Meet the core team

Dr Fiona Kyle, Director of The Ladder Lab

Fiona is a chartered psychologist and a lecturer at DCAL, UCL. She also holds a visiting associate professorship at the Reading Research Center at the University of Stavanger, Norway. She specialises in developmental psychology and her research focuses on literacy, language and cognitive development in typical and atypical child populations.

She has a particular interest in how deaf children learn to read and spell and the cognitive correlates of reading success including speechreading, vocabulary and phonological skills.  Fiona developed the Test of Child Speechreading (ToCS).  She is also interested in computer assisted reading interventions (CARIs) for struggling readers and she has been involved with several adaptations of GraphoGame.

Prof Ros Herman

Ros is a HCPC registered Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and Professor of Child Language and Deafness at City, University of London. She has worked clinically with deaf clients of all ages. Her research interests are language development and assessment in British Sign Language (BSL), communication and literacy interventions in deaf and hearing children and adults.

She runs the Sign Language and Reading Assessment Clinic based at the Language & Communication Science Division’s on-site clinic, the Roberta Williams Centre, offering clinical assessments of deaf children and adults.

Prof Penny Roy

Penny is a chartered educational psychologist and a professor of developmental psychology at City, University of London.  She has a particular interest in the effects of early experience and disadvantage on language, literacy and psychosocial development.

Penny began her career as a qualified teacher before qualifying as an Educational Psychologist at the Tavistock Centre. She has worked clinically with, amongst others, ‘looked after’ children and young people, and hearing and deaf clients of all ages with concerns about literacy.  She has developed several published assessments of language and psychosocial skills including the Early Repetition Battery and the Early Social Perception

Dr Kathryn Mason

Katie is a post doctoral researcher working on the Preschool Language and Literacy project at the Ladder Lab. She is a developmental psychologist and researcher focusing on cognitive and educational research. Her main research areas include the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills in deaf and hearing children, and the design and impact of school-based interventions.

Katie is especially interested in how children acquire language, thinking, and problem solving skills (known as executive functions), and the underlying mechanisms that make some activities particularly effective in supporting these areas of children’s development. Katie holds a PhD in Psychology from UCL.

Past lab members

Indie Beedie

Indie was a research assistant on the Preschool Language and Literacy project from 2019 to 2022. Indie is now an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Projects Officer, and Communications Officer at UCL.

Dr Kate Rowley

Kate was a part time postdoctoral research fellow on the Reading and Language Interventions Project at the Ladder Lab from 2018-2019. Kate is now a lecturer at DCAL, UCL.

Sherryn Alton

Sherryn worked on the Reading and Language Interventions Project at the Ladder Lab from 2018-2019. Sherryn is a specialist speech and language therapist in deafness and hearing impairment.