Join us in London in June for our first ever research conference. The conference will focus on the research we have funded for language disorders in children.

We are lucky to have a number of students joining us at the conference to present their posters and research.

This conference is completely free to attend, but places are limited. Please register your place now so that you don’t miss out.

Online Registration Form

Applications for a Poster presentation now OPEN! Please send in your abstract by email to:

Any topic related to #DLD developmental language disorders and their presentation in children and sequelae in adults.

Who’s Presenting?

Cristina McKean
BSc, MSc, PhD

Professor of Child Language Development and Disorders, Newcastle University

University of Newcastle – Principal Investigator, Prof Cristina McKean
‘Testing the efficacy of Building Early Sentences Therapy and uncovering mechanisms for change: a theoretically informed language intervention for pre-school children with language disorder’.

For more information about the abstract and studies, please click here.

Julie Dockrell
BSc, PhD

Professor of Psychology and Special Needs at Institute of Education, University of London

University College London – Principal Investigator, Professor Julie Dockrell
‘Language-learning needs on school entry: profiling phonology, morphology and narrative’.

For more information about the abstract and studies, please click here.

Helen Spicer-Cain
BSc, MS, PhD

Lecturer and Researcher,
City, University of London

City, University of London – Principal Investigator, Dr Helen Spicer-Cain
‘Very early predictors of grammatical, phonological and school readiness skills at school age in siblings of children with communication disorders’.

For more information about the abstract and studies, please click here.

Gill West

University of Oxford

University of Oxford – Co-Investigator Dr Gill West with Prof C Hulme
‘ATLAS and GAPS Assessment Apps: development and standardisation’.

For more information about the abstract and studies, please click here.

Fiona Kyle
BSc, PhD

Director of The Literacy and Deafness Development Research Lab
University College London

University College London – Principal Investigator, Prof Fiona Kyle
‘Using the GAPS to identify pre-school deaf children at risk of later literacy difficulties’.

For more information about the abstract and studies, please click here.

Ongoing PhDs

Keira Radice

Current PhD funding: Department of Health and Life Sciences, Birmingham City University

Keira is in her 1st year of her PhD journey at BCU with supervisors Dr Hopkins, Dr Docherty and Dr Hammond, which is funded by the Heather van der Lely Foundation. She is studying the effectiveness of an evidence-based language intervention with children and young people with developmental language disorder (DLD) who are accessing Youth Offending Team (YOT) Services. Keira has been working alongside a local YOT and is about to submit ethics for phase one of her research to inform the evidence-based model of the intervention.

Previous to this study, Keira completed a BHSc (Bachelor of Health Sciences) at the University of Auckland in 2014, whilst completing an internship and subsequent publication in the New Zealand Medical Journal with the Paediatric Society of NZ. She then studied her MSc in Speech and Language therapy at BCU, completing in 2021, where she undertook work with the Violence Reduction Unit (under senior SLT, Claire Westwood) on communication accessible environments in custody suites. This work was presented at the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2022 and is currently under editing for publication. During her MSc study, Keira developed a passion for Criminal Justice, forensics and the link between speech, language and communication needs and mental health in young offenders. 

Keira’s main aim in her PhD is: To examine the effectiveness of language intervention for young people with DLD who are accessing YOT services.    Her sub-aims are: 
a.  To select an intervention that is grounded in evidence-based practice
b.  To conduct a language intervention with the young people within the YOT service
c.  To examine the long-term sustainability of the intervention 

Caitlin Holme

Current PhD funding: Bristol Doctoral College, University of Bristol

Caitlin’s background is in languages and linguistics, with a focus on language disorders and acquisition. Following her MA in Clinical Linguistics, she conducted research related to both acquired language disorders in adults and developmental language disorders in children. Her PhD study is related children’s language development and ways to ensure appropriateness and acceptability of speech and language interventions for children and their families. The study will use a qualitative ethnographic approach to understand how variation in children’s everyday activities leads to different types of interaction. These findings will be used to consider how speech and language therapy approaches can incorporate contextual understandings of linguistic interaction, with a focus on cultural competence and family-centred practice.

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The Heather van der Lely Foundation Trust is a UK registered charity, number: 1168658.

Postal address: PO box 194 Knaresborough HG5 5BS.