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portrait of Professor Rosalind Herman

Professor Rosalind Herman

Professor of Child Language and Deafness

School of Health Sciences, Division of Language and Communication Science

Contact Information


Visit Rosalind Herman

M101, Myddelton Street Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Ros qualified initially as a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at Reading University, achieved her MSc in Human Communication at the University of London, and completed her PhD at City, University of London. She has worked clinically with Deaf clients of all ages and currently works part-time at City, University of London teaching, carrying out research and running the Sign Language & Reading Assessment Clinic.

Ros lectures to trainee and post-qualification SLTs and has a longstanding interest in the clinical skills of SLTs who work with Deaf people. Her teaching and research interests are language development in British Sign Language (BSL) and communication and reading skills in deaf people. Ros runs regular training courses on the BSL Production Test as well as providing lectures and workshops to Teachers of the Deaf, Communication Support Workers and SLT Special Interest Groups.

Clinical Activity

Ros runs the Sign Language and Reading Assessment Clinic at the Language & Communication Science Division's on-site clinic, the Roberta Williams Speech and Language Therapy Centre. This is an outreach service based, offering clinical assessments of child and adult BSL users language and literacy skills, based on Ros' research on language acquisition and literacy assessment in deaf children.


PhD, MSc and BA.

Administrative roles

  1. BSc 1 Clinical Tutor
  2. Member of Divisional Professional Studies Team
  3. Module Leader - SL1015, City, University of London
  4. MSc and BSc Personal Tutor, City, University of London

Memberships of professional organisations

  1. Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists; Health Professions Council


Research overview

Ros' research interests focus on language development in British Sign Language (BSL) and communication and reading in deaf people. Ros has worked actively to highlight the lack of assessment materials for Deaf children who are BSL users and led the development of two major language assessments in BSL (BSL Receptive Skills Test, Herman et al., 1999; BSL Production Test, Herman et al., 2004). The tests are the only norm-referenced tests of any sign language in the world and both have since been translated into other sign languages. Ros also played an active role in developing the UK National Monitoring Protocol for Deaf Infants &; Children (DfES 2004).
Ros is a research affiliate of the Deafness, Cognition & Language Research Centre at UCL (DCAL) and has collaborated with colleagues there on projects to develop BSL norms for the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory and to characterise language impairment in BSL. Ros has been involved in projects to evaluate communication interventions with deaf children and is currently leading a major funded project to investigate reading and dyslexia in deaf children.

Research areas

- Language acquisition in deaf children
- Assessment of deaf children's communication
- Reading in deaf children
- Communication interventions with deaf people


- 2019: Heather van der Lely Foundation: £187,775 PI with Herman: Using the GAPS to identify preschool deaf children at risk of later literacy difficulties.
- 2018-2019: Nuffield Foundation £97,000 PI with Hulme, Kyle & Roy: Pilot study to evaluate an integrated phonics and language programme for the teaching of reading to deaf and hearing children.
- 2017: School of Health Sciences Impact award: £5,000. Teacher workshop on challenges in changing literacy teaching practice with deaf children.
- 2016: School of Health Sciences Impact award: £5,000. Teacher workshop of putting research findings on deaf children’s literacy into practice.
- 2012-14: Reading and dyslexia in deaf children: the special case of children who sign (Nuffield Foundation).
- 2010-12: Reading and Dyslexia in Oral Deaf Children (Nuffield Foundation).
- 2003: City University Pump-Priming Fund £5,000: British Sign Language (BSL) Production Test .
- 1996-1998: NHS Research and Development Fund £35,000 PI with Woll: BSL Assessments.
- 1994: Kitchin Fund £5,000: Pilot work on development of BSL assessment materials.

Research centres

- Research affiliate of Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, UCL

Principal collaborators

- Prof Penny Roy
- Prof Gary Morgan
- Dr Bernard Camilleri
- Prof Bencie Woll
- Dr Chloe Marshall
- Dr Fiona Kyle
- Prof Charles Hulme

Research assistants

- Sherryn Alton
- Catherine Barnett
- Kate Rowley
- Zoe Shergold

Research Students

Soledad Zarate

Thesis title: Subtitling and vocabulary learning in deaf children

Joanna Hoskin

Thesis title: Delivering communication interventions to deaf sign language users

Gemma Knight

Thesis title: Predicting outcomes and additional diagnoses following cochlear implantation

Martina Curtin

Thesis title: Maintaining and generalizing deaf children’s social communication skills in smiLE Therapy

Elizabeth Collings

Thesis title: Investigating the relationship between language skills and pre-reading skills in school starters

Nicky Brace

Thesis title: Assessing time knowledge in children aged 10 to 11 years

Becky Withnall

Thesis title: An evaluation of the impact of visual phonics and vocabulary intervention on deaf children’s reading

Michaela Steer

Thesis title: Is an adapted narrative skills test sensitive to age differences in hearing children aged 4-5 years?

