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Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language

The Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language is an international collaboration between UCL (London, UK) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia).

The Centre of Research Excellence in Speech and Language is an international collaboration between UCL (London, UK) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia)involving experts in the fields of speech pathology, paediatric neurology, neuroscience, genetics and bioinformatics.

Boy shouts through megaphone
Why research causes of speech and language disorders?

Speech and language disorders are common.
One in five children starts school with a speech or language disorder. Some children will grow out of it, but others will go on to have persistent communication difficulties.
Speech and language disorders often run in families.
This suggests there may be genes that make it more likely a person will have a speech or language disorder.
We know little about the genetic causes of speech and language disorders.
Genetic factors are thought to play a significant role in speech and language. Yet only a small number of genes for childhood speech disorder have been identified to date.
Understanding causes of speech and language disorders will improve developments in treatment.
Currently many treatments for speech and language disorders focus on symptoms only without targeting the underlying cause of the problem. Learning more about the genetic and neurobiological basis of speech and language disorders will help us identify who may be at risk, and allow us to develop more targeted treatments.

 

About the study

We are trying to find out if people who have difficulties with speech or language
•    have genetic changes to their DNA
•    have some very subtle differences in their brains, even though their brains look normal on standard clinical scans.

To do this, we need to study the genetic makeup of people who have speech-language difficulties of unknown origin.
We also need to compare their brain MRIs to those of people who have no problems, using advanced techniques.

We hope the results of this study will help us develop new therapy methods for children with developmental speech-language disorders.

Who can join?

We are recruiting 4 groups of participants:
1) People with a family history of speech and language disorder
•    Families with at least 5 affected individuals with a history of speech-language disorder
•    English as a first language
•    Individuals can be aged from 3 years up to adulthood

2) People with a speech and language disorder despite no family history of speech and language problems
•    Aged above 3 years with a severe and persistent speech-language disorder
•    English as a first language

3) Families with genetic syndromes (FOXP1 and FOXP2)
•    Confirmed genetic syndrome affecting FOXP1 or FOXP2 by genetic testing
•    English as a first language
•    Aged 3 years up to adulthood

4) Control participants without speech-language disorder
•    Age appropriate speech, language and literacy skills
•    English as a first language
•    No prior history of speech disorder/delay, or any neurological conditions (e.g. ADD, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, language impairment) or any medical condition that may affect speech.

 

Who cannot take part?

We are sorry, but you cannot take part if:
•    Your child is less than 3 years old (Children aged 3-5 years will not be able to take part in the MRI, but can be involved with other parts of the study)
•    English is your child’s second language
•    Your child has any neurological conditions (such as epilepsy)
•    Your child has any metal in their body (e.g. orthodontic braces, implants, pacemaker etc)

 

FAQs

1.    Where does the study take place?
The study will take place at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London. We will provide compensation for travel.

2.    What will happen in the study?

The visit has three parts:
•    You will visit us for testing across speech, language and cognitive skills.
•    We will ask you to provide a saliva sample by spitting into a collection kit. We will give you a spit kit to give us around 1 teaspoon of saliva.
•    There may also be a brain scan at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  We will explain the process to you in detail. You can decide whether to take part in this part of the study.

3.    What if I don’t live in the UK?
We are currently only running this study in the UK and in Australia (https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/centres/speech-language).

4.    Where can I find our more?


    
5.    What are the potential benefits?
This research project may not bring any immediate benefits to you. However, we hope that in due course, the information we obtain from this research project will help improve the quality of life for children with developmental speech-language disorders.
If you wish, you can receive a report about your strengths and weaknesses from the assessments we carry out.  
Once you have taken part in this project, you can ask us to send the results to your clinical care team. This may help them make decisions about what to do next to help you. Speak to us if you would like us to do this.

6.    Will I be reimbursed for expenses?
We will reimburse the travel expenses you incur during your visit as well as lunch.  We can give you a picture of your brain to take home if you wish.

7.    Who has reviewed the study?
This project has been approved by an independent Research Ethics Committee (the Yorkshire and the Humber (Sheffield) committee).
The information sheets tell you what we do with the data.

8.    What if I would like more information before I decide if I would like to take part?
If you have any questions about the study please do not hesitate to contact a member of the research team, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have!  Our contact details can be found in the ‘Contact us’ section of our webpage.  In the first instance, please address any questions to Dr Liegeois, the Chief investigator in the UK.

 

Contact Us

Contact us: https://redcap.idhs.ucl.ac.uk/surveys/?s=4EK9XLMRWA
Study email: ich.speechlanguage@ucl.ac.uk

Main contact with familes:
Daisy Thompson-Lake
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry Section
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH
Tel: 0207 905 2325
Email: d.thompson-lake@ucl.ac.uk

Chief Investigator: Dr. Frederique Liegeois
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry Section
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH
Tel: 0207 905 2728
Email: f.liegeois@ucl.ac.uk