School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Janet Webster

Senior Lecturer, Director of Clinical Education

Background

I am a Senior Lecturer and Director of Clinical Education within Speech and Language Sciences (SLS) at Newcastle University. I contribute to both teaching and research, with a particular focus on aphasia. As Director of Clinical Education, I oversee the clinical aspects of both the BSc and MSc pre-registration Speech and Language Therapy programmes, working closely with Helen Nazlie (Clinical Coordinator) who focuses on clinical placements. I am also the Senior Tutor for SLS.

I am a qualified Speech and Language Therapist, graduating from Newcastle in 1996 and going onto to complete my PhD with Sue Franklin and David Howard in 1999. I now work in the Tavistock Aphasia Centre (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/aphasia/), working with students to provide intensive and theoretically motivated intervention for people with aphasia. I also work alongside people with aphasia in my role as a trustee for the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA: http://www.neta.org.uk/).

My research focuses on the assessment and treatment of the language difficulties within aphasia. Previous research has focused on the assessment and treatment of verb and sentence difficulties and this has more recently led to interest in multi-level therapies that combine work on word and sentence production within the context of everyday discourse. This work involves an international collaboration with Anne Whitworth and colleagues at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. With collaborators at Newcastle, current research is concentrating on reading comprehension difficulties in aphasia, with a recent project grant funded by the Stroke Association focused on the development of a clinical assessment of reading. Current and past PhD supervision focuses on these areas but also projects focused on aspects of normal language production.  I welcome interest from other potential PhD students interested in aphasia, particularly those who want to explore the nature of the linguistic difficulties underpinning the production and comprehension of sentences and discourse/text.



Research

My research focuses on the assessment and treatment of aphasia, with an aim of contributing to the evidence base for Speech and Language Therapists working with people with aphasia.

I am interested in the linguistic processes involved in the production and comprehension of sentences and discourse and how these processes are impaired in people with aphasia. However, within the context of therapy, it is crucial to understand the overall impact of the language difficulties for the individual and how our intervention influences their everyday communication. My research tries to address some of these issues. I have two current strands to my research, a strand focused on spoken production and a strand focused on reading comprehension.

Within the clinical setting, it can be difficult for therapists to access and use the evidence base to inform assessment and treatment. Within research, I am, therefore, also interested in producing clinically relevant assessments and theoretically motivated therapy resources.


 

 

Teaching

As Director of Clinical Education, I am module leader for the Clinical and Professional Education modules across the BSc Speech & Language Sciences and MSc Language Pathology programmes.  As part of these modules, I deliver clinical induction sessions, small group tutorials and work with students on an individual basis to develop their clinic skills and knowledge

I also supervise students when they work within the Tavistock Aphasia Centre as part of their campus clinic experience.

I contribute to the Case Based Problem Solving that underpins the teaching of speech and language pathology, with a specific focus on sentence processing difficulties in aphasia.


 

Publications