The UK's leading conference for DLD and SLCN

NAPLIC Conferences

Annual conferences from NAPLIC

NAPLIC Conference 2023

The 2023 NAPLIC conference took place on Saturday 22nd April. The theme was ‘Developmental Language Disorder from every angle’ and included topics related to DLD in relation to mental health, genetics, working memory and classroom support. We heard from the trailblazing adults with DLD who have become activists. An opportunity not to be missed. We had a superb line up of speakers including Val Brooks, Dianne Newbury and Lisa Archibald.

Recordings now available to purchase

Recordings are available free for live attendees and for purchase after the event for those who do not attend in person. Conference attendees have been emailed the link. You can purchase the recordings below.

Conference write up

The general aim of the symposium, which took place on 21st April, was to deepen participants’ knowledge of DLD diagnosis and apply this to clinical practice.

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is a persistent language problem with a significant impact on everyday social or educational progress. Recent international efforts have increased awareness of the consensus around the term DLD, but there is still much work to be done! In this workshop, we unpacked the criteria and characteristics of DLD in detail. Guided by volumes in The DLD Diagnostic Toolbox, we will address questions related to diagnosing DLD and examine specific case examples. We also considered challenges and facilitators to implementation in practice.

“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.”





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. Registered charity number 1045617.

Phone: 0207 490 9410
Helpline: 0300 666 9410

Better Communication CIC

Better Communication CIC is a not-for-profit community interest company. It provides expertise and support to demonstrate impact of commissioning and provision for speech, language and communication needs. Better Communication CIC has established the Balanced System® Scheme for Schools and Settings, an improvement process, jointly accredited with NAPLIC and Afasic which has led to the engagement of approaching 300 schools and settings, thereby impacting on an estimated 110,000 children.

The scheme is a whole setting and system approach to improving outcomes for children and young people across the range of SLCN ( It has been created in response to schools’ demand for a strategic approach to understanding their role in providing support for speech, language and communication. It 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 are leaders in providing accredited speech therapy training to educators and parents, to help support children and young people’s Language and Learning.

Over 3,500 Speech and Language Professionals have trained as Elklan Tutors to deliver Elklan courses.

Over 80,000 practitioners have completed an Elklan course to support children and young people.

What Elklan does is unique. We’re the only organisation offering a choice of accredited online courses and local face-to-face courses tailored for different professional roles and child age groups.

We write our own courses, which are externally accredited by OCN London, and produce a host of supporting materials – giving you the confidence and expertise to make a difference.

Between 2020 and 2022, Elklan partnered with Education Development Trust to deliver the Early Years
Professional Development Programme funded by DfE. We successfully delivered our training to over 1,400 practitioners and child minders, and 744 settings who achieved accreditation at level 3 and 4.

J&R Press

J&R Press is an independent publisher specialising in books and resources for speech and language therapists at all levels: students, academics and clinicians. We have years of experience in publishing and work closely with our authors to produce high-quality, affordable resources. Our mantra is: ‘Know why you do it, as well as how you do it’, so all content is underpinned by sound academic research whilst being very relevant in the day-to-day practice of clinicians.


The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists is the professional body for speech and language therapists and support workers. We promote excellence in practice and influence health, education, justice and social care policies to achieve the best possible outcomes for people of all ages with communication and swallowing difficulties and their families.

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:


Verbo is an online speech and language therapy toolkit for primary and secondary schools. Developed by a team of NHS speech and language therapists, Verbo upskills and empowers school-based professionals to support children and young people to develop communication skills for life.

Designed to complement a school’s existing SaLT service, Verbo supports high quality teaching and a school’s ordinarily available provision.

Current features include:

  • Huge video library of therapists explaining and demonstrating activities, with ready-to-go downloadable resources
  • A range of information leaflets and staff training webinars
  • Screening tools for EYFS through to KS4 to identify needs
  • Automatically generated targets with recommended activities
  • Progress tracking for individual pupils
  • Resource sharing with parents/carers
  • Personalised data reports

Coming soon: Post-16 content, young person access, in-app calling and more!

