What is NAPLIC?

Established national organisation of professionals


A national organisation of teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals

NAPLIC Mission Statement

NAPLIC’s mission is to advance:

  • collaborative practice through the provision of opportunities for inter-professional communication
  • best practice through information and knowledge exchange
  • NAPLIC members’ interests through liaison between agencies and organisations nationally and regionally
  • the voice of NAPLIC members when national issues and government initiatives request or require responses

NAPLIC is a registered charity (no 1032678) and was founded in 1986

It is an established national organisation of teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals.

NAPLIC is led by a volunteer committee, elected by membership and exists to promote and increase the awareness and understanding of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, amongst all the professionals involved in meeting their needs.

NAPLIC’s current president is Courtenay Norbury, who succeeded Kate Ripley in 2016. Our former and founder president was David Crystal.

National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children (NAPLIC) s an association for all professionals concerned with children who have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Its membership includes teachers, speech and language therapists, psychologists, staff across the children’s workforce and others who are involved professionally with children with speech, language and learning difficulties to Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) and related communication problems.

NAPLIC Committee

Courtenay Norbury Honorary President

Courtenay Norbury

Courtenay Norbury is a Professor of Developmental Disorders of Language and Communication at University College London. She is a qualified speech-language therapist, did her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, is a founding member of RADLD and was formerly Chair of Governors at a local primary school.

Her research focuses on language disorders across a range of different clinical conditions. She led the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES), a population study of language disorder from school entry to the end of primary school. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and a co-authored a popular textbook: Language Disorders from Infancy to Adolescence.

Stephen Parsons NAPLIC Chair

Stephen Parsons has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for 35 years. He trained in Australia but has spent most of his career in England and specifically in Hackney in London. He now lives in Norfolk and works as a researcher, trainer and author. He is particularly interested in how whole class practice can include children with developmental language disorder.

Stephen is active on Twitter via @WordAware

Email Stephen Parsons

Emma Jordan Vice-Chair

Emma Jordan is a specialist speech and language therapist, working for over twenty years in the NHS. Emma is joint Service Manager for Worcestershire Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service and continues her clinical practice primarily supporting children and young people in mainstream schools.

Emma has a history of working in close collaboration with education colleagues. She worked in partnership with Sue Hayden, specialist teacher, co-writing the Language for Learning training courses, materials and Language for Learning books.

Emma has been part of NAPLIC’s voluntary committee for more than ten years and is currently Vice Chair.

Derek Burgon Honorary Treasurer

Derek Burgeon

Derek Burgon has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist since 1986 having qualified from the then Birmingham Polytechnic. He has worked in children’s community services and special schools alongside teachers and support assistants.

His current post is to work with teaching staff and parents to support children in mainstream schools with speech, language and communication needs associated with moderate learning difficulties.

Anna Rhodes NAPLIC Matters Editor

Anna Rhodes

Anna has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 25 years, for most of her career with school aged children with DLD.

She was Head of Therapy at a special school for over 13 years and has recently re-trained as a Registered Intermediary, now working with vulnerable adults and children within the criminal justice system. Anna is the current editor of the NAPLIC Matters newsletter.

Trish Hicken Secretary

Trish Hicken has worked for Lincolnshire County Council for many years initially as a primary classroom teacher before specialising as a SENCO and then SLCN leading a speech and language unit.

She has worked collaboratively with Speech and Language Therapists for 18 years and has been employed as a Specialist Language Teacher with the ECLIPS team since 2007, working with those aged 4-24.

Trish is active on Twitter and Facebook and has particular interests in Developmental Language Disorder, Vocabulary and the links between SLCN and the Juvenile Justice System.

Cheryl Dyer Membership secretary

Cheryl Dyer

Cheryl started her teaching career as a secondary music specialist. The experience of teaching lower set GCSE groups, in particular, sparked an interest in understanding why some children and young people find it harder to learn than others.

After many years of teaching across all key stages, and further study, she joined the centrally–based, Surrey County Council Learning and Language Support specialist teaching team in 2005.

John Parrott Committee member

John Parrott

John has been a member of NAPLIC since its inception (1985), longstanding committee member and was the Chair from 2003 to 2013.

John’s Career in the field of SEN/SLCN/DLD since 1978 which has included being a TA, teacher, headteacher, I CAN professional advisor, school improvement partner, registered intermediary, University of Birmingham distance learning tutor and SEN consultant.

