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Language and Communication Science

Centre for Language and Communication Science Research

The Centre for Language and Communication Science Research carries out research into all aspects of speech, language and communication disorders, as well as typical speech and language.

Our Research

Adult Assessment and Intervention Research (AAIR)

This group investigates the nature and treatment of adult acquired communication disorders, with a particular emphasis on aphasia.

Aphasia Research

Themes in aphasia include: the investigation of aphasic language impairments, the impact of therapy, interventions to improve emotional and social wellbeing in people with aphasia, and assessment, outcome measurement and the self- reported experience of aphasia. In this last area, tools developed at City, e.g. the SAQOL-39g, have become an international gold standard and are recommended for use in all aphasia trials and intervention studies (see Core Outcome Set for Aphasia).

Current studies are exploring the use of technology in aphasia therapy and the impact of therapies on activities, participation and quality of life. We are exploring the benefits of a virtual communication environment, EVA Park, for people with aphasia, and are evaluating therapies that make use of mainstream technologies, such as text to speech software (for example CommuniCATE and READ-IT.)

We are evaluating interventions aimed at improving wellbeing in people with aphasia, such as peer-befriending (SUPERB) and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Further work is developing a novel intervention for narrative discourse (LUNA). Many of AAIR’s aphasia projects are conducted in collaboration with City’s Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design. A current project with this Centre is developing tools that enable people with aphasia to create and curate digital content.

Special Interest Groups

A Special Interest Group of AAIR focuses on head and neck cancer research.  Our work in this area has explored, among other things, the development and evaluation of outcome measures for this population and quality of life and swallowing outcomes after laryngectomy.

Past and present collaborators include the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ Head & Neck Clinical Excellence Network, the University College London Hospital and Barts Health NHS Trusts. Another Special Interest Group focuses on dysphagia research across the lifespan (see also DAIR).  With adults, the dysphagia group have a particular focus on Parkinson’s disease, and adults with learning disabilities.

Grants

The group has attracted research funding from national and international bodies including:  the Barts Charity, the Bupa Foundation, the Dunhill Medical Trust, the EPSRC, the EU, the NIHR, the Stroke Association, and the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia.

Developmental Assessment and Intervention Research (DAIR)

This group explores the identification, impact and treatment of developmental language disorders (DLD), for example Engage with DLD project, and the communication and related cognitive difficulties associated with other childhood developmental disorders (e.g. autism, intellectual disabilities). Early years studies have developed assessment and diagnostic tools and have used these to investigate how very early processing skills may affect language and social communication in school-age children (VEPS).

Further themes of this group include the relationship between language and social wellbeing in children and young people, new interventions to improve vocabulary and language skills, dynamic assessments of language skills, predictors of language and literacy skills in adolescents with intellectual disabilities (for example Memory and Language in Children) and the role of registered intermediaries in assisting child witnesses with and without autism to give their best evidence (Access to justice).

Early years assessments developed by this group are appropriate for children from diverse backgrounds and are being used by paediatric NHS services (e.g. Lambeth and Southwark) and special early years provisions. Research from the group has generated novel insights into the long term consequences of developmental language disorders, e.g., by exploring impacts in adolescence and young adulthood.

Promising new interventions to support language learning and vocabulary development in primary and secondary age children and young people have been developed and evaluated. Criminal justice professionals have benefited from understanding how registered intermediaries assist young children to give fuller accounts of witnessed events.

Special Interest Groups

A Special Interest Group of DAIR focuses on dysphagia research. The group investigates dysphagia across the lifespan and the rationale underpinning dysphagia interventions.

Projects have included funded research into neonatal feeding, paediatric gastrostomy tube feeding, parents’ perceptions of instrumental swallow assessments, supporting the eating and drinking of children with learning disabilities through use of mealtime mats and education staff training, and typical development of swallowing skills.

These projects have been undertaken with a range of NHS Trusts (including the Royal Free NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust), and international speech and language therapy teams.

Grants

The DAIR group has attracted research funding from national and international bodies including: the Baily Thomas Charitable Trust, the Communication Trust, the Department for Education, the Department for International Development, the ESRC, the EU, the Heather Van der Lely Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation, the NIHR, the Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham local authorities, the Swedish Research Council and the Waterloo Foundation.

