About Us

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 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.

She 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 completed her doctorate in Psychology at the Deafness Cognition and Language research centre (DCAL) at University College London, where she designed and evaluated the impact of a school-based intervention on deaf children’s executive function skills. She is currently a research assistant on the Preschool Language and Literacy project at the Ladder Lab.

Indie Beedie

Indie holds a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Birmingham and a MSc in Psychology from Greenwich University. She previously worked for the National Deaf Children’s Society as a project officer with the Department of Education.  Since 2011, Indie has been working at the Deafness Cognition and Language Centre (DCAL) at UCL across a variety of language and deafness research projects.

Most recently Indie worked on the Speechreading Training Intervention (STAR) project alongside Hannah Pimperton and Mairead MacSweeney at the ICN, UCL. Her primary research interests are language, literacy and cognitive development in deaf children and adolescents. She is currently a research assistant on the Preschool Language and Literacy project.

Dr Kate Rowley

Kate is a psycholinguist whose main interest is language and literacy development in deaf children. She has been working in the field of language and literacy development since 2007 and completed a PhD in April 2018. Kate’s PhD work focused on visual word recognition in deaf, adult readers using eye tracking technology.

Kate has been involved in numerous research projects including the Specific Language Impairment (SLI) Project, Language and Identities in deaf young people, Development of the BSL (British Sign Language) Sentence Repetition Task (SRT) and updating the BSL Receptive Skills Task. She is a part time post-doctoral researcher and co-investigator for the Language Attitudes Project that explores language attitudes in the British Deaf Community at the Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre. At DCAL, Kate is also responsible for coordinating the MSc module on, ‘Deafness, Cognition and Language’ and for marketing the DCAL Assessment Portal. She is a part time research fellow on the Reading and Language Interventions Project at the Ladder Lab.

Sherryn Alton

Sherryn is a specialist speech and language therapist in deafness and hearing impairment. She works in the clinical environment with deaf children, including those who use British Sign Language (BSL) and those who use spoken English. Qualified as both a speech and language therapist and an audiologist, she earned her masters degree in Human Communication (Deafness) and a certificate in Advanced Clinical Studies in Deafness in 2008.

Sherryn works on the Reading and Language Interventions Project at the Ladder Lab.