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Brenda J. Salley, PhD

Brenda Salley portrait
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Assistant Professor, Children's Mercy/University of Missouri-Kansas City

Assistant Professor, Hearing and Speech

Affiliated Scientist, University of Kansas

Professional Background

Dr. Brenda Salley is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital/University of Kansas City-Missouri. She is the director of the Baby Lab at KUMC and Children’s Mercy.

Dr. Salley completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at Virginia Tech and completed completing a clinical internship at Brown University with a focus on early child development and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in translational research for intellectual and developmental disabilities at the University of Kansas Life Schiefelbusch Span Institute.

Dr. Salley’s clinical expertise centers on the evaluation of very young children for developmental and social-emotional concerns, including autism spectrum disorder and infant/early childhood mental health concerns.

Education and Training
  • BS, Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
  • MA, Clinical Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • Other, Clinical Child Psychology/Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, RI
  • Other, Autism/Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, University of Kansas Medical Center, Center for Child Health and Development, Kansas City, KS
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, NRSA T32 Translational Research in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Life Span Institute, Lawrence, KS
Licensure, Accreditations & Certifications
  • Licensed Psychologist, Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board
  • Licensed Psychologist, Missouri State Committee of Psychologists



Dr. Salley’s research focuses on language and social communication in early childhood. One primary line of research is focused on improving early identification, by using a basic science approach to map early attention and social developmental pathways. A second primary line of research focuses on optimizing parent-child interactions to promote early language, social and cognitive development. This translational research aims to apply evidence-based strategies within home, community and primary care settings for at-risk infants and toddlers.