More to be announced!

Professor Dorothy Bishop

Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology
University of Oxford

Dorothy Bishop is a psychologist who holds a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, where she heads an ERC-funded programme of research into cerebral lateralisation for language. She is a supernumerary fellow of St John’s College Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the British Academy and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Her main research interests are in the nature and causes of developmental language difficulties, with a particular focus on psycholinguistics, neurobiology and genetics.

Her book Uncommon Understanding won the British Psychological Society's annual award in 1999, and she has published widely on children's language disorders. In 2015 Dorothy chaired a symposium on Reproducibility in Biomedical Science organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences, Wellcome Trust, MRC, and BBSRC, and she is chairing the advisory board of the recently-formed UK Reproducibility Network. She has a popular blog, Bishopblog, which features posts on a wide range of topics, including those relevant to reproducibility. She is also on Twitter as @deevybee.

David Howard

David Howard is a speech and language therapist and cognitive neuropsychologist. He has been a research professor at Newcastle University since 1996. His research has been on language processing in people with normal language and those with language disorders, with a particular focus on aphasia and aphasia therapy. He is an author of clinical tests in a variety of languages, has co-authored 10 books and more than 120 papers.

Area of expertise:
  • The cognitive neuropsychology of language and memory – including acquired disorders of word retrieval and production, reading, spelling, short term memory and syntactic processing.
  • The neuropsychology of dementia – particularly ‘semantic dementia’ and dementia with Lewy bodies.
  • The representation of language in the brain: PET studies of normal people and people with aphasia.
  • The rehabilitation of acquired aphasia.

Gary Boyle

Although Gary Boyle was born in Dublin in May 1965, he lived all his early life in the midland town of Carlow. After a brief period of 3rd Level study, Gary moved to London in the mid-80’s and stayed there until 1990. By then Gary had met Joan (Duffy) and they married in 1992. A couple of years living and working in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary preceded a move back to Dublin where Joan and Gary still live, along with their son, Daire and daughter, Bronwyn.

In Gary’s early career he spent 10 years working in various roles within the construction industry. In 1997 he made a significant career change into Human Resources and the following year he completed his studies with the award of BSc. Management (European Law). Gary enjoyed a wonderful career with a large U.S. multinational, working at the leading edge of HR, both in Ireland and also for a couple of years in the U.S. Then, in 2009, life changed utterly for Gary when he received a diagnosis of ‘Young Onset’ Parkinson’s Disease – a deteriorating health problem that was as unexpected as it is rare for any 44 year old. The following 5 years proved increasingly difficult as Gary’s health worsened, and, given the state of his health by the end of 2015, Gary was admitted onto his employer’s ‘Income Protection’ insurance plan.

The impact of this change in status for Gary has been quite dramatic. He has embraced the positive benefits of exercise in a way that has quite literally transformed his life. Gary has become a champion for an ‘inter-disciplinary’ approach in dealing with Parkinson’s, and indeed all neurological conditions. For Gary the combination of exercise, diet, medication and rest, along with the loving support of Joan, Daire and Bronwyn, is what keeps him sane, happy and healthy – deteriorating neurological condition aside!

Gary has made it his mission to drive Patient Advocacy forward so that in all medical consultations the Patient is always placed first; is always considered the expert in whatever condition is diagnosed. The frustrations Gary may sometimes experience with his mission in life are all forgotten when he listens to music, especially Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin; when he gets on his bike and cycles through the Phoenix Park, or when he goes for a run with brother and best buddy, Patrick.

Cristina McKean

Cristina McKean is a speech and language therapist, senior lecturer and researcher based at Newcastle University, UK. She is Honorary Fellow at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Adjunct Fellow at the Menzies Institute Griffith University. Her research is driven and informed by her many years as a practitioner. She believes that high quality science can improve the lives of people with communication disorders and aims to support the speedy dissemination and application to practice of research through her role as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Communication and Language Disorders. The primary focus of her research is understanding child language development and disorders, specifically understanding individual differences in the drivers and processes of developmental change.