Speech, Phonology and Linguistics

The research of this group generally focuses on the production and perception of typical and atypical speech and language.

From a phonetic perspective, this research group has carried out experimental studies on a wide range of topics such as the devoicing of English fricatives, the acoustic characteristics of vowels in typically developing children and children with hearing impairment, the analysis of asymmetries in tongue-palate contact in speech and the analysis of articulation errors in speakers with motor speech disorders (Speech Sound Disorders, Dysarthria, Foreign Accent Syndrome).

Additionally, the group has world-class expertise in Forensic Phonetics and is actively involved in the analysis of speech for legal purposes. Furthermore, the group has made a strong research contribution to the pedagogical aspects of phonetics teaching and the application of phonetic transcription in Speech and Language Therapy. Finally, the group has produced a series of in-depth phonetic descriptions of various languages (Standard Dutch, Hamont Dutch, Lusoga, Punjabi and Zulu) which have been published in the Journal of the International Phonetic Association as illustrations of the IPA.

From a linguistic perspective, a major research strand has been the use of linguistic analysis in clinical settings and the development of discourse treatment programmes for people with aphasia (LUNA) and for older adults living in residential settings (STARs). Another significant research strand has focused on language, identity and inclusion within professional contexts – a focus that has included analysis of gendered discourses in Speech and Language Therapy and the role they may play in maintaining a lack of diversity in this professional context. Finally, several publications have focused on the key principles and contributions of core research methodologies in linguistic research.

In an audiological perspective, several studies have been carried out on noise exposure levels from personal stereo players, the effects of background noise on speech perception and the assessment of deaf awareness among heathcare students.

Phonetics and Audiology Lab

This group is supported by a well-equipped phonetics and audiology lab. The phonetics lab has state-of-the-art instrumentation to analyse various aspects of speech production such as oral/nasal airflow and pressure (Pcquirer, Nasometer), vocal fold vibration (laryngography), tongue-palate contact in speech (Electropalatography), tongue configuration in articulation (Ultrasound).

In addition the lab has a wide range of software packages to analyse the acoustic characteristics of speech. Audiological equipment consists of screening and clinical audiometers, tympanometers, an oto-acoustic emissions and auditory brainstem response screener and a range of hearing aids for mild-moderate and severe-profound hearing loss and several sound level meters (among others B&K type 2250). In addition there is a range of software applications to analyse aspects of hearing.

Grants

This group has attracted research funding from national and international bodies including: the Dunhill Medical Trust; the Flemish Science Foundation; the Leverhulme Trust; the Royal Flemish Society of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts; and the Stroke Association.

Deafness and Visual Language Research

This group has pioneered research into the effects of deafness on all aspects of child development including language, cognitive development and literacy. The group has explored sign language development in deaf children and created the first standardised clinical assessments of language development in British Sign Language (BSL) which have since been adapted into 18 other sign languages internationally.

Other themes include theory of mind in deaf children, speechreading in deaf and hearing individuals, reading and dyslexia in deaf children, language impairments in signers, spoken language acquisition, language and reading interventions and music training to enhance executive function. The group has a further interest in the impact of acquired language and cognitive impairments on sign language and published the first investigations of aphasia in users of BSL.

The group links with the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at UCL.

Grants

The group has attracted research funding from: the Alzheimer's Society; the ESRC; the Heather van der Lely Foundation; the Leverhulme Trust; and the Nuffield Foundation.

Research Projects

Downloads and Resources

Please visit CityAccess for research tools and resources for aphasia.

Please visit individual staff pages or City Research Online for open access to our publications.

People

Here is a list of the academic staff who work in the Centre for Language & Communication Science Research. You can find out more about each member of staff, including their latest publications and their contact details by following the links below.

Members


PhD Students

Grants

Adult Assessment and Intervention Research (AAIR) Group

Over the past five years, members of the AAIR group have generated £2.2 million in research grant income.  This rises to over £3.5 million with external collaborations.

2019-2022 Tingle, J. (PI), Wilson, J., Loveday, H., Harding, C., & Harrison, K. Delivering safe and effective nutrition and hydration care to residents with dysphagia: A theory- based approach to delivering a link dysphagia practitioner. NIHR, Research for Patient Benefit, £390,000.

