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Nicky Dawson

Developmental Psychologist and Research Speech and Language Therapist

There is still so much to learn about how children acquire language, and how we can best support children who find language learning challenging. My interest in this field started when I worked with a trilingual child as an au-pair – I was fascinated by the ease with which she switched between different languages (‘code-switching’). After studying for a degree in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Reading, I worked in primary and secondary schools to support children who needed additional help with their language and communication skills. I then returned to research and completed a PhD in Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, where my focus was on the development of skilled reading, particularly during adolescence. I am interested in how our experiences with language (e.g., from listening to people talk, or reading books) shape how we learn language, and also how we translate what we learn from language research and theory to interventions that will help every child reach their potential.