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NAPLIC Conferences

Annual conferences from NAPLIC

NAPLIC Conference 2024: “Developmental Language Disorder (DLD): the latest research and practice”

  • DATE: 27th April 2024
  • TIME: 9.30am to 4.30pm
  • VENUE: The Studio, Birmingham

Once again, the NAPLIC 2024 conference showed the power of getting people in a room together and sharing views, stories and information.

Feedback from the 2024 Conference

“I think that the mix this year and the message was even more powerful than the 2023
conference. It is brilliant for networking too.”

“It was an excellent conference. All the presenters were very interesting and held my attention
even after lunch. The venue was easy to find and the woman outside pointing the way was a
helpful touch. Delicious food and drink. The right number of breaks, well spaced out.”

“I went into the conference considering leaving Speech and Language Therapy, but have come
out feeling inspired and motivated by everyone that I met and everything that I heard, and
know that I am in the right profession!”

“This was my first ever conference and I was really inspired by all of the brilliant speakers,
members of the committee and all of the attendees- I felt really lucky to have been able to be
a part of this day and I will remember it for a very long time, it was a really inspiring day!
The day was enjoyable and informative – what more could I ask for? Many thanks to the
committee for your hard work, it is much appreciated.”


2024 Conference Exhibitors



Afasic supports and provides information for families with children and young adults who have Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) with a focus on Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). We work for improved services for children and families and campaign for better understanding and recognition of disorders, working together with NAPLIC to provide free online courses for parents of children with DLD.

We have information and support on our Afasic website and provide a range of publications and downloads, mostly free of charge. Our telephone Helpline is also available, primarily for parents who need advice and support.

Afasic organises Transition Courses for children moving from primary to secondary school. It is run in collaboration with local services. To set up a course in your area, please contact us.

Phone: 0207 490 9410
Helpline: 0300 666 9410

Registered charity number 1045617.

Better Communication CIC

Better Communication CIC is a not-for-profit community interest company. It provides expertise and support for the impact of commissioning and provision for speech, language and communication needs. Better Communication CIC has established the Balanced System® Scheme for Schools and Settings, a whole school and setting improvement process, jointly accredited with NAPLIC and Afasic. This has led to the engagement of approaching 300 schools and settings, thereby impacting on an estimated 130,000 children.

The Balanced System® Scheme for Schools and Settings is a strategic whole setting approach to improving outcomes for children and young people across the range of SLCN and SEND ( The scheme provides an overarching set of outcomes, approaches and outcome measures along with an impact framework across the core five strands of the Balanced System®: Support for Families & Young People, Environment, Workforce, Identification and Intervention.


Elklan Training delivers courses to teachers, teaching assistants, early years practitioners and parents to give them knowledge and practical strategies to develop children’s speech, language and communication skills. Elklan has trained and accredited over 85,000 educational practitioners through a network of over 4,000 tutors. The majority of Elklan’s Tutors are Speech and Language Therapists.

Elklan’s core courses will equip school staff with practical strategies to support language and communication development. The whole-school training (CFS) facilitates staff to cascade essential knowledge and strategies from the core course to the staff within their school or setting. In completing CFS, the whole setting will become an environment that supports the communication and language development of pupils. Elklan is especially effective for those with Special Education Needs.

Effective communication with family, friends and teachers is essential to children’s education and development. Communication is truly at the core of everything we do. Giving children the gift of communication is vitally important to their future.

J&R Press

Founded in 2007, J&R Press has become one of the leading providers of books and resources in SLT. As a small and independent outfit, we can embrace all aspects of learning and experience within the profession: from medical science, DLD, stammering and aphasia through to professional identity, navigating diversity, homelessness settings … and much, much more.

We will be delighted to welcome you to our stand at NAPLIC 2024 – do take the opportunity to browse and (maybe) buy, taking advantage of our conference discount. We would also love to hear if you have ideas for your own project and would like to chance to talk to us about what that entails and get to know us better.



SILSA is a flexible approach to SLCN support and training for schools. We are nearing the end of a two-year pilot programme with 16 mainstream primary schools in Hampshire, and from September 2024 SILSA will be available to any UK primary school*.  This will be via online training and support, plus we will partner with other experienced Speech and Language Therapists who wish to offer in-person SILSA Training locally. 

Support options include:

  • Individual modules in specific SLCN topics.
  • Whole school twilight / inset training. 
  • Our innovative SILSA Programme for teaching assistants to become ‘SILSAs’  ‘Speech, Interaction and Language Support Assistants’.  This programme starts with the accredited ELKLAN 5-11s course plus additional ‘SILSA’ training, and then provides ongoing CPD and individual support.

