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Save the date: the next NAPLIC conference will be held on May 8th 2021 in Sheffield

The 2020 NAPLIC conference was livestreamed on Saturday 21st March with a theme of ‘Developmental Language Disorder: moving forward together.’

A big thank you to so many who worked behind the scenes on our 2020 conference. Our speakers who we made very short notice demands of to pre-record their presentations, as well as interrupt their already demanding weeks. To Carol Lingwood, our conference administrator for dealing with all manner of queries and hiccoughs and to Darren and Pete at Stream7 for coaching us through the technical aspects and making it all run so smoothly.

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Register your interest in 2021

Next year’s conference will be held on May 8th 2021 in Sheffield.

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2020 Speakers

  • James Law
  • Susan Ebbels
  • Jules Daulby
  • Marie Gascoigne
  • Aoife Gallagher
  • Amanda Owen Van Horne 
  • Hannah Harvey
  • Trish Hicken
  • Caroline Rowland
  • Courtenay Norbury

Conference summary

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2020 Conference speakers

Susan Ebbels Speech & Language Therapist

Susan Ebbels

Evidence based perspective

Dr Susan Ebbels is a Speech & Language Therapist and Director of Moor House Research and Training Institute at Moor House School & College, Surrey, UK, a special school for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) aged 7-19.

She is on the editorial boards of International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders and Child Language Teaching and Therapy. She has an honorary lectureship at UCL and is also a specialist advisor for Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. She is passionate about the need for evidence based practice and has carried out and coordinated many intervention studies on a range of areas, but with a particular focus on improving the comprehension and production of grammar in children with language disorders using her SHAPE CODINGTM system. She delivers regular courses both on the SHAPE CODINGTM system and on the current evidence base for school-aged children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

Jules Daulby Teacher and literacy specialist

Jules Daulby

Education perspective

Jules Daulby is a teacher and literacy specialist. She has a specific interest in dyslexia and developmental language disorder and has learned much from her time working with speech and language therapists as Head of a speech and language base within a secondary mainstream school. Jules now works in a special school as Head of English and Communication.

James Law Professor

James Law

Public health perspective

James Law is Professor of Speech and Language Science at Newcastle University. He has had research grant funding of in the order of £9m and has published over 250 peer reviewed and other publications. Recently a lead of the UK’s Better Communication Research Programme, the Australian Centre for Research Excellence in Child Language and was chair of Cost Action IS1406 Enhancing children’s oral language skills across Europe and beyond: A collaboration focusing on interventions for children learning their first language until early 2019. He is now running a programme grant Social InEquality and its Effects on child
Development (SEED): A study of birth cohorts in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and another developing an early language identification measure for health visitors in England. He became an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2018 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) in 2019.

Marie Gascoigne Better Communication CIC

Marie Gascgoine

SLT consultant for commissioning and service design

Marie Gascoigne is Director and Founder of Better Communication CIC, a not-for-profit organisation established to support the commissioning and design of services to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication. This work has increasingly extended to other aspects of children’s services.

Marie is qualified as a speech and language therapist and in a career spanning 30 years, has worked as a practitioner, academic, researcher and author, returning to the NHS as a strategic lead to implement a service transformation based on the principles of what has now developed into the Balanced System®. Marie has represented the sector at a policy level for over 20 years including as Trustee of RCSLT and subject expert support to a number of DfE funded projects.

Sandra Capelin

Sandra Capelin

My family’s experience of DLD

Sarah is a retired Registered Sick Children’s Nurse, who also worked as a Classroom Assistant in a Unit for Hearing Impaired Children attached to a local primary school for 11 years.  Yet despite having worked in both the medical and educational systems, she was still unable to get a diagnosis for her haemophiliac son until he was 12 years of age and Rachel, with her Developmental Language Disorder, until she was 16 years old.  Hence, she decided to write the book, Rachel the ‘write’ to speak in an attempt to encourage other parents to fight for both their, and their children’s, rights.

Rachel Capelin

Rachel Capelin

My experience of DLD

I grew up with Developmental Language Disorder. Unfortunately, due to this, I do not remember my childhood; only what I have read and what has been told to me. I struggled academically and emotionally all my life but I knew that I wanted to work with children and was determined to have the NNEB qualification, which I have achieved.

