Praise for Professor Howard!

Professor David Howard, researcher and lecturer for the Speech and Language Sciences department at Newcastle University has been awarded the 2013 Robin Tavistock award, presented by The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia. This award, named after Robin Tavistock, the 14th Duke of Bedford who founded The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, is presented annually to a person, or group, who has made a significant contribution in the field of aphasia.

Professor Howard is a trained speech and language therapist and neuropsychologist and a large majority of his research has focused around aphasia. With over 100 publications to his name David is a towering figure in aphasia research. He was one of the first to bring the insights of cognitive neuropsychology to the field of aphasiology, and particularly to the domain of therapy. As a result he has hugely added to our understanding of the nature of aphasic impairments and how to treat them. His more recent research has used advances in brain imaging to illuminate the neural representation of language. In addition to theoretical rigour David’s research has a strong focus on the clinical needs of people with aphasia. With colleagues at Newcastle University and elsewhere he has generated a legacy of therapy and assessment materials that are widely used by therapists both in the UK and beyond.

Professor Howard’s contribution to the setting up in 1999 of The North East (since renamed as The Tavistock) Aphasia Centre at Newcastle University has alos been recognised by The Robin Tavistock Award.  Now acknowledged internationally as a pinnacle of excellence, the centre offers intensive therapy to people with aphasia, provides cutting edge clinical education for SLT students and is leading research into the assessment and treatment of aphasic impairments. Most recently, the centre has supported the development of the North East Trust for Aphasia, known as NETA. This charity, run largely by people with aphasia, has become an independent, award winning self-help group that is inspiring others across the country.

When asked how he felt about being presented with the award, David said the following: “I’m delighted and honoured to be receiving this award. Much of the credit belongs to my friends and collaborators both in Newcastle and elsewhere. In particular, the success of the Tavistock Aphasia Centre North East and the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA; a charity run by and for people with aphasia), both of which are based at Newcastle University, was a key contributor to the award. I’m hugely grateful to my colleagues at Newcastle University and many people with aphasia  for making these so successful”.

Congratulations Professor David Howard on behalf of staff and students in the Speech and Language Sciences department, Newcastle University.

Professor Dorothy Bishop honoured at Newcastle University

Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Newcastle University, in recognition for her internationally renowned work on specific language impairment in a degree ceremony on July 10th. She was nominated by the Speech and Language Sciences section, where Professor Bishop worked in the early 1980’s, and by the School of Psychology.

Spending the day at the University, she visited the Speech and Language Sciences Section giving an open lecture on the subject of “Why do some children find it hard to learn to talk?” Seen here, at the talk, in front of her slide about the campaign “Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairments”, she spoke to an audience that included representatives from across the University, local speech and language therapists, parents and young people. She then went on to visit the University’s Institute of Neurology. In her speech to congregation Professor Vicki Bruce, Head of the School of Psychology, spoke of Professor Bishop’s contribution not only to the academic world but also for her support for women in science, for her blog and other forms of social media taking on all-comers in the field, for her Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation and, finally, for her authorship of three novels featuring the Freemantle based detective intrepid sixty-something amateur sleuth, Rose Absalom.

Newcastle University expert wins BEST award

Praise is to be given to Dr. Cristina McKean who has won a prestigious award for her work in developing a technique called BEST (Building Early Sentence Production) with Drs Sean Pert and Carol Stow of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. The Sternberg Prize for clinical Innovation was awarded to the trio from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in November 2012.

In the autumn of this year, Cristina is launching a product based on the BEST technique she has worked so hard to develop. Piloting and service evaluation work has shown that children who receive BEST make significant progress; learning the rules about how to combine words into a range of different sentences. Published items will include a manual and therapy resources and training sessions will be delivered at Newcastle University. Dr. Cristina McKean is publishing these items and organising the training involved on a not for profit basis.

More information about the product will be released over the next few months. Follow our pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find out more.