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Meet the team

Moor House Research & Training Institute


Dr Susan Ebbels

Susan has worked at Moor House with children with Language Disorder, including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for over 20 years. 

Prior to this, she worked in mainstream and special schools, language units, nurseries and clinics, both as a speech and language therapist and earlier as a speech and language therapy assistant. She has an honorary lectureship at UCL (where she completed her PhD in 2005) and was recently awarded a Fellowship by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), to whom she is also a specialist advisor. 

She is on the editorial boards of two peer reviewed journals, the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders and Child Language Teaching and Therapy. 

She is passionate about the need for evidence-based practice and has carried out, coordinated and published many intervention studies on a range of areas, but with a particular focus on improving the comprehension and production of grammar in children with language disorders using her SHAPE CODINGTM system. She delivers regular courses both on the SHAPE CODINGTM system and on the current evidence base for school-aged children with DLD.

Hilary Nicoll
Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist

Hilary is an experienced, evidence-based Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist within the field of language disorders, including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). 

Working across both Moor House School & College and the Research & Training Institute, Hilary provides highly specialist interventions to a small caseload of students with DLD in 1:1 small group and classroom sessions, working within an integrated, intensive speech and language therapy service.

She also provides expert support, advice and training to both internal and external professionals, including Makaton (regional tutor), the SHAPE CODING™ system (accredited trainer), The Listening Program® (certified provider) and Signed English (tutor).

Hilary is a regular presenter at conferences and recently co-authored a research paper on the effectiveness of semantic intervention for word-finding difficulties in college-aged students with persistent language disorders. 

Sue Marr
MHRTI Trainer  

An experienced teacher in both mainstream and SEN settings, Sue began her career in a mainstream school and in 1996 started working for the London Borough of Bromley as KS2 specialist teacher in both their language units. 

It was here that she began supporting pupils with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Sue worked closely with Speech & Language Therapists (SLTs) to deliver specialist language teaching and supported pupils’ re-integration into mainstream classes.

In 2006, she joined the teaching staff at Moor House and has extensive experience of devising and delivering a mainstream curriculum that has been highly differentiated for the language needs of the pupils in her class. She has worked closely alongside speech and language therapists for many years to ensure that speech and language therapy can be integrated throughout the curriculum using a range of specialist systems. 

In 2019, Sue was seconded to the MHRTI as a trainer to develop a range of courses for mainstream schools.

Debbie Burridge
Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist

Debbie is a qualified Paediatric Occupational Therapist and has worked with children and young people with special educational needs since 2007. Her specialist areas are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sensory processing difficulties and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)/ Dyspraxia. She has worked with children and young people with a wide range of learning difficulties, including Downs Syndrome and acquired brain injury.

Upon graduating from London South Bank University in 2012, Debbie started work as an Occupational Therapist at Moor House School & College, where she created the WHEEL OF INDEPENDENCE™ framework, a Life Skills Curriculum used to help track and plan intervention for life skills. This is now trademarked and has been developed as an online tool. 

Debbie continues to develop the WHEEL OF INDEPENDENCE™ framework through the Moor House Research and Training Institute, leading training sessions on its application in practice, executive functioning, the impact on life skills and strategies on how to maximise independence.

When not working, she will be found drinking hot chocolate, baking or on the river in a boat or on a paddle board. 

Dr Nicola Dawson
Research Speech and Language Therapist

Nicky recently joined MHRTI and will be working closely with the team to support and develop research on interventions for children and young people with Developmental Language Disorder. She will split her time at the Institute with her role as Research Associate in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, where she is working on a number of projects relating to children’s language and literacy development.

Nicky qualified as a speech and language therapist in 2010 and worked in mainstream schools for 3 years with a varied caseload. She subsequently worked as a research assistant on a longitudinal project examining the relationship between reading and vocabulary in adolescents. She completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2019, and joined the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher. Nicky’s research interests include morphology and the links between language and areas such as literacy and mental health, and she is looking forward to working with the team to develop evidence-based interventions to support children with DLD in these areas.

Dr Lucy Hughes
Research Speech and Language Therapist

Lucy is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with over 15 years’ clinical experience. Her doctoral research involved designing and trialling a new intervention for children with Developmental Language Disorder, which targets their everyday conversation skills. Lucy was employed as a Research Associate on the Word Retrieval and Development (WoRD) project, a research study which evaluated interventions for children with word-finding difficulties.

As a practitioner, she has worked with children and their carers across mainstream and special schools, health centres and pre-school language units. She also supports student therapists in her role as a Lecturer and Clinical Tutor at Reading University. Prior to retraining as an SLT, Lucy worked as a journalist and television producer, and completed an undergraduate degree in modern languages.


Caroline Burke
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Lara Harwell
Administrative Assistant

James Skitt
Marketing & Communications Officer