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Maria Brea

Clinical Associate Professor; Director, Bilingual Extension Program

Communicative Sciences and Disorders


Maria R. Brea, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of the Bilingual Extension Program in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Dr. Brea graduated with an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Cognitive Neural Sciences and a minor in Language Science from the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychology. Prior to obtaining her doctorate, she practiced as a bilingual, certified Speech-Language Pathologist in school-based and pediatric settings and was employed as a Clinical Instructor responsible for training and supervising graduate students with varying levels of expertise. Dr. Brea joined the USF Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty in August 2010. Between 2015-2017, Dr. Brea also served as the USF Director of the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology. 

Maria Brea’s dissertation investigated the interactions between Spanish-specific phonotactic patterns and nonword repetition performance in emerging bilingual children. More recent research collaborations have investigated discourse coherence and syntactic complexity in children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and oral-written language learning disabilities. Additional areas of interest include: The impact of strategic writing instructional approaches on children’s oral and written language, differential diagnosis of language learning disabilities in bilinguals, and the influence of multicultural funds of knowledge on family literacy practices. 

Dr. Brea has previously taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the domains of language development and disorders, bilingualism, and learning disabilities. Most of her courses involve high-impact practices (HIPs), including service-learning projects. As a result of her dedication to student learning through community service, Dr. Brea was selected as the recipient of the 2015 USF Provost’s Outstanding Community-Engaged Faculty award. In 2017, Dr. Brea was the recipient of Steinhardt's Star Faculty Award, given by the Graduate Student Organization.

Selected Publications

  • Dunn Davidson, M. D., & Brea-Spahn, M.R. (in preparation). Literacy in two languages. In B. Goldstein and B. Conboy (Eds.), Bilingual language developments and disorders in Spanish-English speakers (3rd Ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
  • Brea, M. R., Frisch, S., & Bryant, J. (accepted). Wordlikeness and nonword repetition in Spanish-speaking bilingual children. In Li Fangfang, K. Pollock, & R. Gibb, (Eds.), Research in child second language acquisition: Towards an integrated understanding. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing.
  • Silliman, E., Wilkinson, L., Brea, M.R. (2018). Writing the science register and multiple levels of language: Implications for English learners. In A. Bailey, C. Maher, & L. Wilkinson (Eds.), Language, Literacy, and Learning in the STEM Disciplines: How language counts for English Learners. Rutledge.
  • Brea-Spahn, M., & Levey, S. (2017, 2nd Ed). Language development in middle and late childhood and adolescence. In S. Levey (Ed.), Introduction to language development (pp. 149-175). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.
  • Brea-Spahn, M.R. (2014). Bilingual Children with Language Learning Disabilities: Convergence in Conceptual, Linguistic, and Cultural Circles of Knowledge. In C. A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B. J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds.), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders (pp. 359-378). (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Guilford.


Communicative Sciences and Disorders

The Communicative Sciences and Disorders Program offers rigorous training for students seeking high-quality education in speech-language pathology.


Bilingual Assessment and Intervention

Integrates foundational information pertaining to bilingual/multilingual aspects of speech and language, and provides students with a framework for providing clinical services to individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Designed to educate and train student clinicians in order to serve as bilingual speech-language pathologists, this course fulfills specific requirements from the New York State Department of Education to attain a bilingual extension to the certificate of Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities.
Course #
CSCD-GE 2079
Fall, Spring


Maria Brea ,