Rae Sonnenmeier

Clinic Director
Clinical Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-1860
Office: Communication Sciences & Disorders, Hewitt Hall Room 181, Durham, NH 03824
Rae M. Sonnenmeier, Clinical Associate Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Rae Sonnenmeier, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Associate Professor and Clinic Director in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and is a licensed speech-language pathologist in New Hampshire. Dr. Sonnenmeier received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of Buffalo in the field of Speech-Language Pathology with expertise in early childhood language disorders, neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, and augmentative communication. Since coming to UNH in 1996 Dr. Sonnenmeier has been actively engaged in the NH-Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program in preparing the next generation of leaders who are skilled in interdisciplinary, family-centered practice for children and youth with disabilities and their families. She served as the LEND training director between 1999-2009 and continues to serve as a faculty mentor. She has served on numerous state-level committees dedicated to improving the system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities, including the NH Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2012 Dr. Sonnenmeier received the Recognition Award from the Early Education and Intervention Network of New Hampshire for outstanding leadership and professional performance on behalf of young children and families in New Hampshire.

Rae M. Sonnenmeier, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire. Her research focuses on understanding the communication patterns of young children on the autism spectrum, early identification of young children at-risk for an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delays, the design of technologies and other supports for communication to support students’ learning of the general education curriculum, including literacy skills. She teaches courses on autism spectrum disorders, speech differences in young children, augmentative communication, and leadership in the field of developmental disabilities. Through her work with the Seacoast Child Development Clinic, she provides clinical assessment and consultation regarding best practices for communication development and learning to families, school personnel, and early intervention and other community-based providers.



The NH and ME Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (NH-ME LEND) is a collaboration among Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the College of Health and Human Services at the University of New Hampshire, and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies/UCED at the University of Maine-Orono. The purpose of NH-ME LEND is to improve the health of children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities by preparing leaders to enter the field of maternal and child health.


  • Ph.D., Communicative Disorders & Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • M.A., Speech-Language Pathology, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.S.Ed., Education, State University of New York at Buffalo

Research Interests

  • Autism
  • Communicative Disorders, Speech
  • Early Intervention for People With Disabilities

Courses Taught

  • COMM 723: Observation Skills in SLP
  • COMM 801: Principles of Assessment
  • COMM 803: Ethical & Professional Iss I
  • COMM 831: Early Childhood Language Dis
  • COMM 843: Augmentative & Alternative Cmm
  • COMM 870: Clinical Practicum
  • COMM 872: Externship
  • COMM 880: Principles of Assessment
  • COMM 912: Lang Disorders Birth to Five
  • COMM 914: Augmentative & Alternative Cmn
  • COMM 916: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Selected Publications

Humphreys, B. P., Couse, L. J., Sonnenmeier, R. M., Kurtz, A., Russell, S. M., & Antal, P. (2015). Transforming LEND Leadership Training Curriculum through the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Competencies. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(2), 300-307. doi:10.1007/s10995-014-1587-8

Jorgensen, C. M., McSheehan, M., & Sonnenmeier, R. M. (2010). The Beyond Access Model Promoting Membership, Participation, and Learning for Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom. Brookes Pub.

McSheehan, M. C. (2008). Membership, Participation, and Learning in General Education Classrooms for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Who Use AAC.

Jorgensen, C. M., McSheehan, M., & Sonnenmeier, R. M. (2007). Presumed competence reflected in the educational programs of students with IDD before and after the Beyond Access professional development intervention. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 32(4), 248-262. doi:10.1080/13668250701704238

McSheehan, M., Sonnenmeier, R. M., Jorgensen, C. M., & Turner, K. (2006). Beyond Communication Access. Topics in Language Disorders, 26(3), 266-290. doi:10.1097/00011363-200607000-00008

Sonnenmeier, R. M., McSheehan, M., & Jorgensen, C. M. (2005). A Case Study of Team Supports for a Student with Autism's Communication and Engagement within the General Education Curriculum: Preliminary Report of the Beyond Access Model. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21(2), 101-115. doi:10.1080/07434610500103608

Duchan, J. F., & Hewitt, L. E. (1994). Pragmatics from theory to practice. Allyn & Bacon.

Higginbotham, D. J., Sonnenmeier, R. M., & Duchan, J. F. (1993). The Impact of Technology on Facilitated Communication. Technology and Disability, 2(3), 68-78. doi:10.3233/tad-1993-2308

Stathopoulos, E. T., Duchan, J. F., Sonnenmeier, R. M., & Bruce, N. V. (1986). Intonation and Pausing in Deaf Speech. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 38(1), 1-12. doi:10.1159/000265814

Sonnenmeier, R. M., Jorgensen, C., Bates, K., Frechette, A., & Currin, J. (n.d.). "Nothing about us without us": Including people with disabilities as teaching partners in university courses. International Journal of Whole Schooling. Retrieved from http://www.wholeschooling.net/Journal_of_Whole_Schooling/IJWSindex.html

Most Cited Publications