Category: Conferences

NAPLIC 2022 conference summary

In a first for NAPLIC we held our very first hybrid conference, streaming live from the imposing Sheffield City Hall to delegates across the globe.

The speakers were a mixture of parents, professionals and academics, all reflecting on Developmental Language Disorder from their perspective.

Opening the day we had parent, Claire Hoyle reflecting on her daughter’s journey with DLD. From an academic angle, Saloni Krishnan presented ground-breaking work on DLD and the brain, Michelle St Clair spoke of social and emotional mental health and Nikki Botting about long term outcomes.

From a practitioner perspective Carolyn Gelenter, Ysanne Yeatman and Charlotte Hammant described their joint working and Rosalind Merrick about developing teamwork. With a foot in each camp (research and practitioner), long time NAPLIC member Rose Brooks summarised her PhD on teaching vocabulary. It was a stimulating day that went by so quickly.

Luckily for delegates the recordings will be available on the website soon.

Thank you to Charlotte Forwood for her incredible visual summaries. This one is of Rose Brooks’
vocabulary teaching presentation.

Conference 2022 is back live and in person

Join us on May 21st in Sheffield for a fantastic day of learning about Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). We continue the NAPLIC tradition of bringing you the very best in research and practice. This day is guaranteed to leave you inspired. Tickets are priced from £75 for in person attendance and £35 for livestream access. 

The theme is ‘DLD: thinking of the future.’  5 years on from the changes in terminology and criteria we are experiencing a big increase in awareness of DLD as well as an increase in the amount of research. At the conference we will bring together these two strands with insights into innovative practice. 

Conference delegates will hear from: 

  • Claire Hoyle, parent of a child with DLD, and now Afasic parent engagement officer, who will talk about plans to develop greater support for families of children and young people with DLD. A much-needed provision. 
  • Saloni Krishnan, will be presenting her research into the brain basis of DLD. I expect this ground-breaking work will be new to many. 
  • Rosalind Merrick will present her work on how young people with DLD can be supported to work collaboratively. Innovative work to support inclusive practice. 
  • Nikki Botting will be addressing the issue of young adults with DLD. This is important work in a much-neglected area.
  • Rose Brooks, a long term NAPLIC member, will be presenting her PhD on whole class vocabulary teaching and its impact on reading. This is innovative practice involved changing teaching practice to promote spoken language. 
  • Michelle St Clair will be addressing the issue of mental health in children and adolescents with DLD. Another hot topic! 
  • And in our practitioner slot, we have a teachers and Speech and Language Therapists from Westminster talking about whole system provision for children and young people with DLD. 

We have kept the prices very low, as we want to encourage as many people as possible to join us. The Sheffield City Hall is a spacious venue, so there will be lots of room for everyone to be covid safe. The live stream option makes the conference accessible to those who cannot travel. In person and live stream delegates will both have access to the recording after the conference. 

Book your tickets today! Bring a friend too and enjoy the day out! See you at #NAPLIC22

Book now

Conference 2021 summary

The lesson we learnt from this year’s conference is that no matter how much you prepare, you still need to be ready for the unexpected. The sudden failure of a server at our conference support partner resulted in a large number of delegates not being able to log on and watch the early speakers. It eventually got sorted, but we know it caused a great deal of frustration for many delegates. Thank you for your patience and perseverance.

We know it is not the same as the live event, but delegates will be able to log on and watch the presentations. We are also going to arrange some ‘watch parties’ so that delegates will be able to watch the presentations and then discuss them together. Keep an eye out for that.

“The NAPLIC conference is always a highlight of the year and this year felt unmissable. The range of speakers was excellent. I was so impressed with the way it was run. I really appreciated hearing from academics whose research I follow and also hearing about best practice. The balance between teachers/therapists felt particularly good this year. I think the Committee have done an incredible job pulling this conference together.”


The conference content was definitely top notch. Below is a brief summary of each presentation. 

The first speaker was NAPLIC President, Professor Courtenay Norbury from UCL. Summarising 10 years of her longitudinal SCALES study. Courtenay so often has little gems that really challenge thinking and one that struck me was that most children from lower SES have typical language development, so for most children language is resilient. This is contra to much media coverage. In relation to intervention Courtenay used the analogy of running marathons. Unless we keep going the impact of the intervention (like marathon training) fades. Something to ponder when designing services. 

Next Dr Yvonne Wren from Bristol spoke about the very exciting use of artificial intelligence to analyse language samples. Her team recorded a large number of children re-telling a simple narrative. In what sounds like a laborious task, they compared manual language samples to the AI analysis which in general proved reliable. The next step is to compare this to clinical samples, with the hope that it will support language sample analysis. What a time saver!