Please see our stall at the NAPLIC Conference or visit for more information.

*Early Years and Secondary versions are planned for future development.

Speech and Language Link

At Speech and Language Link, we are on a mission to make classrooms throughout the UK more communication friendly to improve the outcomes for students with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). We believe the best way to do this is through a whole school approach.

Good communication skills are linked to achievement and life chances. Unsupported speech and language delays affect attainment, learning, literacy, social relationships, behaviour, mental health and ultimately employment and social mobility.

Our award-winning packages will enable your school to develop a whole school approach to integrate support for children with SLCN in school and facilitate working more closely with parents and carers, and your multi-agency specialist teams.

Speech and Language Link Provides:

  • Training for staff
  • Identification
  • Intervention
  • Resources
  • Measured Progress

Why not take a free trial and find out why we are a leading provider of SLCN packages to schools throughout the UK at:


Speechmark, part of Routledge Education, publishes a wide range of high-quality resources for speech and language therapists and teachers, combining research expertise with tried-and-tested best practice.

Written by experts, our Speechmark resources support and inspire practitioners across education, health and social care, and are full of practical, easy-to-use materials to save time and enhance effectiveness.

To find out more and take a look at the latest catalogue please visit:

For writing enquiries or other queries, please get in touch with our Senior Editor, Clare Ashworth:

2024 Conference Programme

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Past conferences


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2024 Conference Speakers

Professor Courtenay Norbury NAPLIC President

Courtenay Norbury

Closing remarks

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

Welcome and introductions

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

Helen Stringer Speech and language therapist and teacher

Helen Stringer

NNUTS: embedding universal, targeted and specialist models of working in schools

Dr Helen Stringer is dual qualified as a speech and language therapist and teacher. She is currently working at Newcastle University teaching and researching into developmental (and occasionally acquired) speech and language disorders. Helen has previously worked in special and mainstream schools, in CAHMS and as manager of an NHS Speech and Language Therapy Service.

Much of Helen’s research focuses on evaluations of speech and language therapy interventions delivered in partnership with educational settings. Behavioural science theory underpins the methodology of most of her recent work, aiming to implement sustainable, evidence based interventions. You can read more about Helen’s work on her website.

Heather Price SaLT Lead Professional Advisor, Elklan

Heather Price

Effectiveness of information Carrying Word Intervention (ICW)

Heather has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for 25 years and has a particular interest in supporting pre-school children and their families.

Heather has worked across a wide range of settings with roles across the public, private and voluntary sector. Heather became an Elklan Tutor while working in the NHS nearly 20 years ago and is still passionate about sharing knowledge and skills with practitioners as well as supporting the development of new courses and training new Tutors.

Heather’s academic background includes her initial Speech and Language Therapy degree and then later in her career, a MSc in Healthcare Leadership. Heather is increasingly becoming involved in research and will be presenting the findings of an Information Carrying Words approach alongside Elklan’s Director, Henrietta McLachlan.

Henrietta McLachlan Co-founder of Elklan

Henrietta McLachlan

Effectiveness of information Carrying Word Intervention (ICW)

Henrietta co-founded Elklan in 1998 after qualifying as a SaLT in 1982. Elklan’s aim is to provide training and resources to support the speech, language and communication of all children but particularly those with SLCN in a wide variety of education settings. Henrietta has written many accredited training programmes, Language Builder books and other resources. She has also enabled other SaLTs and practitioners to publish their own resources through Elklan and STASS publications. Henrietta continues to support children in an Area Resource Base for children with PMLD and ASD and a mainstream school and finds it refreshing and a constant reminder of what we do and why we do it!

Elklan is becoming increasingly involved in research and Henrietta is very proud to have found funding to evaluate the effectiveness of the Information Carrying Word approach which is used by many SaLTs but which has very little evidence base. Heather and Henrietta will present the findings of a recent research project funded by The Communication Consortium’s Grant Programme.

Rachel Sievers DLD Specialist

'Working with adults with DLD'

I have worked as a speech and language therapist for 25 years with children and adults with speech, language and communication needs.

I particularly love working with adults with DLD and, over the last 8 years, I have developed a specialist service for them.

I am committed to raising awareness of the challenges and strengths of adults with DLD.

In 2020, I co-produced the first video on this subject for DLD Awareness Day with Lily Farrington and other adults with DLD – ‘Life as an adult with DLD’.

Since 2019, I have given presentations to a variety of organisations on understanding DLD and enabling people with DLD to work, learn and use their skills effectively. These have included Access to Work assessors, university disability support teams and speech and language therapy teams.