I have worked with children with Special Needs and with the NHS as a Health Visitor’s Assistant for 16 years. With my children now grown and left school, I now work as an Early Help Family Support Worker in Children and Family Services, working alongside a Social Care Team.

Hannah Harvey Assistant lecturer

Hannah Harvey

Solving a Rubik’s cube and diagnosing DLD – some distinct similarities!

Hannah is an assistant lecturer and doctoral researcher in Speech and Language Therapy at Birmingham City University. Her PhD research, supervised by Helen Jenkins and Kate Thomson, centres on the use of terminology and diagnostic practices of speech and language therapists working with paediatric clients in the UK. Previous work in DLD has involved studying staff and service user perceptions of a preschool resource base, and a systematic review of therapeutic approaches for bilingual children with DLD. She is particularly interested in the sociological aspects of speech and language therapy and supporting the growth of a rich evidence base which forms a symbiotic relationship with clinical practice.

Hannah’s drive for research in DLD was ignited having seen the impact on young people’s lives when their needs are supported by the great work of speech and language therapists. She is always looking for accessible ways to coproduce research.

Hannah presented her research both at Child Language Symposium and RCSLT conferences in 2019, and has been invited to discuss her work at the West Midlands and London DLD CENs, as well as with local services developing DLD pathways.

Aoife Gallagher Lecturer

Aoife Gallagher

Listening to children and young people with DLD about their optimal supports in school

Aoife qualified as a speech and language therapist in Trinity College Dublin in 1996. She worked as an SLT with children and young people (CYP) across different NHS service settings in London for over 10 years. Between 2007 and 2013, she was manager of therapy services at Moor House School, Surrey, UK. During this time, she co-facilitated a national debate about DLD with Susan Ebbels which culminated in an international Delphi study. She was a member of the consortium for the CATALISE study. Aoife also worked as an expert witness at SEN tribunals in the UK.
Aoife is currently lecturer on the SLT post-graduate masters course at the University of Limerick. She has just submitted her PhD, the aim of which was to establish agreed premises to inform the collaborative practice of SLTs and teachers in school when working with CYPs with DLD. An important strand of the research has involved engaging children with DLD to design their optimal supports in school.

Trish Hicken Specialist Language Teacher

DLD Together Parent Project

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.

Amanda Owen Van Horne ASHA certified SLP

Amanda Van Horne

Embedding language interventions in a science context: Preliminary data from a clinical trial with children with DLD

Amanda Owen Van Horne is an ASHA certified SLP and an Associate Professor at the University of Delaware.

She trained at the University of Texas at Dallas and Purdue University. She directs the Treatment Efficacy & Language Learning (TELL) lab, which studies language learning and intervention for children with Developmental Language Disorder.

Caroline Rowland Professor

How to support children’s language in the early years

Caroline Rowland is Director of the Language Development Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, Professor of First Language Acquisition at Radboud University and was, until recently, a co-Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (, a multi-million pound collaboration between the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster. For over 20 years, she has been studying how young children learn to communicate with language, how the developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by cross-linguistic, cultural and individual variation. Her textbook, Understanding Child Language Acquisition, is an introduction to the most important research on child language acquisition over the last fifty years, and to some of the most influential theories in the field.

Professor Courtenay Norbury NAPLIC President

Courtenay Norbury

Moving Forward Together

Courtenay Norbury is a Professor of Developmental Disorders of Language and Communication at University College London, where she leads the Literacy, Language and Communication (LiLaC) Lab. She is a qualified speech-language therapist, did her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and is Chair of Governors at a local primary school.

Her research focuses on language disorders across a range of different clinical conditions. She currently leads 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 60 peer-reviewed publications and a co-authored a popular textbook, Language Disorders from Infancy to Adolescence.


NAPLIC 2020 Conference: “Developmental Language Disorder: moving forward together”

Saturday March 21st saw the first ever NAPLIC online conference. This was thrust upon us by circumstances, and although a very different experience it was amazingly successful.

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