Lecturer and researcher. Worked in health services for 11 years, primarily with children with developmental speech and language disorders. This included time as a manager of a HSE speech and language therapy service during which she completed an MSc in Health Services Management. Awarded PhD (2013) 'Profiles and Characteristics of Sentence Production Impairments in Children with Specific Language Impairment', which was supported by a Health Research Board (HRB) Research Training Fellowship for Healthcare Professionals. Leads the SLCN (Speech, language and communication needs) research group (https://www.ul.ie/schoolalliedhealth/content/research-groups) in the School of Allied Health, UL. Member of proposal team for successful EU funded COST research network application (2014) COST IS1406 'Enhancing children's oral language skills across Europe and beyond-a collaboration focussing on interventions for children with difficulties learning their first language'. Vice-chair of Working Group one of the COST action's three working groups (2015-2019). WG1 are examining the theoretical underpinnings of intervention by undertaking systematic reviews of interventions for language impairment and with other working groups in the action have undertaken a survey of over 5,000 practitioners. Currently co-supervising three PhD students and research projects of students on the MSc (Professional Qualification) in Speech and Language Therapy. Course director post qualifying CPD programmes offered in School of Allied Health (2012 to 2015) and MSc in Speech and Language Therapy (June 2015-January 2016). Registered with CORU. Active member of Irish Association of SLTs.
Developmental Language Disorders (DLDs); Intervention Mechanisms; Assessment tools including dynamic assessment. Leads the SLCN (Speech, language and communication needs) research group (https://www.ul.ie/schoolalliedhealth/content/research-groups) in the School of Allied Health, UL, who are particularly interested in collaborative practice to achieve best outcomes for children with SLCN in schools. Vice-Chair Working Group 1 of COST Action IS1406 'Enhancing children's oral language skills across Europe and beyond-a collaboration focussing on interventions for children with difficulties learning their first language'. Currently gathering data to support clinical use of a tool for capturing sentence production difficulties in children. The story retell tool (Captain Grey and the Greedy Aliens) has been designed based on theory of underlying linguistic and processing deficits in DLD and to provide greater ecological validity than single sentence based tasks. Co-supervising PhDs in (i) collaborative working between speech and language therapists and teachers (Aoife Gallagher), (ii) dynamic assessment of narrative in children with Developmental Language Disorder (Louise-Gallagher Sterritt) and (iii) peer-mediated intervention for autistic children who are described as minimally verbal (Michelle O'Donoghue). Was a member of the Catalise consortium, lead by Professor Dorothy Bishop, achieving consensus on identification of and terminology for developmental language disorder. Co-author of IASLT (2017) position statement and guidance document on Developmental language disorder.
My main areas of teaching interest are child language development and disorders and clinical linguistics. I have also taught research methods and on professional development including evidence-based practice, clinical reasoning and aspects of health services management. Examples of modules taught are listed under teaching modules. This is not a comprehensive list. I have also been a guest lecturer on childhood language disorders for a number of years, to teachers undertaking the Post Graduate Diploma in SEN at Mary Immaculate College.
I aim to facilitate learners' deep understanding of concepts and skills; independent problem-solving, critical thinking and capacity to actively engage with new material and apply this beyond the classroom. Methods incorporate direct instruction, and enquiry-based learning embedded in classroom sessions; with online discussion forums used to address queries and facilitate joint learning between lectures. Case-based examples are a key feature of teaching. Teaching aids include PowerPoint, quizzes, video and audio recordings, role plays and demonstrations. Assessment methods include essays, presentations, debates and short answer exams.