Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr Nicole Whitworth
About Dr Nicole Whitworth
Nicole has taught Linguistics and Phonetics at a number of local universities, including York, Sheffield, and the University of Leeds. As a guest lecturer she has contributed to modules on Primary Education courses in Leeds Beckett University's Carnegie Faculty. Outside of Leeds Beckett, Nicole has taught sessions on voice care and use at local primary schools and on the Teach First teacher training programme. In addition, Nicole delivers workshops on public speaking and presentation skills. She has also worked as a freelance translator and as a Kindergarten teacher.
Nicole's specialist areas are clinical phonetics and phonology, the phonetics of voice, the anatomy and physiology of speaking and hearing, as well as bilingual and monolingual language acquisition. She is currently researching babbling in infants with Down Syndrome, factors in phonetic ability, and the influence of cross-modal transfer capabilities in the learning of new sound categories.
Nicole is the Treasurer & Membership Secretary of the British Association of Clinical Linguistics (BACL).
Nicole teaches the phonetics and phonology curriculum on the BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy, including Clinical Phonetics and Phonology and Clinical Analysis of Speech.
Factors in Phonetic Ability aims to identify characteristics that help predict SLT students' talent for acquiring the phonetic transcription skills required for clinical practice. The research is carried out in collaboration with Dr Rachael-Anne Knight from City University London. The results of the research will inform the future teaching and learning of an essential clinical skill which is often experienced as very challenging by students of SLT. In a wider sense, both projects will also provide insights into how individuals learn the sound systems of new languages.
Babbling in Infants with Down Syndrome is a longitudinal multiple case study of the acquisition of speech production in very young children with Down Syndrome. The aim is to describe and classify developmental processes that occur in the course of the children's development. Nicole's co-researcher on this project is Monica Bray (Leeds Beckett), an SLT with considerable expertise in Down Syndrome and dysfluency disorders. The outcomes of this project will form the basis of future research which will broaden our understanding of speech acquisition in individuals with Down Syndrome. It is hoped that ultimately it will affect future clinical practice in the area.