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Meet the Team

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Professor Lucy Henry


Dr Sebastian Poloczek

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Professor David Messer

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Dr Henrik Danielsson

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Rachel Dennan

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Lucy Henry is a Professor of Speech and Language at City, University of London.  She obtained her DPhil from Oxford on children’s memory development, and subsequently worked in several University and clinical psychology settings, broadening her research interests to include memory development and executive functioning in children with a range of intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Lucy began a programme of research into memory skills in children with intellectual disabilities whilst at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.  The current project on language, literacy and procedural memory in children with intellectual disabilities, supported by the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, is now extending that work at City.

Principal Investigator



Sebastian Poloczek is a Research Fellow at Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany), but also has visiting status at the University of Bristol.  Sebastian studied Psychology and Special Needs Education at Goethe University Frankfurt where he subsequently obtained his PhD "Working memory and school achievement of children with Intellectual Disabilites".  After completion, he continued to work at the Goethe University as a PostDoc. His projects were on children's strategy use in memory tasks and arithmetic tasks.  From October 2016 to September 2018, he worked as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.  He is currently working on collaborative research projects and is interested in memory development and strategy development in arithmetic.

Research Fellow


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David is an Emeritus Professor at the Open University (Education), an Honorary Professor at City University, London (Language and Communication Sciences) and a Visiting Professor at London South Bank University (Psychology).  He has a degree in Psychology from Reading University and a PhD from Strathclyde University when supervised by Professor Rudolph Schaffer.  He was a Fogerty Visiting Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, USA.  David was President of the British Psychological Society Developmental Psychology Section and member of several BPS Boards.  He was also reviser for AQA GCSE and A level examinations and academic adviser to the BBC series Child of Our Time.

His research interests include:
1) The way technology can be used in education, especially to assist language and literacy development.  
2) Children’s communication and language, particularly children with communication difficulties, such as problems with Word-Finding (WFDs), Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Intellectual Disabilities.
3) Children’s cognitive development, particularly executive functioning, inner speech, memory, the progression from implicit to explicit thinking, and prospective memory.

Emeritus Professor


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Henrik is an Associate Professor at Linköping University, Sweden.  His research looks at cognitive prerequsites for communication in two groups with disability; intellectual disability and hearing loss.  Henrik is interested in different types of cognition, specifically working memory and executive functions in people with intellectual disabilities.  Henrik completed his PhD in this field in 2006. Since then he has continued to publish articles and has several international collaborations.  Henrik is also interested in technology for people with disabilities.  He collaborates with others to find language technology solutions, such as simplifying text, to help people with disabilities. 

Associate Professor


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Rachel completed her BSc (hons) in Psychology at the University of Warwick during which she worked on research projects involving language and literacy in school children.  She went on to complete her MSc in Language Science specialising in communication and neuroscience at University College London.  Rachel spent a year working with adults with learning disabilities and is also a qualified teacher, completing her teacher training at the Institute of Education.  She worked as a Reception class teacher in an inner-city London school and also taught various ages working as a supply teacher in multiple schools across London.  This project combines Rachel’s interest in child development and her love of working with children.

Research Assistant


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