I have worked on a gradually increasing number of research projects into the needs of adults with DLD over the last few years. These have included a project to develop a better understanding of the issues and priorities around mental and physical health for people with DLD, with Courtenay Norbury and Mark Boyes.

I am currently a consultant on the Embracing Complexity Research Priority Setting project, which has included an adult with DLD amongst its neurodivergent participants for the first time.

I raise the profile of adults with DLD by commenting and posting regularly on Linked In on issues affecting adults with DLD.

Simone Ojei Lecturer, UCL Speech and Language Therapy

Simone Ojei

Can’t talk, won’t talk: supporting SLCN in youth justice settings

Since qualifying in 2003 Simone has worked in both the USA and the UK as a Speech and Language Therapist. She spent over 15 years working for the NHS and has also worked in the voluntary sector.

Simone currently works part-time as an independent practitioner with a wide range of communication needs and has specialist skills in working in deafness and with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). Simone works part-time as a Lecturer at UCL where she is a module co-ordinator on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences. She teaches on the topics of SEMH, speech sound disorders, deafness and professional studies. Simone’s research interests include adolescence, mental health, criminal justice and deafness.

Vanessa Lloyd-Esenkaya, PhD Speech and Language Therapist

Vanessa Lloyd-Esenkaya, PhD

'Friendships in children with DLD'

I am a recently qualified Speech and Language Therapist, working on the south coast of England. In addition to my clinical role working with school-age children, I am the author and illustrator of “Zedie and Zoola’s Playful Universe”, a resource from Speechmark Press designed to address communication barriers on the playground.

My academic background includes a PhD on the social side of Developmental Language Disorder. My research explores topics related to social development, friendships, and DLD. Since completing my doctoral research in 2020, I have collaborated with Engage with DLD (E-DLD) and with research groups exploring ways to improve the pathways for diagnosing autism.

In my clinical training as an SLT at City, University of London (2021 – 2023), I developed a holistic approach to therapy, centring my research project on the intersection of spirituality and healthcare access. My primary interest lies in collaboration with children and families to facilitate increased participation in everyday activities.

Imogen Berry SEND Trainer and Consultant

Imogen berry

A family perspective of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Imogen is a mother of three young men, one of whom has DLD. After completion of a BA Hons Russian, she initially qualified and worked as a primary and nursery teacher but has become a specialist speech and language teacher. She has worked in a specialist speech, language, and communication centre in Staffordshire, and in a mainstream setting as an assistant headteacher responsible for inclusion. She currently works independently as a trainer and consultant in SEND, with a focus on SLCN. She also undertakes various voluntary work to support young people and their families with SEND, and to raise awareness of DLD. She has previously been a chair of a school governing body and for a number of years ran a parent support group for parents with children at the speech and language centre.

In order to advocate for and support her son, she undertook an MA in Education (Equality and Diversity), achieving this in 2012. The focus of her research related to difficulties in language and literacy acquisition, with specific emphasis on Dyslexia and SLCN.

Ioan Berry

A family perspective of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Ioan was born and raised in Staffordshire and was diagnosed with Specific Language Impairment, (now called DLD), at the age of five. He had an Education, Health, and Care Plan throughout school until the age of eighteen. There he found a passion for the creative arts which he used as a format to express himself. He undertook a BA Hons degree in Performance and Media at the University of South Wales, achieving 1st Class Honours.

He is currently undertaking a two-year volunteer service program, serving in various organisations such as the National Memorial Arboretum, The British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s, and the BillionGraves Project.

Jotham Berry

A family perspective of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

Jotham, the elder brother to Ioan Berry, has a deep personal connection to Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), having witnessed Ioan’s struggles firsthand – from bullying to misunderstanding and challenges in both academic and social settings. Motivated by these experiences, Jotham is dedicated to raising awareness about DLD.

Currently aspiring to become an Educational Psychologist, Jotham is actively accumulating experience as a cover supervisor to strengthen his application for an Educational Psychology doctorate. Armed with a BSc in Psychology, he recently graduated with distinction in MSc Occupational Psychology. During his master’s program, Jotham conducted qualitative research, delving into the experiences of adults with DLD in the workplace. His focus was on identifying necessary adjustments and accommodations to benefit those with DLD in a work environment.

Passionate about creating inclusive environments that foster the thriving of all individuals, Jotham is committed to making a meaningful impact in both educational and occupational settings.


Conference summary 2024

Published 3rd May, 2024

We are making progress with DLD

Published 21st February, 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.

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