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Language, Cognition and Communication Disorders in Adults

We focus on language and communication difficulties in adults with acquired neurological difficulties.

Our research aims

We want to improve understanding of communication in adult clinical and non-clinical populations. This includes language and cognition in ageing.

We aim to advance theoretical understanding and models of speech and language processing. We also want to better understand the relationships between language and other cognitive domains.

These include:

  • short-term/working memory
  • inhibitory control
  • processing speed

Another focus is to increase understanding of normal processing. This informs diagnosis of language and communication difficulties in adults. We look in depth at those with acquired neurological difficulties. Some examples include:

  • aphasia
  • cognitive communication disorders
  • apraxia of speech

Supporting clinical practice

We work on the development of clinical assessments. David Howard led on the development of the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT). We have also developed CARA: Comprehensive Assessment of Reading in Aphasia.

We research the effectiveness of interventions and understand why and how they promote change.

We develop ways of measuring the impact of interventions on everyday communication. We also develop resources that support the planning and delivery of intervention in clinical practice.

Research areas

One of our main focuses is assessing language and communication difficulties in adults with aphasia. We also look at speech and language therapy interventions for them.

Other areas of aphasia we explore are reading, writing/typing, analysis of everyday communication and technology use.

Another focus is the interaction of language and other cognitive domains in aphasia and related conditions. These include

  • short-term/working memory
  • inhibitory control
  • processing speed
  • neuro-phonetics (phonetic analyses of speech in stroke aphasia, dementia)


Our strength lies in our collaborations and partnerships. They ensure our research questions are relevant to the lives of people with aphasia. They're also relevant to people with communication difficulties.

We have close relationships with the Tavistock Aphasia Centre and The North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA). The latter is a regional charity that supports people with aphasia and their families in the North East.

We also developed the Aphasia Research User Group (ARUG). This empowered group of people with aphasia critiques and shapes our research.

We boast expert Speech and Language Therapists in practice throughout the UK and wider globe.

We also work with the Aphasia Study Group. This is a regional group of speech and language therapists, across practice and academia. They come together to debate the latest research and its implications and applications for practice.

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.