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Project 4: Shared book reading with young children with Down Syndrome: working with parents to enhance parent-child interaction and child language and communication outcomes

   Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics

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  Dr E Pagnamenta, Prof Vesna Stojanovik  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Down syndrome is the most common genetic cause of learning disability. One of the biggest challenges for individuals with Down syndrome is language, a well-known predictor of psychosocial and academic outcomes. Evidence suggests that shared reading could be an effective vehicle by which parents can support their child’s early language and communication.

Project aims and objectives: This PhD offers a unique opportunity to conduct a collaborative project that will have a direct impact on parents and preschool children with Down syndrome by:

  • analysing the characteristics of shared book reading interactions between young pre-school children with Down syndrome and their parents
  • co-creating with parents an interactive shared book reading intervention and training package for 2-4 year old children with Down syndrome
  • conducting a small-scale case series to test the acceptability and potential of the intervention and training package for enhancing child language and communication

Down Syndrome Education International is an international charity based in the UK that supports scientific research and delivers evidence-based advice and information to improve outcomes for children with Down syndrome worldwide.

Collaborative Partner: Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI)

Training Opportunities

A comprehensive package of training will be agreed in consultation with the supervisors. Elements of training will be provided by the supervisors, University of Reading, Down Syndrome Education International and by other providers. The successful candidate will join a thriving postgraduate research community of more than 70 PhD students who benefit from excellent support and resources from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences and the University Graduate School

Applicants: essential and/or desirable attributes/skills

We are seeking a Speech and Language Therapy, Linguistics or Psychology graduate with excellent communication skills, experience of working with young children and enthusiastic about working with parents.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time

Residential eligibility

  • To be eligible for a full award you must be a Home or International student who satisfies the criteria below:

To be a home student, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If you do not meet any of the criteria above, you are classed as an international student.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study University of Reading, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to University of Reading, How to apply for a PhD for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS for this collaborative studentship. Please read the SeNSS Collaborative Studentship Application Guidance Notes before completing our online application form. The Guidance Notes are available at the bottom of the following webpage: Applying for a SeNSS collaborative studentship

Starting date: On or about 1 October 2022.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Dr Emma Pagnamenta ([Email Address Removed])

For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The studentship award covers your university fees and provides you with a stipend of £15,609 per year. You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.
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