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Current Projects

The School departments are involved in a wide number of research projects at both national and international level.

Centre for Language and Communication Studies

Centre for Deaf Studies


Clinical Speech and Language Studies

The Life Histories Archive: Exchanging Knowledge of the Lived Life

The Life Histories Archive, funded by the Irish Research Council, is a digital collection of autobiographies written by Irish women and men, over the age of 70, living in Dublin and Belfast.

Development of a novel dysphagia prehabilitation programme in adults with oesophageal cancer

Development of a novel dysphagia prehabilitation programme in adults with oesophageal cancer. This work is in collaboration with Prof. John Reynolds, Chair of Surgery in TCD and Upper GI surgeon in st. James' Hospital. PhD student Anna Gillman is initiating this work by investigating the nature, severity and impact of dysphagia on people with oesophageal cancer from diagnosis through to survivorship as well as identifying clinical signs post-oesophagectomy which are predictive of feeding tube reliance and compromised quality of life in the long term. For further information contact Dr Julie Regan.

Factors influencing pressure and bolus flow measures during pharyngeal high resolution impedance manometry

This research is in collaboration with Eadaoin Flynn in Tallaght University Hospital and includes an initial study exploring the effects of sensory stimulation on swallowing in two different clinical populations. For further information contact Dr Julie Regan.

Multilingualism and Language Learning: 'Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community'

This research project forms part of a large–scale research initiative ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, an AHRC-Funded OWRI Programme, based at the University of Manchester, and in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Its focus is the intersection between multilingualism, language learning and higher education.


Multilingualism and Education
The VirtuLApp project is a European Commission funded project and is delivered by an international consortium, comprising the Fryske Akademy/Mercator Research Centre (The Netherlands), ATiT (Belgium), Luca School of Arts (Belgium), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and Universidad del Pais Vasco (Spain). Together, we are developing an innovative multididactic approach which teachers can use in the classroom in any multilingual situation.

Working memory and severe speech impairment

This research project is focused on exploring the relationships between severe congenital speech impairment and working memory. Many working memory tasks require participants to verbalize responses. For those with severe speech impairments, this response mode is unavailable. One goal of this project is to develop assessment tools that are appropriate to individuals with severe speech and physical impairments. The research is in collaboration with colleagues in Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

For further information contact Martine M Smith, PhD

Systematic Review of Interventions for Drooling in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Funding: HRB Cochrane Fellowship (2009-2010)

Team: Dr. Margaret Walshe, (CSLS), Dr. Martine Smith, (CSLS), Dr Lindsay Pennington (University of Newcastle)

Cochrane systematic review on interventions for drooling in children with cerebral palsy. This is a two year funded project under the HRB Cochrane Fellowship scheme.

Small talk in clinical interactions

The role of small talk in general clinical contexts has received limited attention despite it being a focus of other domains of research (i.e., the analysis of small talk as it occurs in general service encounters e.g. hairdressing salons, travel agencies etc.). Although the value of this type of talk is recognised in some speech and language therapy contexts, little systematic analysis of its emergence in such interactions has been undertaken. This ongoing study focuses on the identification of small talk in interactions between speech and language therapists and adults with communication disorders associated with stroke and with chronic schizophrenia. Tracking the emergence of small talk in these clinical interactions demonstrates its positive influence on the relational and transactional needs of the therapeutic context.

For further information contact: Dr Irene Walsh

Language impairment and psychiatric disorders

ADHD is a complex clinical presentation and presents the speech and language therapist with a challenge as to the nature of the often associated language and communication difficulties. Additionally, if ADHD is understood fully, a central language dysfunction where a difficulty in using language for the self- regulation of behaviour must also be considered. This study involves the in depth language and communication assessment of children with ADHD attending an outpatient child and family centre. In addition to using standardised language tests, an analysis of the talk occurring during the assessment sessions will also be undertaken to attempt to describe how the symptoms of ADHD may be manifest in the social organisation of discourse.

For further information contact: Dr Irene Walsh

Dysarthria Impact Profile: An assessment to measure psychosocial impact in dysarthria

The inability to quantify psychosocial impact, clinically and for research, led to the development of the Dysarthria Impact Profile (DIP). This tool, in collaboration with Professor Nick Miller, University of Newcastle, and Professor Richard Peach, Rush University, Chicago, was published in 2009 and is translated into French, Dutch, and Portuguese. It is currently being amended and prepared for validation.  PI:  Dr Margaret Walshe, TCD;  Collaborators: Professor Nick Miller, Newcastle University, UK, Prof Richard Peach Rush Medical Centre, Chicago USA, Dr Serge Pinto, Aix en Marseilles France.

