UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


MSc SLS Career Bio Lucy Hughes

Lucy Hughes

I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2007, having previously worked as a journalist and TV Producer. I chose to make this career change because it gave me a sense of vocation, which has stayed with me throughout my journey as an SLT so far.

My first SLT job was as an Early Years therapist in Camden, based in a health centre just around the corner from Chandler House. The team are experts in Parent Child Interaction, using video to help carers support their child’s language development. As a newly-qualified therapist, I received specialist training and mentoring to develop my skills in this area and continue to apply these in both my research and clinical practice.

I later took on a mixed post, working part of the week in mainstream schools, whilst continuing to manage a pre-school caseload. After a period of maternity leave, I returned to Camden to co-run a pre-school language unit and developed my specialist interest in children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). This led to my appointment as a Speech and Language Therapist / Research Associate on the WoRD Project – a clinical research study, based at UCL, which evaluated interventions for children with word-finding difficulties.

After the WoRD study, I continued to develop my clinical skills working both privately and as a therapist with Central Surrey Health and then, most recently, as part of Surrey County Council’s newly-established schools-based SLT service. Whilst I continue to specialise in DLD, my ongoing professional development has allowed me to gain wider experience with children who stammer and in special schools for those with autism spectrum disorder.

In September 2017, I returned to UCL to begin a funded MRes and PhD. My research focuses on developing and piloting a new intervention to support primary-aged children with DLD in conversation with their carers. Looking ahead, I hope to develop my career as a clinical academic – combining both research and clinical practice.

Throughout my time as an SLT, I have received unending support and encouragement from those around me, inspiring me to take on new challenges and carry on learning as I enter my second decade as a therapist. Although it took me a while to get here, I feel lucky to have joined a profession that is both fascinating and meaningful.