Skip to content Skip to menu

Joanna Atkinson

Dr Joanna Atkinson

I am a clinical psychologist and research scientist with a career spanning more than 20 years in neuropsychology practice and research. My work has focused mainly on research and clinical service development with deaf people. It addresses the challenge of clinical assessment and rehabilitation of acquired and developmental neurological conditions in deaf people who use British Sign Language. I developed and normed new BSL cognitive tests, which resulted in ground-breaking, specialist neuropsychology provision for deaf people at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH. I have also helped to pioneer research on autism, aphasia, voice hallucinations, and inner language, in deaf signers, and I am, to my knowledge, the only deaf BSL-using neuropsychologist in the UK.

My research cuts across several fields including cognitive neuroscience; neuropsychology and psycholinguistics, leading to valuable insights about human cognition and language, that are not only limited to deaf people who use sign languages. For example, I was able to help establish that voice-hallucinations are multimodal even in hearing speakers.

Between 1999-2002, I worked as a researcher on the Deaf Stroke Project, exploring the impact of stroke (CVA) on sign language comprehension and production. I completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bristol in 2005 and a post-doctoral diploma in Applied Clinical Neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London in 2008. I worked as a post-doctoral researcher on projects relating to dementia, and executive function in deaf adults and children. I took a leading role in the development of an online test portal, which made assessments available to practitioners working with deaf people.

I am a practitioner clinical psychologist and work with both deaf and hearing patients in the NHS, and in independent practice. I provide specialist neuropsychology assessments at the Roberta Williams Assessment Centre and City University and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Most recently, I have been working as an NHS clinical psychologist in community neurorehabilitation in Croydon, South London. I have been piloting new disability affirmative approaches to working with people with acquired disabilities in community neurorehabilitation, including the delivery of online groups for people with multiple sclerosis.

You can find a list of my publications here :

Contact details

49 Gordon Square

Google map

020 7679 8671

Labs, themes, centres and facilities