John’s current roles include Chair of the Communication Consortium, specialist tribunal member re SEN and Disability and secondary school governor.

Sarah Earl Committee member

Sarah Earl

Sarah Earl originally trained for teaching KS2 in Psychology and Education with London University. During her years in teaching KS1-3 (in specialist facilities and mainstream) in Sussex she has increased her focus on SEN, particularly SLCN, Dyslexia and Dycalculia. She now works on a freelance basis training teachers and carrying out exam access assessments.

Sarah joined the committee three years ago. She regularly represents NAPLIC on the Communication Trust’s Communication Consortium and contributes the reviews of recent government publications and other articles relating to current issues to the newsletters.

Carolyn Glenter Committee member

Carolyn Glenter

Carolyn Gelenter initially trained as an Early Childhood teacher (0-8 years) and has taught across the primary age range.She works as an advisory teacher for SLCN for Westminster LA, where together with the local NHS SaLT service, she developed a range of collaborative working models over the past 15 years.

Carolyn is also a licensee for ICAN.

Mary Jo Spearey Committee member

Mary Jo Spearey

Mary Jo Spearey was born and grew up in Derry in Northern Ireland in troubled times. She began her teaching career over 34 years ago including working as an Advisory Teacher. Throughout her career she has always been extremely interested in Speech, Language and Communication.

In 2009 she took up the post of Head of Service of ComIT, Communication Intervention Team – a school-based service that serves the five local Education Authorities of South East Wales. Currently, ComIT is one of three teams that makes up SenCom – Sensory and Communication Service.

ComIT has developed very close integrated and joint working with the local health authority Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABuHB) Speech and Language Service. Approximately 250 schools across the region are supported and enabled to understand, identify and help children and young people to develop their Speech, Language and Communication skills, especially those with SLCN.

Mandy Grist Committee member

Mandy has worked as a speech and language therapist for over 24 years.

The majority of her career has been spent working in specialist settings for children and young people with Developmental Language Disorder, initially as a class based speech and language therapist and more latterly as Head of Therapy, a role she currently holds. She particularly enjoys working in partnership with teaching colleagues to support children inside the classroom.

Mandy lives and works in Surrey.

Victoria Wadsworth Committee member

Victoria Wadsworth

Victoria was first introduced to the fabulousness of NAPLIC by her teacher work friend and colleague who was involved in the organisation. Victoria has always been really impressed by the quality of information NAPLIC offers, accessed through the amazing conferences, webinars, newsletters and website. NAPLIC’s focus on DLD and specifically promoting and sharing current research and collaborative practice between children, young people, parents and practitioners is unique.

Victoria is particularly passionate about the organisation’s ethos around inclusivity, and the great sharing and learning we can do together, from and with each other.

Victoria has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for many years within West Yorkshire and the North West and for a range of different organisations including the NHS and The Communication Trust. She is currently working as an independent Speech and Language Therapist working in a mainstream school and also work as a Lecturer Practitioner at the University of Huddersfield.

Victoria says she feels ‘privileged to be a member of the NAPLIC committee and embrace the exciting new experiences and challenge that this brings’!

Rhi O'Gorman Committee member


A relative newbie to DLD and a total newbie to NAPLIC, Rhi graduated from UCL’s Speech and Language Therapy course in 2013. She worked in Early Years in London before settling in Bristol where she works for an independent organisation in Mainstream Schools.

Rhi’s main aim is to get out there in the classroom and to integrate strategies and approaches to support speech, language and communication wherever possible.

Sarah Clarke Committee member

Sarah Clarke began her career in education as a primary school teacher in rural Warwickshire. She soon qualified as a SENCO, completing the NASENCO award at the University of Worcester. After working as a SENCO in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Devon, Sarah took the role as an advisory teacher for SLCN and autism.

She has completed the PG Dip. LACIC at the University of Sheffield and is also an ELKLAN tutor.


We are making progress with DLD

Published 21st February, 2024

NAPLIC 2024 Conference Bookings Now Open!

Published 17th January, 2024

NAPLIC Autumn 2023 Newsletter is now available

Published 11th December, 2023


NAPLIC 2024 Conference booking now open

The NAPLIC 2024 Conference will be held in Birmingham on Saturday April 27th 2024. We will keep you updated with the details as they are finalised.

Book online


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