Dr Debbie Gooch

Debbie Gooch

Personal profile

After completing my degree in Psychology at the University of York in 2004 I went on to complete the Reading, Language and Cognition MSc in 2005 and a PhD in 2009 (funded by a 1+3 ESRC studentship).  My PhD research, which was supervised by Prof. Maggie Snowling and Prof. Charles Hulme, focused on understanding the comorbidity between dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by investigating the cognitive profiles associated with these disorders and their overlap.


In 2009 I began working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Wellcome Language & Reading project which is a large scale longitudinal investigation into the overlap between developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI).  The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Prof. Maggie Snowling and Prof. Charles Hulme are the principle investigators. The project aims to trace the development of 250 children from three groups (children at family risk for dyslexia, children with speech and/or language difficulties and typically developing children) from the age of 3 years 6 months to age 7 years. 

I am currently working with Dr Courtenay Norbury on the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES) at Royal Holloway, University of London. The project started in March 2012 and will run for the next 4 years.  SCALES is the first population study of language learning and language impairments conducted in the UK.  We are keen to extablish how many children start school with language difficulties and understand the profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses that charaterised these children.  We are also interested in understanding the factors that predict and facilitate children's academic and social ocoutcomes.  In addition within our population sample we are keen to explore the prevelence of comorbities associated with language impairment.

I am particularly interested in how comorbid difficulties (e.g. impairments in attention, motor skills, executive function etc) affect children’s academic and social outcomes and how comorbidity between developmental disorders such as ADHD and Developmental Coordination Disorder impact on the manifestation of LI in children.

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