Andrea Curling

Thesis title: Investigating narrative development in typically developing hearing children aged 6-7 years using new language-free video

Hannah Lawson

Thesis title: Investigating language-based interventions with a deaf children with additional diagnoses

Hannah Abbas

Thesis title: Effect of mode of presentation on performance of typically developing children completing phonological awareness tasks

Sarah Mustafa

Thesis title: Developing hearing norms for phonological awareness tasks designed for deaf children

Khadija Khudair

Thesis title: Vocabulary performance of oral deaf children using a standardised expressive language measure

Lucy Monaghan

Thesis title: Vocabulary performance of deaf signing children with a diagnosis of specific language impairment

Annette Grant

Thesis title: Communication breakdown and repair in deaf adolescents and relationship with self efficacy

Hannah Lawson

Thesis title: Effect of specific language impairment on parent child interaction in a deaf signing child and deaf mother

Bruno Menendez

Thesis title: Acquisition of written English in deaf child Spanish Sign Language users

Lizzie Reid

Thesis title: Quantifying exposure to sign language in deaf signing children

Rosalind Carolan

Thesis title: Studying letter sounds and reading in children

Clare Parsons

Thesis title: Evaluation of ultrasound therapy with a deaf student


Chapters (3)

  1. Herman, R. and Roy, P.J. (2016). Deafness and dyslexia. In Marschark, M. and Spencer, P.E. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies in Language (pp. 344–356). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-024141-4.
  2. Herman, R., Rowley, K., Marshall, C., Mason, K., Atkinson, J., Woll, B. … Morgan, G. (2014). Profiling SLI in deaf children who are sign language users. Multilingual Aspects of Signed Language Communication and Disorder (pp. 45–69). ISBN 978-1-78309-130-0.
  3. Herman, R.C. and Morgan, G. (2010). Deafness, language & communication. In Botting, N. and Hilari, K. (Eds.), The Impact of Communication Disability Across the Lifespan London, England: J & R Press. ISBN 978-1-907826-03-0.

Conference papers and proceedings (3)

  1. Woll, B. and Herman, R. (2003). Using a standardised test of sign language development to examine the effects of input in the acquisition of British sign language.
  2. Pantelemidou, V., Herman, R. and Thomas, J. (2003). Efficacy of speech intervention using electropalatography with a cochlear implant user.
  3. Hoskin, J. and Herman, R. (2001). The communication, speech and gesture of a group of hearing-impaired children.

Journal articles (33)

