Tribute to Dr Nata K Goulandris
12 August 2006
Nata Goulandris, formerly Senior Lecturer, University College London, died on 11th August after a long illness.
She will be remembered warmly for her many contributions to speech and language therapy through her research, teaching and professional practice.
Nata graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English in 1962 and then studied in Geneva with the eminent psychologist Jean Piaget. Piaget's teachings were instrumental in nurturing Nata's interest in child development and the role of qualitative observation in informing research. Later, after she had raised her family, two further formative influences shaped her career. She was inspired by the teaching of Kathleen Hickey, a pioneer in the systematic, multisensory teaching of spelling and she was trained by Bevé Hornsby whom she greatly admired, most especially for her involvement of parents in the teaching of dyslexic children. Thus, some 20 years after graduating, Nata resumed her career, initially by qualifying as a teacher and then by completing her PhD thesis 'Emergent spelling: the development of spelling strategies in young children' , whilst also working as a dyslexia therapist at St. Bartholomew's Dyslexia Clinic.
Nata's doctorate was awarded in 1989 and was the entré to an academic career that she embraced with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Although a talented researcher, teaching was Nata's first love; she was totally committed to her students and many graduates of the Department of Human Communication Science at UCL will doubtless remember her lectures and supervisions. Further afield, her teaching extended to professionals working with children with specific learning difficulties nationally and internationally, to Greece, her country of origin, and to Cyprus.
Nata made contributions to knowledge in fields of spelling and its impairments and developmental dyslexia. An important legacy is her book 'Dyslexia: Cross-linguistic Comparisons' published in 2003. However, Nata will be remembered not only for these contributions but more so for her kindness, quiet generosity and care for others. She showed immense courage in the face of illness, continuing to look forward to the next challenge, and it was poignant that, in the last weeks of her life, she took part in lively debate at the Scientific Society for the Study of Reading.
She leaves her husband, Yianni and three sons, Dimitri, Milto and Alexander.