Nicola Hart - National Research and Support Specialist
National Research and Support Specialist
Nicola Hart is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist who has worked for more than 20 years with people who have Down syndrome and their families. She has been working for Down Syndrome Ireland since 2010, first in a local branch, then in the national office.
Nicola became Team Leader for the Member Support Team in 2017. In early 2022, her role changed to reflect the increasing need for support for research and good practice across the lifespan. She is now employed as National Research and Support Specialist. Nicola remains a CORU registered speech and language therapist, and continues to offer general advice, training and support on speech and language issues alongside her other responsibilities.
Nicola is committed to promoting evidence-led practice, and works with members and researchers to encourage new research, prioritising research questions which will have the maximum impact on the life of children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. The willingness of members to participate in research, answering questions about their lives and experiences is something she never takes for granted. She has recently co-authored a peer-reviewed paper titled ‘Speech and language therapy services for people with Down syndrome; the disparity between research and practice.’
Nicola has a strong interest in developmental language disorder in Down syndrome, and the link between spoken and written language development, as well as how adults with Down syndrome use written language in everyday life. She works together with colleagues in the Member Support Team to support families, educators and therapists so that they can better understand the challenges and the strengths of students with Down syndrome and can work to maximise learning opportunities across the lifespan. She also currently co-ordinates the DSI Special Interest Group for Speech and Language Therapists working with people who have Down syndrome.
Nicola is a member of the Lámh Research and Development committee and worked on the concept and content of the award-winning Lámh Time app. She has recently joined the board of directors of the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT).
Nicola also previously co-authored a Cochrane review on Parent-mediated interventions for promoting communication and language development in young children with Down syndrome: Parent-mediated interventions for promoting communication and language development in young children with Down syndrome and an Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists (IASLT) position paper on Speech and Language Therapy provision for Children with Intellectual Disabilities.
Nicola can be contacted on 087 1444 382 or by email: email@example.com