For further information contact Dr Margaret Walshe.

Evidence Based Practice: Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Reviews (HRB)

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews, which provide an overview of the diagnostic accuracy of tests as well as the effects of interventions in health care. It aims, where possible, to provide an estimate of the size of benefits or harms of therapy. There are two Cochrane Reviews underway in the Department. These include international collaborations.  The Health Research Board (through Cochrane Fellowship) has provided funding for both projects.
The following Cochrane reviews are in progress or are completed.

  •  (1) Interventions for Drooling in Children with Cerebral Palsy.
    Cochrane Fellowship Award: PI- Dr Margaret Walshe.
    Collaborators: Dr Lindsay Pennington Newcastle University UK, Dr Martine Smith TCD. Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.
  • (2) Diet Modifications for People with Dementia
    Cochrane Fellowship Award: PI-Dr Margaret Walshe with Eadaoin Flynn, TCD. Collaborators: Dr  Christina Smith University College London, Dr Cathal Walsh TCD. Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.
  • (3) Botulinum Toxin for Upper Oesophageal Phase Dysfunction in People with Neurological Dysphagia. PI: Julie Regan TCD . Collaborators: Dr  Margaret Walshe, TCD;  Dr Barry McMahon, Dr Tara Coughlan and Anne Murphy Tallaght Hospital, Mindy Chiang TCD.  Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.

Endo FLIP: A medical device examining Upper Oesophageal Phase Dysphagia (HRB)

Measuring the function of the upper oesophageal sphincter for swallowing has remained a persistent challenge for clinicians working in the area of dysphagia. This innovative device was developed by PhD student Julie Regan TCD, Dr Barry McMahon  Tallaght Hospital and Dr Margaret Walshe  and is now ready for validation.  Collaborators: Professor Nathalie Rommel and Professor Jan Tack, University of Leuven, Belgium.  This project was funded by the HRB Clinical Fellowship programme. For further information contact Dr Margaret Walshe

  • Tongue Pressure Measurement: Development and Validation of the Oropress ( Enterprise Ieland/HRB).
    Accurate measurement of impaired tongue function for speech and swallowing is difficult despite the fact intervention in this area is a core feature of clinical work. A wireless device ( Oropress) has been developed by Dr Vincent Casey,  Professor Alison Perry and Dr Richard Conway at the University of Limerick. The Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies (CSLS) are collaborating with this team to assist with validation of the tool. Initial validation work is part funded by Enterprise Ireland. The Health Research Board has funded CSLS student Oral Gilheaney to do some validation research through a HRB Summer Studentship award. For further information contact: Dr Margaret Walshe
  • Epidemiology of Feeding and Swallowing Problems in Neonates Born in Cyprus.
    Preterm infants can present with significant feeding and swallowing problems yet there is minimal research available on the nature and extent of these problems.  There is also no way of categorizing at birth, which infants are deemed to be at high risk for developing swallowing problems. The aim of this prospective epidemiology study is to examine the incidence and prevalence of feeding and swallowing problems of infants born in Cyprus over a two-year period and to develop a scale to determine infant risk. PhD Student: Panayiota Sennekki- Florent with Dr Margaret Walshe. For further information contact: Dr Margaret Walshe.

Analysis of autobiographical narratives of interpersonal communication in psychiatry

This research project involves the analysis of written first-person accounts of experiences of mental health disorders, from historical literature (e.g. Margery Kempe 17th Century) to more recent contemporary writings of artists and writers (e.g. van Gogh’s letters 19th Century, and novelist, Janet Frame in 20th Century).

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

Humour and laughter in speech-language therapy interactions

With an emphasis on conversational sociability, this research project explores- through discourse analysis - the forms, functions and phases of laughter and humour in speech-language therapy clinical interactions.

