Speech and language

The Speech and Language Sciences strand focuses on the research of healthy and disordered developmental and acquired communication, and eating, drinking and swallowing disorders. The programme is interdisciplinary in nature and links Speech and Language Sciences, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Computing, Creative Technology and Engineering, Education and Childhood, and Multi-Lingual Communities. One primary aim of this programme is to initiate, support and foster research links between academic staff and clinicians within the Yorkshire and Humber region, and beyond; and to promote and further research within the field of Speech and Language Sciences and other related disciplines. Further, our new MSc pre-registration course programme will offer MSc students the opportunity to engage in exciting current research projects being undertaken by the academic staff.

This strand focuses on the following areas of research (but are not limited to): communication impairment and disorders across the lifespan; stammering; voice disorders; head and neck cancer and its impact on communication needs; speech and language processing and modelling; aphasia and cognitive neuropsychology modelling; monolingual and bilingual language acquisition and acquired disorders; phonetic and phonological processing in developmental populations; social interaction and the use of technology for communicative therapeutic purposes; learning and cognitive behavioural change and the role of language and communication; augmentative and alternative communication (AAC); adult learning disabilities; service delivery models; and more.

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Sciences Programme leads:

Current Research Projects in Speech and Language Sciences

My research interests include aphasiology, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology, neuro- and psycholinguistics in healthy and disordered systems, the representation of language and cognition in the brain and its clinical implications. Currently I am leading a research group in collaboration with University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Laboratoire Bases, Corpus, Langage (BCL), Université Côte d’Azur, France focusing on a large-scale cross-linguistic meta-analyses of referential language use in people with aphasia and the clinical implications of referential use in therapeutic and daily environments. Our most recent preliminary findings were presented at an oral talk (by myself) the 19th International Science of Aphasia Conference in Venice, Italy in September 2018. This project is on-going.

PhD Candidate supervised by Dr Sarah James, Dr Anne Hurren and Dr Tom Muskett.

Title: The Experiences of Families Accessing Support through and Education Health and Care Plan

The Children and Families Act (2014) introduced a joined up statutory assessment and planning process: a single Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which aims to describe the support required for children with complex health, educational and care needs. This qualitative study will focus on families of children with complex communication difficulties and will use a qualitative approach to explore the experiences of families as they go through this statutory process.

I am generally interested in research into the rehabilitation of aphasia following stroke. My research to date has focussed on developing and measuring the effects of writing interventions and technologies for people with aphasia. I have recently set up a Patient and Public Involvement group at Leeds Beckett University to gain the insights of people with aphasia and their carers of existing writing apps and priorities for research into writing technologies. In 2018 I am planning on analysing the data from a qualitative study exploring the perceptions of people with aphasia of their literacy skills and writing interventions. In addition to my work on writing interventions, I have been working with Dr Suzie Wang and Naomi de Graff on a study investigating the feasibility for people with aphasia to use psychological techniques to help them feel less stressed or anxious.

PhD Candidate supervised by Dr Sabrina Golonka and Dr Tom Muskett.

Title: Comprehension Monitoring in Children with/without Developmental Language Disorder

During interactions, adults and children use a range of strategies to clarify what a speaker has said.  This includes both non-verbal and verbal methods – it could be looking puzzled, a simple ‘Huh?’ or a longer question such as ‘what does trebuchet mean?’. Young typically developing children begin to display these behaviours from around 30 months, however this can be problematic for children with language difficulties. This project includes a series of studies which aim to increase our understanding of how children use comprehension monitoring in conversations and how this may shape adult interaction and contribute to longer term language development.