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Children's Speech and Language

The Child Speech and Language Research Group is comprised of academics, PGR students and post-doctoral researchers with a common interest in child language development and disorders.

Research aims

Our research aims to:

  • impact practice and policy to promote robust language development for all children
  • develop and evaluate services and interventions for children and young people with language disorders
  • support clinical and educational practice for children with speech and language disorders
  • develop novel solutions for interventions and services to address the issues of social justice linked to language difficulties
  • uncover the mechanisms and processes which underpin language development across languages and in mono and multi-lingual contexts

Supporting clinical practice

Our research supports clinical practice though:

  • increased understanding of the nature and drivers of individual differences in language development
  • the development of effective methods to identify and target children at risk of poor language development
  • the development of policy recommendations for preventative public health practices
  • the design of effective interventions
  • the design of theoretically motivated language assessments
  • the development of models of cross-agency collaborative working across education, health and social care

Key strengths

The Child Language Research Group is:

  • interdisciplinary – we recognise that to address complex societal challenges and uncover unique discoveries we need interdisciplinary efforts. The group includes speech & language therapists, psychologists, teachers, economists, phoneticians and linguists. Our ongoing projects include numerous collaborators from other fields.
  • engaged – sustained and engaged partnerships with local, national and international stakeholders underpins our work. We conducted our research through co-design with these partners. This increases the quality and impact of our work. A particular strength is our work with families and young people
  • global – we work with collaborators across the UK, Europe, Australia, the Arabic-speaking world and beyond
  • collaborative and supportive – we hold monthly meetings with staff and PGR students. They're supported to work together to develop research ideas, put together grant proposals and carry through ongoing projects
  • capacity building – we work to develop clinical academics and child language researchers of the future. We provide funded master's and PhD scholarships. We support NIHR and ESRC pathways from internship to PhD Fellowships

Research areas

  • understanding mechanisms, processes and individual differences in typical speech and language development
  • assessment of speech and language development
  • developmental speech and language disorders
  • identification of factors which influence speech and language development
  • Intervention and service delivery for developmental speech and language disorders
  • impact of speech and language development on wellbeing and achievement.
  • multi-lingual language development: typical and atypical development, assessment and intervention
  • implementation Science in Speech and Language Therapy for children
  • collaborative practice to meet the needs of children and young people with speech and language disorders
  • public health approaches to child language development
  • the links between verbal and written language difficulties and disorders

PhD Applications

We welcome PhD applications from students interested in the above research areas and aims. Please get in touch to discuss your ideas with staff who overlap with your research interests.