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  2. MSc Projects with Barbara Dodd
School of Health Sciences

MSc Projects with Barbara Dodd

General research interests

Barbara’s research interests focus on phonological development and disorders, including phonological awareness and literacy. Her research focuses on children who are typically developing or have a functional speech disorder.  Previous studies have investigated children who are bilingual, hearing impaired, intellectually impaired (especially Down syndrome) or visually impaired.

Suggested MSc projects

Possible research questions are listed below.

You would collect and analyse the data, from typically developing children and/or children with phonological impairments:

  • Therapy project with deaf children in Greenwich: Greenwich are offering 2-4 students the opportunity to take part in a therapy project with deaf children. The project is to deliver and evaluate a course of Core Vocabulary Therapy, an intervention that has been used successfully with children with speech disorders, but not with deaf children. There is relatively little evidence for therapy approaches with deaf children, therefore these projects are clinically highly significant. (Relevant reading: Dodd, B., Holm, A., Crosbie, S. and McIntosh, B. (2006). A core vocabulary approach for management of inconsistent speech disorder. Advances in Speech Language Pathology, 8,(3), 220-230).
  • Do the lip-reading skills of hearing children, 10 typically developing and 10 with a consistent phonological disorder differ? Assessment would use the Lipreading Assessment for Hearing Impaired Children (Woodhouse, 2008).  The assessment takes about 20 minutes to administer.
  • Do typically developing children accept non-words in a picture matching task (i.e. see picture of a themometer and are asked, ‘Is this a thenometer?’) that they reject in a lexical decision task (i.e., press a button on a computer when they hear a non-word)? 
  • Do children with a phonological disorder perform less well than children with phonological delay on phonological awareness and literacy measures?  Methodology already established.
  • Do bilingual children, aged around 6 years,  who speak different language pairs (e.g., (Polish-English vs Cantonese-English) perform differently on high level phonological awareness tasks (e.g. spoonerisms, sound deletion, phonological constraint tasks) from each other and from monolingual children.
  • Is it possible to reliably assess the phonological competence of two-year olds?

Projects for which you would analyse existing datasets:

  • In what ways do children with co-morbid speech and language disorders differ from children with speech disorders alone and language disorders alone?

PG student projects supervised over the last 5 years

  • Phonological awareness and literacy abilities of children with phonological delay and consistent disorder
  • Long term follow-up of successful intervention for phonological awareness abilities in preschool on literacy in Grade 2.
  • Long term follow-up of successful intervention for language abilities in preschool on literacy in Grade 2.
  • The language abilities of children with behaviour disorders.
  • Bilingual children’s phonological representation of words
  • Bilingual children’s reading and spelling abilities
  • The phonological awareness abilities of children with cerebral palsy
  • The lip-reading abilities of children who are hearing impaired and phonologically disordered.
  • Development of a language screening tool for use by teachers to identify children with SLI.
  • Assessing two year old phonology.
  • Comparison of the efficacy of minimal and maximal pairs for children with phonological delay and disorder.

Key words

phonological development, phonological disorders, phonological awareness, bilingualism, literacy, efficacy of intervention