2019-2020 Dipper, L.T. (PI), Pritchard, M., Botting, N., Cruice, M., & Laybourne, A.  STARs storytelling for older adults in residential settings. Dunhill Medical Trust, £90,996.

2019-2021 Marshall, J. (Co-PI), Woolf, C. (Co-PI), Cruice, M., & Wilson, S.  A new reading intervention for people with aphasia. Sir Halley Stewart Trust. £60,000.

2019-2020 Hilari, K. (PI), Pritchard, M., Marshall, J., Roper, A., Woolf, C., & Wilson, S.  City Access - Resources for Aphasia (CARA).  An online portal for clinical assessments and intervention programmes. The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, £28,740 and The Stroke Association £9,675, Total £38,415.

2018-2021 Cruice, M. (Co-PI), Dipper, L. (Co-PI), Botting, N., Marshall, J., Hersh, D., & Boyle, M.  Linguistic Underpinnings of Narrative in Aphasia (LUNA): A proof-of-concept study of a novel discourse treatment for aphasia using personal narratives. The Stroke Association, £205,257.

2017-2020 Wilson, S. (PI), Marshall, J., Cruice, M., & Roper, A. Inclusive Digital Content for People with Aphasia (INCA). EPSRC, £488,339.

2016-2019 Hilari, K. (PI), Marshall, J., Simpson, A., Thomas, S., Flood, C., Northcott, S., McVicker, S., & Goldsmith, K.  Adjustment post stroke and aphasia: SUpporting wellbeing through PEeR Befriending (SUPERB). The Stroke Association, 2015 Priority Programme Award – Psychological Consequences of Stroke, £490,664.

2016-2019 Marshall, J. (PI), Cruice, M., Wilson, S., & Woolf, C. Delivering group support for people with aphasia through a virtual communication environment. The Stroke Association, £158,111.

2016-2019 Northcott, S. (PI) & Hilari, K. (Supervisor). Adapting a psychosocial intervention for people with post-stroke aphasia: a feasibility study. The Stroke Association Post-doctoral Fellowship, £174,990.

2016-2017 Marshall, J. (PI), & Wilson S.  Taking EVA Park into Service. The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, £54,729.

2015-2018 Brady, M (PI), Palmer, R., Bowen, A., Godwin, J., Hilari, K., Howard, D., Worrall, L., Thomas, S., Horton, S., Ali ,M., Visch-Brink, E.G., Elders, A., Laska, A.C., Kukkonen, T., Hinckley, J., Godecke, E., Price, C., & MacWhinney, B.  REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after StrokE (RELEASE): Utilizing secondary data to enhance speech and language therapy interventions for people with aphasia after stroke. NIHR HS&DR, £446,158.

2014-2017 Marshall, J. (Co-PI), Woolf, C. (Co-PI), Cruice, M., Wilson, S., & Stokes, C.  Enhancing communication in aphasia through technology (CommuniCATE). The Barts Charity, £415,785.

2012-2015 Varlokosta, S. (PI), Oikonomou, A., Papathanasiou, I., Hilari, K., Tsapkini, K., et al.  Interdisciplinary study of Aphasia in the Greek language. European Social Fund and The Greek Ministry for Education and Lifelong Learning: Thales call, Є600,000.


Developmental Assessment and Intervention Research (DAIR) Group

Over the past five years, members of the DAIR group have generated over £1 million in research grant income.  This rises to over £3.2 million with external collaborations.

2019-2022  Harding, C. (PI) & Rowe, A. Supporting parents to provide early communication support for infants born preterm.  OVO Charitable Foundation, £190,000

2019-2022 Millard, S. (PI), Joffe, V.L., Rixon, L., Murphy, S. et al.  Evaluating Palin Stammering Therapy for Children: a feasibility study. NIHR, Research for Patient Benefit. £249,928

2019-2021 Spicer-Cain, H.M. (PI) & Botting, N. Very early predictors of grammatical, phonological and school readiness skills at school age in siblings of children with communication disorders. Heather van der Lely Trust. £74,179.

