School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Faye Smith

Lecturer in Speech and Language Sciences



I studied for a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Reading, Language and Cognition at the University of York. I then stayed on at York and undertook a PhD with Maggie Snowling and Hannah Nash looking at the early linguistic and cognitive profile in children with Down syndrome, with a particular focus on how poor health interacts with language and cognition. Subsequently I completed two postdoctoral research projects; one looking at sleep and vocabulary consolidation in children with and without dyslexia and a second investigating the behavioural and neural links between auditory sequence processing and language/literacy skill across adolescence. I carried out my second postdoctoral project here at Newcastle University, in the Institute of Neuroscience, and in September 2016 I joined Speech and Language Sciences as a lecturer.


PhD Psychology - 2014, University of York

MSc Reading, Language and Cognition - 2010, University of York

BSc Psychology - 2009, University of York

Previous Positions

2015 - 2016 - Research Associate, Newcastle University

2014 - 2015 - Research Associate, University of York

Sept-Dec 2013 - BPS Postgraduate Fellow, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology


British Psychological Society (BPS)

Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR)


Research Interests

Broadly speaking, I am interested in typical and atypical language and literacy development. I have conducted research with children spanning wide age ranges who have language difficulties, including those with Down syndrome, dyslexia and Specific Language Impairment/Language Learning Impairment (SLI/LLI). I have specific interests in sleep, memory consolidation and word learning, which began during my PhD and developed through my first postdoctoral research project. I am also interested in the role that domain-general processes such as auditory skills, working memory and attention play in language development. 

I have experience with neuroscientific techniques, such as overnight sleep EEG and MRI, and my interdisciplinary PhD exposed me to methodologies used by health scientists (e.g. epidemiology and systematic reviews). As such, I am interested in applying cross-disciplinary methodologies to bridge the research gaps relating to the development of language skills in children, particularly in those with developmental difficulties. I am also very keen to promote the links between research, policy and practice. In 2013 I spent three months researching a Parliamentary briefing note on Special Educational Needs, which sparked my interest in conducting research which is relevant to both policy and educational/clinical practice.

Current Projects

I am currently working on a study investigating the links between auditory sequence analysis and language/literacy skill in adolescents. We are investigating the brain bases of these relationships alongside the behavioural link. We are also looking closely at the role of auditory working memory and auditory attention. Recently we have begun to develop nonverbal auditory working memory tasks that can be used with young children.


SPE1031: Brain and Behaviour I

SPE3025: Brain and Behaviour III