Her work is highly collaborative and she believes that the best work, both in research and practice is conducted through interdisciplinary collaboration. Cristina recently completed a Fellowship at the Centre of Research Excellence in Child Language in Melbourne where she led work using the ELVS longitudinal cohort. Here she explored the developmental trajectories of children with and without language difficulties aiming to further our understanding of the emergence of language skills and difficulties across development and of the associated problems which many children with language disorders experience. She also conducts intervention research and was recently awarded funding to evaluate the efficacy of two pre-school language interventions by the Heather van der Lely Foundation and, is part of a team developing an identification and intervention model to be delivered by Health Visitors for two-year-old children at risk of language difficulties.

Her interests also extend to the examination of service delivery models for children with language disorder, particularly with respect to issues of co-practice and partnership working with parents. She is currently exploring the range of service delivery approaches which exist across Europe in her role as co-chair of a working group in the COST Action Enhancing children's oral language skills across Europe and beyond.

Adam Harris

Adam Harris is a 24 year old social entrepreneur and Founder-CEO of AsIAm.ie, an organisation working to build an Ireland where every person with Autism can “live and succeed as they are”. AsIAm.ie provides a central online hub for the Autism community which aims to inform and empower those affected by the condition, their families and supporter. Through online engagement with users, AsIAm creates training programmes and campaigns to engage various aspects of Irish life to understand Autism better and to become more Autism friendly.

Adam founded AsIAm.ie based on his experiences of living with Aspergers Syndrome, a condition on the Autism Spectrum. Adam spent 3 years in Special Education, 5 in mainstream primary education with the support of an incredible Special Needs Assistant and completed Secondary School without the support of an SNA. As Adam benefited from early intervention, he felt the need to do something to give back to the Autism community in Ireland and felt that a poor online presence and a society which does not truly understand the condition were key elements of the challenges people with Autism face, which needed to be addressed.

Today, Adam is a frequent contributor in media and at conferences home and abroad, around Autism issues and the need to have a whole-community approach to Autism. A Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardee, Adam sits on the Board of Specialisterne Ireland and a number of statutory consultative committees.

Áine Flynn

Áine Flynn holds a law degree and M.Litt. from Trinity College Dublin. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1999 and from 2012-2017 was a senior partner in KOD Lyons, a firm specialising in public interest law, including disability and equality law. She was on the panel of legal representatives of the Mental Health Commission and the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board from their inception in 2006 and also represented Wards of Court instructed by the General Solicitor. She has written and lectured on Human Rights and has been a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society since 2012. Prior to her present appointment, she was a member of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Decision-Making Capacity Task Force.

In October 2017, Áine commenced in post as inaugural Director of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission and is now a member of Safeguarding Ireland.

Yvonne Lynch

Yvonne Lynch is a Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University working on the NIHR funded I-ASC study. Yvonne is a speech-language therapist by profession and has a long-standing passion for the field of AAC. She has many years’ experience working and managing services for people who use AAC. Her PhD awarded by Trinity College Dublin explored intervention methods in AAC with a particular focus on graphic symbol knowledge.

Enhancing clinical decision making in AAC: Key findings and resources from the I-ASC study – Yvonne Lynch
The Identifying Appropriate Symbol Communication (I-ASC) research project is a three-year National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded award (NIHR HS & DR: project 14/70/153). Children who are non speaking or have reduced speech intelligibility may benefit from using an augmentative or alternative communication system (AAC). Little is known about the process of learning to use a communication aid at the same time as learning the spoken language of the environment and acquiring skills and knowledge through the educational curriculum. Furthermore, there seems to be a high level of abandonment of communication aids recommended for use. The consequences of abandonment may have negative impact on a child's communication and educational attainment. The I-ASC research project set out to better understand the influencers on communication aid recommendation, with a view to enhancing the assessment and recommendation process and consequently reducing the abandonment of communication aid technology. The potential long-term objective of I-ASC is to enable children who are non speaking to fulfil their communication, educational and employment potential. This presentation will include key research findings and an overview of resources developed.