The technology theme continued with Professor Charles Hulme from Oxford who started by outlining the recently developed Language Screen app. As we would expect from this team it has been thoroughly developed. It is a reliable measure of language designed to be used by schools for screening for language needs. Charles then continued with the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) which has been rolled out to English schools on a truly mammoth scale. NELI has a strong evidence base, so it is giving schools a really effective tool to use to support young children at targeted level. 

NELI was the link into the next talk which was delivered by Louise Buckland from St Johns School in Dorking. St Johns were involved in earlier roll outs of NELI and so Louise had considerable experience to share. Of particular note was how they had integrated NELI into their overall support for children with SLCN. NELI was used part of a pathway, and children with higher level needs were then referred on to Speech and Language Therapy. NELI is part of the system not the answer to all children with SLCN. 

NAPLIC is all about collaborative practice and so we were very keen to hear from Specialist SLCN teacher, Mary-Jo Spearey and Speech and Language Therapist Pippa Cotterill who work together in Wales. What made it even more impressive is that they manage this across multiple local authorities and have continued this work over a number of years. They have a clearly defined offer which makes best use of resource and leads to positive outcomes. Mary-Jo and Pippa have added lots of resources to the conference portal for delegates to access. 

Professor Kate Nation from Oxford gave a fascinating talk about ‘book language’ that synthesised complex data and concepts very simply. Key points include: young children’s books use a wider range of words than child directed speech. The words are denser (carry more meaning), more abstract and morphologically complex.  Interestingly books contained more emotional vocabulary than child directed speech. The differences were not limited to vocabulary, as children’s books were also found to be syntactically more complex. Pre-school children who have been read to less are therefore less likely to be familiar with the demands of book language, which in turn may impact on their readiness for reading. 

The final two sessions of the day addressed oracy. Starting was Professor Neil Mercer from Cambridge. Neil provided great insight into the importance of spoken language in the classroom to promote learning. A powerful point was made about the balance between teacher talk and student talk, and in particular the need for students to take long turns in whole class discussions. To achieve this requires organisation and systematic teaching of these skills. Neil emphasised that oracy was inclusive, as systematic teaching of skills supported all learners.

This point was picked up by Dr Wendy Lee from Lingo in her talk to finish the day. Wendy talked about how oracy approaches can be enhanced for students with Developmental Language Disorder by increasing the use of visual supports, comprehension monitoring strategies and extra modelling. This can be hugely beneficial, but it requires collaboration, a theme that underpins much of the day.

There were a number of themes that ran through the day including the importance of the classroom and the language opportunities it offers for our children and young people with DLD, technology and how that can be utilised to increase reach and efficiency ,and collaboration between professions. Our presenters brought together research and applied it to the real world in a way that delegates had much to think about and apply to practice. Thank you to our incredible speakers!


Early bird ticket prices for the 2021 NAPLIC conference end on 21st April

Our Early Bird ticket rates for members and non members will end on 21st April.

The 2021 NAPLIC conference will be held on 8th May online with a theme of “Language: The Bridge Across the Gap”.

A full list of conference speakers has been announced and conference programme for this fantastic event is available to view.


Early bird booking now open for the 2021 NAPLIC conference

We are delighted to announce that booking is now open for our 2021 conference.

The 2021 NAPLIC conference will be held on 8th May online with a theme of “Language: The Bridge Across the Gap”.

Once again we have outstanding and inspiring speakers who will be sharing their knowledge about DLD and wider speech, language and communication needs.

The line up includes Professor Charles Hulme from Oxford University addressing interventions in Early Years, Professor Courtenay Norbury from UCL talking about Developmental Language Disorder across ages and Professors Kate Nation from Oxford and Neil Mercer from Cambridge outlining language and its impact on learning. And that is only the start!

A full list of conference speakers has been announced and conference programme has been released and it promises to be a fantastic event.

This array of speakers will have great appeal to all educational professionals including class teachers, SENCOs and Educational Psychologists, as well as specialist SLCN teachers and Speech and Language Therapists. It is online, so it is convenient. It is also very well priced. So please share details with multi-professional colleagues, and bring a friend.

We encourage you to book on our Early Bird rates.


NAPLIC conference 2020 will now be livestreamed

The NAPLIC committee decided on Thursday 12th March to transfer our conference on March 21st online. Instead of meeting in Sheffield, we will livestream the event.