  1. Herman, R., E. Kyle, F. and Roy, P. (2019). Literacy and Phonological Skills in Oral Deaf Children and Hearing Children With a History of Dyslexia. Reading Research Quarterly, 54(4), pp. 553–575. doi:10.1002/rrq.244.
  2. Herman, R., Morgan, G., Grove, N. and Launonon, K. (2019). Sign language development in deaf children with additional needs. Manual sign acquisition and special needs.
  3. Herman, R., Ford, K., Thomas, J. and Morgan, A. (2017). The speech intervention journey of a profoundly deaf adolescent. Intervention Case Studies of Child Speech Impairment.
  4. Jones, A.C., Toscano, E., Botting, N., Marshall, C.R., Atkinson, J.R., Denmark, T. … Morgan, G. (2016). Narrative skills in deaf children who use spoken English: Dissociations between macro and microstructural devices. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 59, pp. 268–282. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2016.09.010.
  5. Oktapoti, M., Okalidou, A., Kyriafinis, G., Petinou, K., Vital, V. and Herman, R. (2016). Investigating Use of a Parent Report Tool to Measure Vocabulary Development in Deaf Greek-speaking Children with Cochlear Implants. Deafness and Education International, 18(1), pp. 3–12. doi:10.1179/1557069X15Y.0000000008.
  6. Roy, P., Shergold, Z., Kyle, F.E. and Herman, R. (2015). Spelling in oral deaf and hearing dyslexic children: A comparison of phonologically plausible errors. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 36, pp. 277–290. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2014.10.012.
  7. Herman, R., Ford, K., Thomas, J., Oyebade, N., Bennett, D. and Dodd, B. (2015). Evaluation of core vocabulary therapy for deaf children: Four treatment case studies. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 31(2), pp. 221–235. doi:10.1177/0265659014561875.
  8. Haug, T., Herman, R. and Woll, B. (2015). Constructing an online test framework, using the example of a sign language receptive skills test. Deafness and Education International, 17(1), pp. 3–7. doi:10.1179/1557069X14Y.0000000035.
  9. Rees, R., Mahon, M., Herman, R., Newton, C., Craig, G. and Marriage, J. (2015). Communication interventions for families of pre-school deaf children in the UK. Deafness and Education International, 17(2), pp. 88–100. doi:10.1179/1557069X14Y.0000000043.
  10. Herman, R., Rowley, K., Mason, K. and Morgan, G. (2014). Deficits in narrative abilities in child British Sign Language users with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 49(3), pp. 343–353. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12078.
  11. Marshall, C., Mason, K., Rowley, K., Herman, R., Atkinson, J., Woll, B. … Morgan, G. (2014). Sentence Repetition in Deaf Children with Specific Language Impairment in British Sign Language. Language Learning and Development. doi:10.1080/15475441.2014.917557.
  12. Marshall, C.R., Rowley, K., Mason, K., Herman, R. and Morgan, G. (2013). Lexical organization in deaf children who use British Sign Language: Evidence from a semantic fluency task. Journal of Child Language, 40(1), pp. 193–220. doi:10.1017/S0305000912000116.
  13. Herman, R.C., Roy, P. and Kyle, F. (2013). Dyslexia and deaf children. British Association of Teachers of the Deaf Newsletter.

    [publisher’s website]

  14. Herman, R.C., Shergold, Z., Roy, P. and Herman, R. (2012). Deafness in a hearing workplace. Bulletin of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, (March 2012), pp. 12–14.
  15. Herman, R.C., Herman, R. and Thomas, J. (2012). From communication to language. British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, (March 2012), pp. 6–7.
  16. Herman, R.C., Alton, S. and Pring, T. (2011). Developing communication skills in deaf primary school pupils: Introducing and evaluating the smiLE approach. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 27(3), pp. 255–267. doi:10.1177/0265659010381695.

    [publisher’s website]

  17. Enns, C.J. and Herman, R.C. (2011). Adapting the Assessing British Sign Language Development: Receptive Skills Test into American sign language. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 16(3), pp. 362–374.
  18. Mason, K., Rowley, K., Marshall, C.R., Atkinson, J.R., Herman, R., Woll, B. … Morgan, G. (2010). Identifying specific language impairment in deaf children acquiring British Sign Language: implications for theory and practice. Br J Dev Psychol, 28(Pt 1), pp. 33–49.
  19. Mason, K., Rowley, K., Marshall, C.R., Atkinson, J.R., Herman, R.C., Woll, B. … Morgan, G. (2010). Identifying SLI in deaf children acquiring British Sign Language: Implications for theory and practice. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28, pp. 33–49.
  20. Herman, R.C., Herman, R. and Mann, W. (2010). Sign language assessment: Where are we now? British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, (January 2010), pp. 22–23.
  21. Herman, R.C., Woolfe, T., Roy, P. and Woll, B. (2009). Early vocabulary development in deaf native signers: a British Sign Language adaptation of the communicative development inventories. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(3), pp. 322–331. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02151.x.

    [publisher’s website]

