Doctor of Philosophy, Dept. of Psychology, University of Edinburgh. 2001
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Health Studies, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. 1992
Dip Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Queen Margaret College. 1977
Consultant research collaborator Chilean Language and Reading Project University of Oxford (June-August 2016
ESOL Tutor City of Edinburgh October 2015- present
Clinical Lead Speech and Language Therapist for Language and Literacy for NHS Lothian (including the City of Edinburgh) until October 2014
Senior Speech and Language Therapist, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, January 1982
Senior Speech and Language Therapist, Western General Hospital, March 1979 - December 1981 (adults and children)
Community Speech and Language Therapist, West Lothian, January 1979 - March 1979
Community Speech and Language Therapist, Fife Health Board, January 1978 – December 1978
A bit of history
I started work as a speech and language therapist in 1978. After a brief period of community practice, I moved to a large teaching hospital where I provided in and outpatient assessment and therapy across a range of paediatric and adult speech and language disorders.
In 1982, I moved to The Royal Hospital for Sick Children Edinburgh. During my 32 years there, I have had a variety of roles with an increasing emphasis on working with children’s language development as it pertains to their educational progress. This has included all age groups of children and in a variety of settings including -
Intensive daily out patient speech and language therapy for children withdrawn from mainstream schools
Collaborative provision (with teachers) in a primary mainstream school language class
Outpatient speech and language therapy assessment and management for children with literacy difficulties
Lead clinician for speech and language provision across 4 mainstream secondary schools.
Speech and language representative on the Edinburgh council education department’s strategy group to improve the literacy of the lowest 20% of children in Edinburgh.
Clinical Lead for Language and Literacy
While working part time, I completed my Doctorate with the University of Edinburgh, was the principal contributor for guidelines on supporting young people with speech language and communication difficulties in secondary schools (See Afasic 2009) and I also worked as part of a team on the (CIRCLE) Collaboration - Child Inclusion: Research into Curriculum, Learning and Education at Queen Margaret University where I was one of the main contributors to the therapy manual for Speech and Language Therapy.
My area of specialism is developmental spoken and written language difficulties and I am particularly interested vocabulary development and deficits (the subject of my doctoral thesis) and in integrating speech and language therapy expertise within schools and classrooms.
Until October 2014, I lead a small team of Speech and Language Therapists working in secondary schools and in my role as clinical Lead Speech and Language therapist I contributed to planning and strategy for the service and mentored SLTs to develop the provision for children with language impairments across Lothian. I was a finalist for NHS Lothian Mentor of the year.
A very significant part of my most recent workload was to lead a project developing programmes to enhance the language development opportunities for children in schools in areas of socio economic disadvantage as part of a citywide strategy. A particular focus has been the development of vocabulary in whole classes of primary school children and also in nursery through focused teaching of words derived from children’s age appropriate literature. This work was highly commended in 2011 at an education awards ceremony.
Together with a small team I completed substantial resources and a manual for a programme which I called Word Boost. This programme supports teachers in implementing vocabulary instruction in mainstream primary schools some and nursery classes targeting children from 4-11 years.
In addition to a role focused on strategy within Edinburgh, I was a member of of the South of Scotland Literacy Hub which considered and developed best practice for literacy across a large geographical area of Scotland.
After an enjoyable and fulfilling career in the NHS I left late in 2014 to start up my exciting new business TokTokkie. I look forward to working with you.