development, An Introduction (9 editions)
  • Language Disorders, A Functional Approach (6 editions)
  • Early Communication Intervention
  • Help Your Baby Talk, Introducing the New Shared Communication Method
  • Queer Kids, The Challenge & Promise for Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Youth

His Language Development text is the most widely used in the world and has been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Arabic. He has also co-authored Introduction to Communication Disorders, A Life Span Perspective (5 editions), written a score of book chapters and professional articles, and authored two as-yet unpublished novels which are sure to win a posthumous Pulitzer prize. In love with the sound of his own voice, Dr. Bob has presented over 230 professional papers and workshops around the globe. His professional interests are language disorders in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are also some of his best friends. And he’s a gran’pa!



Stacey L. Pavelko, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director

James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA

Stacey Pavelko, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an associate professor and Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at James Madison University. Her research interests include language and literacy development in preschool and early school-aged children, language sampling, high-quality professional development for preschool teachers, and the diagnostic accuracy of screening and diagnostic measures.