Details of how to access the livestream conference won’t be available until Wednesday 18 March. If you haven’t received details by Thursday 19th march please email

A full statement on the new conference details is available here

NAPLIC Conference 2020

The 2020 NAPLIC conference will be held on Saturday 21st March in Sheffield with a theme of “Developmental Language Disorder: moving forward together”.

Once again we have outstanding and inspiring speakers who will be sharing their knowledge about DLD and wider speech, language and communication needs.

A full list of conference speakers has been announced and conference programme has been released and it promises to be a fantastic event.

NAPLIC 2019 conference summary

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a relatively new term, but it is very common with approximately two students in every mainstream classroom presenting with this condition. Most simply, DLD is trouble with understanding and / or talking. Recently the NAPLIC annual conference was held with the theme of ‘Growing Up with Developmental Language Disorder.’ The idea was to explore how DLD changes and how we can  provide support at different stages from early years, through primary and secondary education into young adulthood.

The day was opened by Juliet Wright, a young person with DLD, who very powerfully expressed the experience of being a young person with DLD. Her top tips included:

  • Make lessons visual, calm and fun
  • Keep language simple and flag up key words (ideally in advance)
  • Remember it takes longer for me to remember
  • Lessons are stressful and tiring, and so I need time for breaks
  • Give me strategies to support me when the words just won’t come.

Juliet struggles with language, but her needs have been identified and supported. Many others are not identified. Maxine Winstanley from University of Manchester found in her research that 50% of first-time young offenders had previously unidentified DLD. This contrasted with young adults with identified DLD who had been well supported in school. They were less likely to exhibit risky behaviour or be in contact with the police than their peers. Take home message: young people with unidentified needs are at far more risk

Anna Sowerbutts and Amanda Finer from Hackney outlined their programme, ‘DLD and Me’ to support children and young people understand their DLD diagnosis. The impact on students’ self-awareness has been transformative. We look forward to this being published later in the year.

Melanie Rudkins and Marie Newton work together in the multi-disciplinary support service in Brighton and Hove. Their theme was collaboration: amongst professionals, but importantly with schools and families. Something that we at NAPLIC fully endorse.

Support for students with DLD in secondary has often been a challenge, but Billie Lowe from City, University of London showed that a one hour INSET with secondary teachers can have a positive impact on how they teach vocabulary.

Data from a number of longitudinal studies was synthesised by Cristina McKean from Newcastle University into simple messages. Language needs that are identified at 4 years of age are very likely to persist, so intervention needs to start then. There is a small group of children (about 4%) who emerge after 4 years of age.

The day ended with a focus on Early Years and the big surprise came from Danielle Matthews at University of Sheffield who showed that whilst encouraging parents to respond to young babies’ communication (‘contingent talk’) had a positive effect, the same was not true for shared book reading. Deborah Powers from the ‘Time to Talk’ initiative in Warwickshire outlined how her innovative service support Early Years settings to provide quality support. Training had a great impact on staff and on the children they worked with.

NAPLIC is the national organisation for professionals who work with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and in particular Developmental Language Disorder. We are a committed bunch of volunteers who have been running for 35 years. Because we are volunteer run, we are able to be very cost-effective, with membership from £20 per year and conference from £99. Join us and support a better future for children and young people with DLD. To learn more about Developmental Language Disorder go to

Stephen Parsons


2019 conference a huge success

The 2019 conference theme ‘Growing up with Developmental Language Disorder’ was a huge success.

The day was opened by Juliet Wright, a young person with DLD, who very powerfully expressed the experience of being a young person with DLD.

The other speakers were a combination of research and practice looking at the pathway of DLD in terms of its presentation, services and interventions.

Key learning points included:

  • self awareness of DLD is crucial;
  • YP with identified DLD do better than those who have identified needs;
  • language needs at 4 years will continue, so intervention needs to be functional;
  • language interventions can still be successful at secondary school;
  • early years is crucial, but we need to look closely at the interventions, as what we think might work does not always work;
  • collaboration is key.

Early Bird conference rates extended until 15 February 2019

We are delighted to announce that we have extended the Early Bird rates for NAPLIC’s 2019 Conference: “Growing up with DLD”to 15 February 2019.

Hurry – conference places are selling out fast!

To find out more about the conference, view the full range of conference speakers and read our conference programme.



NAPLIC 2022 conference summary

Published 5th June, 2022


In a first for NAPLIC we held our very first hybrid conference, streaming live from the imposing Sheffield City Hall to delegates across the globe.

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