  22. Morgan, G., Herman, R., Barriere, I. and Woll, B. (2008). The onset and mastery of spatial language in children acquiring British Sign Language. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, 23(1), pp. 1–19. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2007.09.003.
  23. Herman, R. (2008). The world of deaf infants: A longitudinal study. INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 17(1), pp. 87–88. doi:10.1002/icd.489.
  24. Morgan, G., Herman, R.C., Barriere, I. and Woll, B. (2008). The onset and mastery of spatial language in children acquiring British Sign Language. Cognitive Development, 23, pp. 1–19.
  25. Martin, K.L., Hirson, A., Herman, R., Thomas, J. and Pring, T. (2007). The efficacy of speech intervention using electropalatography with an 18-year-old deaf client: A single case study. Advances in Speech Language Pathology, 9(1), pp. 46–56. doi:10.1080/14417040601120912.
  26. Morgan, G., Herman, R. and Woll, B. (2007). Language impairments in sign language: breakthroughs and puzzles. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE & COMMUNICATION DISORDERS, 42(1), pp. 97–105. doi:10.1080/13682820600783178.
  27. Martin, K., Hirson, A., Herman, R.C., Thomas, J. and Pring, T. (2007). The efficacy of speech intervention using electopalatography with an 18 year old deaf client: A single case study. Advances in Speech-Language Pathology, 9(1), pp. 46–56. doi:10.1080/14417040601120912.
  28. Koutsoubou, M., Herman, R.C. and Woll, B. (2007). Does language input matter in bilingual writing? Translation versus direct composition in Deaf school student's written stories. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10, pp. 127–151.
  29. Herman, R.C. and Roy, P. (2006). Evidence from the wider use of the BSL Receptive Skills Test. Deafness and Education International, 8(1), pp. 33–47. doi:10.1002/dei.33.
  30. Morgan, G., Herman, R. and Woll, B. (2002). The development of complex verb constructions in British Sign Language. J Child Lang, 29(3), pp. 655–675.
  31. Herman, R. (1998). The need for an assessment of deaf children's signing skills. DEAFNESS AND EDUCATION, 22(3), pp. 3–8.
  32. Herman, R. (1990). How do deaf speakers talk about time?? Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 4(3), pp. 197–207. doi:10.3109/02699209008985482.
  33. Herman, R., Mann, W., Haug, T. and Koch, U. Issues related to the development of sign language tests for L1 learners. Language assessment across modalities.

Practitioners (2)

  1. (2014). New strategy needed for deaf children with reading difficulties. The Conversation
  2. (2010). Sign language assessment: Where are we now? British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, pp. 22–23

Reports (2)

  1. Herman, R.C., Roy, P. and Kyle, F. (2017). Reading and Dyslexia in Deaf Children. London.
  2. Herman, R.C., Roy, P. and Kyle, F. (2014). Reading, Dyslexia and Oral Deaf Children: From Research to Practice. London, UK: City University London.


Modules taught on

- SLM009 & SL3003: Language, cognition & communication disabilities
- SLM010 & SL3004: Intervention
- SL1006: Professional Studies
- HCM021: Case Based Clinical Management
- HCM016: Speech Acoustics & Speech Perception

Other Activities

Editorial activity

  1. Reviewer for various academic journals, Reviewer.

Events/conferences (7)

  1. Herman R, Roy P & Kyle F. Literacy and dyslexia in oral deaf children. Reading (2013).
    Description: Paper presented at the British Psychological Society
  2. Herman R, Roy P & Kyle F. Phonological skills, reading and dyslexia in oral deaf children. Seattle (2013).
    Description: Paper presented at the SRCD Preconference Event on Deafness
  3. Herman R, Roy P & Kyle F. Literacy and phonological skills in oral deaf children. Hong Kong (2013).
    Description: Poster presented at the 3rd International Conference on Sign Linguistics and Deaf Education in Asia
  4. Herman R, Knight R, Parsons C & Rockrell N. Speech intervention using ultrasound technology with 2 deaf adolescents. Cork (2012).
    Description: Paper presented at the International Clinical Phonetics & Linguistics Association
  5. Marshall C, Mason K, Rowley K, Herman R, Atkinson J, Woll B & Morgan G. Investigating specific language impairment in deaf children who use British Sign Language. Edinburgh (2012).
    Description: Poster presented at Reflecting on Deaf Education: Current Research and Practice
  6. Marshall C, Mason K, Rowley K, Herman R & Morgan G. Sentence repetition as a proxy for language development and impairment: Insights from deaf signers. Thessaloniki, Greece (2011).
    Description: Paper presented at the European Child Language Disorders conferenc
  7. Oktapoti, M., Herman, R., Okalidou, A., Kyriafinis, G. & Vital, V. Vocabulary skills of cochlear-implanted Greek children. Athens, Greece (2011).
    Description: Paper presented at the 10th European Symposium on Paediatric Cochlear Implantation

Keynote lectures/speeches (2)

  1. Herman R. Hot topics in bilingual assessment of deaf children. Sydney, Australia (2012). Keynote speaker at Bilingual Symposium
  2. Rees R, Marriage J, Mahon M & Herman R. A framework for investigating interventions with preschool cochlear-implanted children. Nottingham (2011). Poster presented at British Cochlear Implant Group

Radio programme

  1. BBC See Hear.