2019-2021 Stojanovik, V., (PI), Pagnamenta, E., Joffe, V.L. (C.I.), Harvey, K., Thompson, B. et al.  Evaluating an early social communication intervention for young children with Down syndrome: a feasibility study. NIHR, Research for Patient Benefit. £248,679.

2018-2020 Henry, L.A. (PI), Messer, D.M., Poloczek, S. & Danielsson, H.  Language, literacy and procedural memory in children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, £101,924.

2017-2021 Danielsson, H. (PI), Samuelsson, S., Elwér, A., Messer, D.M. & Henry, L.A. (C.I.). Why are adolescents with intellectual disability poor readers? A comparison of person and environment factors that predict reading in intellectual disability. Swedish Research Council (Educational Sciences), SEK 7,258,000 (approx. £650,000).

2016-2019 Murphy, S., (Co-PI), Crafter, S., Joffe, V.L. (Co-PI), Messer, D. et al.  Evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic Language skills for Young children with Social Communication Disorder’ (E-PLaYS), a feasibility study.  NIHR, Research for Patient Benefit, £252,738.

2016-2017 Joffe, V.L. (PI). Language and Communication Skills in Long Term Unemployed Adults. Ingeus, £10,000.

2015-2016 Joffe, V.L. (PI). Process evaluation of a Community Assessment and Diagnostic Service. Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, £25,000.

2014-2017 Henry, L.A. (PI), Hill, E., Leonard, H. & Bernardi, M.  Executive functioning in children with developmental coordination disorder – PhD Extension for follow-up study.  The Waterloo Foundation, £9,489.

2014-2015 Joffe, V.L. (PI). Health promotion and risk reduction through mobile health checks and health and wellbeing workshops within the community in London borough with high levels of social deprivation. North Middlesex University Hospital, £15,000.

2013-2016 Henry, L.A. (PI), Wilcock, R. & Crane, L.  Access to justice for children with autism spectrum disorders, ESRC (ES/J020893/2), £376,525.

2011-2015 Conti-Ramsden, G. (PI), Durkin, K., Pickles, A., & Botting, N. (Co-PI). Specific Language Impairment and Adulthood. ESRC (RES-062-23-2745), £998,000.


Deafness and Visual Language Research Group

Over the past five years, members of this research group have generated over £0.5 million in research grant income. This rises to over £5 million, when including external collaborations.

2019-2021 Kyle, F. (PI) & Herman, R. Using the GAPS to identify pre-school deaf children at risk of later literacy difficulties. The Heather van der Lely Foundation, £187,775.

2018-2019 Herman, R. (PI), Hulme C., Roy, P., & Kyle, F.  Pilot study to evaluate an integrated language and reading intervention with deaf and hearing children. The Nuffield Foundation, £97,400.

2018-2019 Mathews D. (PI) & Morgan, G. Communication interventions for families with deaf children communication. University of Sheffield Alumni fund, £50,000.

2017-2019 Guzel, E. (PI) & Morgan, G. Play based learning for deaf children. Erasmus plus, €126,000.

2016-2019 Morgan, G. (PI). Sign language learning in hearing adults. The Leverhulme Trust, £120,000.

2015-2016 Morgan, G. (PI).  Assessment portal. ESRC Follow on grant, £100,000.

2014-2015 Morgan, G. senior mentor for Lu J. Fulbright fellowship, $50,000.

2011-2015 Woll B. (PI), MacSweeney M., Vigliocco G., & Morgan, G. Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre. ESRC Mid-term review, £4,500,000.


Speech, Phonology and Linguistics Research Group

2019-2020 Dipper, L.T. (PI), Pritchard, M., Botting, N., Cruice, M., & Laybourne, A.  STARs storytelling for older adults in residential settings. Dunhill Medical Trust, £90,996.

2018-2021 Cruice M. (Co-PI), Dipper L. (Co-PI), Botting N., Marshall J., Hersh D., & Boyle M.  Linguistic Underpinnings of Narrative in Aphasia (LUNA): A proof-of-concept study of a novel discourse treatment for aphasia using personal narratives. The Stroke Association, £205,257.

2017-2020 Verhoeven, J. (PI) & Reyes-Aldasoro, C.  Measuring asymmetry in the articulation of English speech sounds. Leverhulme Trust, £238,015.


Shula Chiat

Professor Shula Chiat