Category: Conferences

Conference summary 2024

Once again, the NAPLIC conference showed the power of getting people in a room together and sharing views, stories and information.

We started the day hearing the lived experience of Ioan Berry, a young man with DLD. Ioan highlighted how curriculum related visits whilst at school helped his learning. Together with strong creative interests outside of school this helped build him into the confident young man he is today. I expect we will be hearing more from Ioan in the future!

Ioan’s Mum Imogen Berry counted up the professionals who have supported her son from Early Years to post-university and it came to the astonishing figure of 42. And even though most professionals were supportive Imogen reported that the only time she could truly relax was when Ioan was at a specialist Language Provision for 3 years as she knew his needs were being met and he was being well supported.

And in a first for NAPLIC, we heard from a sibling of a person with DLD. And Jotham Berry is one great big brother. He has been a protective and guiding presence for Ioan, and interpreted for, advocated for and protected him. This support has extended right through from childhood to dissertation level. Jotham’s research was about the work experiences of people with DLD, so his dedication is profound.

Following the Berry family was the trailblazing Speech and Language Therapist, Rachel Sievers. Rachel has been working with adults with DLD for many years now. Rachel outlined the lack of services and awareness but importantly the impact that diagnosis can have on adults with DLD, including on mental health, social inclusion and self advocacy. And whilst progress has been made, the issues that Rachel outlined in 2005 are still the same issues in 2024. We need to do much more for adults with DLD.

Simone Ojei is a Speech and Language Therapist and lecturer at UCL. Simone outlined the impact of language on social, emotional mental health with a particular focus on those in the youth justice system. In three case studies Simone addressed the complexity, barriers and missing information that are common in this context. Simone advocated for a partnership approach as the most effective method of working.

Henrietta McLachlan and Heather Price from Elklan presented their research into Information Carrying Words (ICW) that came from the Derbyshire Language Scheme. This technique is widely used, but under-researched, and so much needed. The intervention was delivered via trained TAs and proved to have a significant impact. Heather and Henrietta also presented the Higher Level Communication Practitioner which is new scheme being developed, and will have multiple providers.

Vanessa Llyod-Esenkaya addressed the topic of friendships for children with DLD. Whilst professionals may focus on the classroom, children are most interested in friendships, but this is often the area that is neglected. Vanessa advocated for foscussing on ‘activity’ and ‘participation’ as opposed to ‘impairment. She also made a strong case for working with children and young people when conducting research.

Our final presenter was Professor Helen Stringer, talking about the 10 year ‘Northumbria Healthcare and Newcastle  University Universal, Targeted and Specialist (NNUTS) Framework.’ A key component of the approach was working with schools to ensure that support for SLCN becomes embedded across the schools. This allows for much more efficient working long term as staff have higher levels of skills and schools can offer far greater support. We look forward to hearing more when papers are published and resources become available.

Across the day lived experiences, practitioner and academic perspectives all added to an advancement in understanding. Conference delegates were left feeling inspired!

Thank you all who contributed and attended.

Videos of the event will be made available for all attendees shortly. Recordings will also be available via

NAPLIC 2024 Conference Bookings Now Open!

We will be back live in Birmingham with all things Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

The conference will be called “Developmental Language Disorder (DLD): the latest research and practice” and will take place on 27th April at The Studio in Birmingham.

Confirmed speakers include:

  1. Henrietta McLachlan from Elklan: The effectiveness of information carrying word intervention
  2. Ioan, Imogen and Jotham Berry: A family perspective of DLD (person with DLD, parent and sibling)
  3. Helen Stringer from Newcastle University: a 10 year study to embed universal, targeted and specialist language services in schools
  4. Vanessa Lloyd Esenkaya: Friendships in children with DLD
  5. Rachel Sievers: Learning From Adults with DLD

View full programme

Early bird booking prices

  • Early bird member until 4th April 2024: £130 (£155 from 5th April)
  • Early bird non-member until 4th April 2024: £170 (£195 from 5th April)

NAPLIC conference 2023 summary

I am writing this over a month after our 2023 conference, partly because my head is still spinning. So many ideas and connections. The conference gave professionals, families and people with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) the opportunity to learn from one another. It was a real highlight, and one that left delegates feeling extra-energised.

The day started with our DLD activists Shelbi Annison, Sophie Franks and Damian Quinn who shared their lived experiences, and in doing so, moved many (OK, most if not all) of the audience to tears. Hearing about the hurdles they have all needed to overcome and continue to overcome and then the actions they take to raise awareness is humbling.

Dr Val Brooks was the next speaker and she addressed language and trauma, bringing a total wealth of knowledge to this important and timely topic. The centrality of the early childhood experience to all of life was a key take home message. Every word of Val’s presentation carried such wisdom that it is one that I’ll need to watch again on the recording.

Genetics and DLD is an area that is very new to many of us, and potentially a bit daunting, but in her talk Dr Dianne Newbury was able to convey complex information incredibly clearly. A key message, and one we need to get to a wider audience, is that DLD has a genetic basis, but it is not down to any one gene, and more likely to be a number of genes.

SENCO Katie Little packed a mass into her presentation, giving a fantastic overview of how she has developed a whole school approach for Developmental Language Disorder. Katie has taken a methodical step by step approach to setting up systems in one school and then moving to another school to start again. Katie is an inspiration.

Our final speaker was Dr Lisa Archibald who provided a real overview of working memory and how it relates to DLD. Lisa stressed that general memory training was unlikely to be effective, but teaching strategies and developing language skills were the best way to improve working memory skills. A clear take home message.

Thank you to all who attended. We hope to see you next year. Keep an eye on the website and social media or join NAPLIC to find out more about next year’s conference.

Stephen Parsons

Booking now open for the 2023 Conference and Symposium

We are delighted to announce that booking has now opened for the 2023 NAPLIC Conference “Developmental Language Disorder from every angle” which will take place in Birmingham in April.

This year, along with our popular annual conference, we also have an additional Symposium.

The conference will take place on Saturday 22 April with the Symposium on the Friday 21 April.

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 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.


Conference summary 2024

Published 3rd May, 2024

We are making progress with DLD

Published 21st February, 2024

NAPLIC 2024 Conference Bookings Now Open!

Published 17th January, 2024


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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