Find out more and sign up for a free trial at

2023 Conference Summary

View summary

2023 Conference speakers (more to be announced)

Shelbi Annison

Adults with DLD: experiences and activism

Sophie Franks

Adults with DLD: experiences and activism

Damian Quinn

Dr Val Brooks Consultant Speech and Language Therapist: SEMH, Devon NHS Trust

Why Trauma Informed needs to be Language Aware

Val has worked in a number of specialist roles supporting children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH). Many of these children and young people have a history of early trauma. In 2010, Val established the Speech and Language Therapy service within Devon Youth Justice Service, assessing the communication skills of young people presenting with a wide range of attachment, communication, and mental health needs. In 2017, Val received a national award from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in recognition of this work. Val wrote and teaches the 3 day Masters Module on language development and the interaction between Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and complex trauma at Plymouth Marjon University. Val is currently Devon’s Strategic Lead for children and young people with SEMH needs.

Emma Jordan NAPLIC 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.

Dr Dianne Newbury Reader in medical genetics and genomics, Oxford Brookes University


Dr Dianne Newbury is a molecular geneticist who studies genetic contributions to childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Her investigations specifically focus around speech and language impairment. She is particularly interested in the relationship between speech and language and disorders such as developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and dyslexia and the impact of speech and language difficulties upon mental health. Dianne has a lab at Oxford Brookes University. Her work is currently funded by the Waterloo Foundation, the Nuffield Foundation, Rosetrees Trust and the British Academy.

Dr Lisa Archibald Professor and Director, University of Western Ontario

A language-based lens to the working memory struggles of children with Developmental Language Disorder

Lisa Archibald worked as a clinical Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) for over 15 years
providing services to children and adults, in schools, hospitals, and other facilities. Currently Professor and Director in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Western Ontario, Lisa studies links between memory and language processes in individuals with communication disorders.

Lisa’s work has also focused on SLP-educator school-based collaborations. She was part of an international team of researchers and stakeholders considering terminology and profile for children with an unexplained, persistent language disorder now known as developmental language disorder (DLD).

As a member of the international committee of and founding member of DLDandMe, Lisa has been active in advocacy campaigns for DLD. Recently, Lisa developed The DLD Toolbox, an online resource for SLPs to support diagnostic decision regarding DLD.

Professor Courtenay Norbury NAPLIC president

Courtenay Norbury

Closing remarks and thanks

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, is a founding member of RADLD and did her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford.

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 was Chair of Governors at a local primary school.

She has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications and 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 over 25 years. Until recently he worked as a SaLT Service Manager in Hackney in London, but is now working as a freelance 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.

Katie Little Special Needs Coordinator

Katie is a Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo) at Beckfoot Allerton School in Bradford. She has worked in mainstream primary schools for nearly 18 years across the Bradford and Keighley area and has been a SENCo for the last 4 ½ years.

Katie is passionate about supporting all children with additional needs, particularly those with Developmental Language Disorder. She has previously worked in an outstanding school where she was instrumental in developing SEN pathways, processes, school guidance and training. Katie champions self-advocacy in students and strives to enable pupils to understand and achieve their own potential, working closely with parents and practitioners collaboratively. Katie is currently actively involved in teaching and appreciates the challenges of a busy mainstream classroom and the diverse needs of students and pupils accessing the curriculum.

Katie was first introduced to DLD when she worked jointly with a Speech and Language Therapist in school several years ago. She has recently changed schools and is continuing the journey of raising awareness of DLD to other teachers in school and implementing good policy and practice.


The 2023 NAPLIC conference took place on Saturday 22nd April. The theme was ‘Developmental Language Disorder from every angle’ and included topics related to DLD in relation to mental health, genetics, working memory and classroom support.

Read conference summary


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