UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

Prof Naomi Dale

Prof Naomi Dale

Professor of Paediatric Neurodisability (with special interest in Vision Neurodisability)

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Joined UCL
18th Apr 2002

Research summary

The mission of Naomi Dale's research is to undertake integrated clinical and scientific research that leads to greater understanding and optimizing of neural, developmental and functional outcomes and psychological well-being of children with paediatric disorders and neurological/ neurodisability risks and their families.

Developmental Vision Lab 

Naomi Dale is the Lead/ Principal Investigator of the multidisciplinary research lab undertaking scientific projects investigating the neuroscientific, visual, developmental and psychological aspects of children with congenital visual disorders and visual impairment. The research lab is based in the Clinical Neurosciences section (UCL ICH) and is integrated with the Developmental Vision Clinic service (Great Ormond Street Hospital). The main work of the lab falls into three principal themes:

Early intervention and vision and developmental promotion in infants with ophthalmological disorders and visual impairment. We have recently undertaken the first national longitudinal comparative effectiveness investigation of the intervention programme, the Developmental Journal for babies and young children with visual impairment, compared with other community support in 1-3 year olds (OPTIMUM project). We are now progressing to designing and scientifically evaluating (RCT) novel infancy vision and developmental habilitation.

Neuroscience of developmental vision Prospective studies have been undertaken on attention control, executive function, social communication disorder/ autism spectrum disorder, adaptive behaviour and behaviour difficulties in children with visual impairment from 0-16 years. We are currently undertaking research on psychological wellbeing and mental psychopathology in 8-12 year olds with visual impairment. Current methods used  include brain imaging, neuro-electrophysiology (ERP, EEG), observational behavioural, cognitive, neuropsychological,  parent-child interactions.

Diagnostic criteria, assessment and clinical classification We are currently developing  the first scientific diagnostic assessment tool for diagnosing social communication difficulties and autism spectrum disorder in children with visual impairment (DaiSY project). A second study  is the development of a robust assessment and data driven classification system for children with cerebral visual impairment (in progress).

See Research Activities for further details of individual projects.

Collaborations The lab group includes Dr Alison Salt (Senior Co-Investigator), Dr Elena Sakkalou (Senior Research Associate), Dr Michelle O’Reilly (Senior Research Associate UCL). Collaborations include Dr Michelle De Haan, Professor Mehul Dattani, Professor Jugnoo Rahi, Professor David Skuse, Professor Chris Clark, Mr Richard Bowman, Mr Robert Henderson, Dr Jenefer Sargent. 

 Naomi Dale is part of the Global Clinical, Education, and Research Network on Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), at Harvard University (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), USA.

Research output See publications section of profile and also ttps://www.researchgate.net/home (Naomi Dale).

Teaching summary

Naomi Dale teaches extensively at postgraduate level nationally and internationally. She gives regular lectures on the UCL MSc Applied Paediatric Neuropsychology course. She is the Joint Course Director of the annual national multidisciplinary training courses: Assessment and management of infants and young children with severe visual impairment: identifying risk and vulnerability and promoting optimal outcomes and Psychological wellbeing in children with long term paediatric illness and their families (Great Ormond Street Hospital). She is regularly invited to teach on national and international neuroscience and neurodisability congresses, particularly in childhood visual disorders and other neurodisability disorders. She sits on a number of national research expert panels including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Royal Society for Blind Children, and Galactosaemia Support Group.  She is a Trustee of the research education charitable foundation of the Mary Kitzinger Trust.

Naomi Dale is the joint author of a new e-learning training course (Health Education England/Royal College Paediatric Child Health), Early Developmental Support, under the Healthy Child Programme. It supports use of the revised Developmental Journal for babies with visual impairment and other Developmental Journal materials.

She regularly supervises doctoral trainees, with Primary Supervisor (UCL status) and has assisted the following trainees to doctoral award: Ian Moran (DClinPsych), Lauren Topper (DClinPsych), Valerie Tadic (PhD), Johannes Bathelt (PhD), Tecla Mlambo (PhD), Rebecca MacKechnie (DClinPsych) and Hanna Sakki (PhD). She also regularly supervises MSc dissertations.


    Naomi Dale undertook her academic and professional qualifications at the University of Manchester (BA Psychology) and Nottingham University (MSc Clinical Child Psychology, combined with NHS Whitley Council inservice training). She was awarded an MRC Research Studentship Award and a Wellcome Research Studentship Award to undertake her doctoral degree at the MRC Unit of Development and Integration of Behaviour, University of Cambridge (PhD Child Psychology/ Human Physiology). She is a qualified clinical psychologist, chartered psychologist and registered clinical neuropsychologist (British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology and Division of Neuropsychology, Health Profession Council). She has practised clinically in the field of childhood neurodisability for over thirty years and has been a consultant clinical psychologist for over twenty years (1995- ), including Head of Psychology (Neurodisability) at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children since 2000. In 2016 she was appointed senior consultant clinical psychologist and Lead in Research and Innovation. Further details of her hospital clinics, see http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information/staff-z/naomi-dale. She has held honorary lecturership roles since 1997 and in 2015 she achieved senior academic promotion, on the basis of her research contribution and leadership, to UCL Reader in Paediatric Neurodisability at University College London (UCL) Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. She has extensive expertise in clinical and academic paediatric neurodisability and neurodevelopmental disorders, with particular focus on childhood ophthalmological and vision disorders and severe visual impairment and metabolic and neuro-endocrinological disorders.