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

Challenging the ‘disorder’ paradigm in the communication profiles of children with AD(H)D

This research project looks at the language and communication profiles of children with AD (H)D and challenges the pervading perception from the literature and  other sources that many of these children have pervasive pragmatic and discourse difficulties.  This project is in collaboration with an SLT department in a Dublin based Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

The Perceptions and Experiences of People with Aphasia participating in a Conversation Partner Scheme

The difficulties in communicating which are experienced by people with aphasia (an acquired communication disorder which frequently follows stroke) have a negative impact on their quality of life, frequently leading to isolation and loss of social networks. An innovative programme pioneered in the UK, the Conversation Partner Scheme (CPS) involves supported conversations for the person with aphasia, with pairs of students, on a regular basis. CPS allows people with aphasia living in the community to participate in conversations in an informal social setting, usually at home. This ongoing project aims to explore the perceptions and experiences of people with aphasia  in a Conversation partner Scheme involving first year CSLS students.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

Student Learning and Experiences of Communication Disability within a Conversation Partner Scheme with People with Aphasia

The Conversation Partner Scheme is a service learning module in the JF CSLS course. The module seeks to facilitate civic engagement and skills development on the part of the students. This ongoing project aims to explore the learning and experiences of students engaged in this module.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

CONNECTing with the Community: Enhancing Student Learning through Structured Reflective Practice

Funding from the Service Learning Grant (Trinity College Dublin) has allowed the Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies to engage the expertise of four people with aphasia in the process of re-designing the reflective practice component of the Conversation Partner Scheme. This research aims to explore the impact of the changes implemented on student learning and the quality of the service provided to people with aphasia.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

Lifestyle factors Correlated with Well Being across the Lifespan

Funding: Atlantic Philanthropies

CO/PI with Dr John Garry, Queens University, Belfast.

For further information contact Dr. Kathleen McTiernan

Life Course Narrative biography and the Construction of Happiness in Later Life

For further information contact Dr. Kathleen McTiernan

Hidden Histories - Intercultural Dialogue and Learning

November 2010 - October 2012

Funding by: EU: Grundtvig programme

This project is funded by the EU (Grundtvig programme). The University of Sussex leads this, with partners in Ireland (Centre for Deaf Studies, TCD), Austria and Finland. The project focuses on the creation of digital archives of community experiences in rural, nomadic, and Deaf communities.

A key objective of this project is to increase the participation in lifelong learning of marginalised and disadvantaged groups and, as a result of this participation to increase their engagement with civic society and learning.

It fosters learning opportunities based on participation in local community activities, developing alternative and innovative ways of learning, and sharing good practice on intercultural education, learning by marginalized citizens and their linguistic, social and cultural inclusion.

For further information please contact Dr. Lorraine Leeson.

An analysis of the views and experiences of schools that have voluntarily withdrawn from The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative

The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative (MLPSI) currently operates in 15% of primary schools nationwide. As part of this Project French, German, Spanish and Italian are taught to pupils in fifth and sixth class in primary school. Since it began in 1998, a small number of schools have withdrawn annually for a variety of reasons. While there has been two evaluation reports written on the Project itself (Harris and Conway, 2002; Harris and O’Leary, 2009) and a feasibility study conducted on the teaching of modern languages in primary schools (NCCA, 2008), the views and experiences of schools that have voluntarily withdrawn from the Initiative have not been sought or documented to date. This Project examines the findings from a survey of Principals’/Schools that have withdrawn from the Initiative since its inception. It documents their views and experiences of the Initiative, their reasons for withdrawing from it, and it explores their views on the feasibility of teaching modern languages in primary schools more generally. It is hoped that the information collected will critically inform the future direction the Initiative itself might take and that the findings will feed into the broader debate on the teaching of languages in primary schools.

For further information please contact Denise O'Leary or Dr. John Harris.

BRIDGE-IT: Trinity Long Room Hub Murphy Innovation Fund

The Lifescapes (BRIDGE-IT) project is an interdisciplinary initiative which draws on research expertise from the TCD Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of English, the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and TCD Library.  The Lifescapes Digital Archive may be viewed at

Becoming and Aided Communicator (BAC): A Multisite International Project on Aided Language Development
My Day, My Life and Me: A life story project of people with severe communication impairments
Parental expectations and experiences of their roles in speech and language therapy interventions for children with autism
Leveraging parental engagement as a catalyst for change in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage
Sibling experiences in families where one member uses AAC

Language assessment in aided communication: tools and processes
Universal language enrichment interventions in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage

For further information please contact Dr Martine Smith