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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
Name Smith, Martine Mary
Main Department Clin Speech & Language Studies
College Title Associate Professor
College Tel +353 1 896 2027
Details Date
Associate Editor, Augmentative and Alternative Communication Journal 2007-2015
Associate Editor, Child Language Teaching and Therapy journal 2009-2015
Member of the Speech Language Therapists Registration Board, CORU 2013
Member of Expert Advisory Group for youngballymun project 2010-2015
National Designated Expert with the Research SubCommittee of the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies 2010
Member of the Health and Social Care Professionals Research Group 2013-2015
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Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists (IASLT)
International Affiliate American Speech-Language Hearing Association
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication-Ireland
President of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, (ISAAC) 2005 2007
Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT) 2003 2008
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Awards and Honours
Award Date
Fellow Trinity College Dublin 2010
AAC Editor's Award for best paper 1992
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Medium Medium Medium
Irish Fluent Fluent Fluent
Description of Research Interests
Augmentative and alternative communication: the impact of severe speech and physical impairments on literacy development and working memory; language acquisition in aided communication; the impact of aided communication on interaction processes; perspectives of aided communicators. Developmental speech and language disorders Drooling and cerebral palsy Language based literacy difficulties
Research Interests
ALTERNATIVE AND AUGMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION Alternative Communication Systems Childhood Communication Disorders Developmental disorders of speech and language
Research Projects
Project title Literacy acquisition and severe speech and physical impairments
Summary The relationship between the ability to produce speech and ot perceive speech is unresolved. One view is that speech production is fundamental to the perception of speech (Liberman, Cooper, Shankweiler & Studdert-Kennedy, 1967). Such a position would predict that children unable to produce speech should be impaired in their speech perception and hence comprehension. Other studies have provided clear evidence that a severe congenital speech impairment does not preclude the development of comprehension. Phonological awareness is an umbrella term for a group of skills involving the ability to detect, identify and manipulate the sound structure of language. There is strong research evidence linking these skills with success in learning to read and write. Phonological processing skills are know to emerge over time, and to increase in sophistication. The aim of the research in this project is to explore the relationships between speech impairment and speech processing skills in children with congenital anarthria across the primary school years. A more clear understanding of the impact of a severe speech impairment on the development of speech processing skills over time will provide direction for intervention to support the development of literacy skills. This research is linked with ongoing collaboration with partners in Sweden and Spain.
Funding Agency Central Remedial Clinic
Type of Project
Date from October 2005
Date to September 2008
Person Months

Project title Becoming an aided communicator
Summary This is an international cross-linguistic project across 19 sites, coordinated by the University of Oslo, focusing on the language and communication development of children with severe speech and physical impairments who rely on graphic symbols and/or electronic communication devices to communicate. The research seeks to explore the interrelationships between receptive and expressive communication skills across spoken and graphic modalities, in children aged 5-15 years. Children acquiring language using graphic symbols typically are exposed primarily to speech as the primary mode of communication, but rely primarily on graphic symbols for their own expressive communication. The impact of this modality asymmetry is poorly understood. Most of these children have little access to role models who are expert in their own communication systems and many may be more expert in the use of their graphic symbols than the adults who are expected to support their communication development. The international collaboration with this project creates the potential for exploring the solutions to this unusual communication situation that are created by a uniquely large cohort of participants.
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Type of Project
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Project title Evaluation of an intervention in children with oromotor disorders
Summary This intervention investigated the impact of the use of oral screen appliances on the drooling and speech production of children with primary physical impairments and associated oromotor difficulties.
Funding Agency Central Remedial Clinic
Type of Project Clinical
Date from September 2008
Date to December 2009
Person Months

Project title What does it take to communicate using graphic symbols?
Summary Children communicating using graphic symbols typically produce expressive output that is limited in terms of syntactic complexity and frequently different in terms of structural features relative to an expected spoken utterance. It is not clear whether these features reflect (1) underlying language difficulties that are manifested in both graphic and spoken modalities, with only the graphic modality available for inspection; (2) strategic accommodation to the time demands of aided communication; or (3) modality specific adaptations. One of the more productive avenues for exploring the value of each of these candidate explanations is the involvement of typically developing children, who have the potential to generate output both in graphic symbols and in speech. This research project explores the impact of varying sentence constructions on (1) the interpretation and (2) the generation of descriptions of events across spoken and graphic symbol contexts in typically developing children aged 5-7 years.
Funding Agency Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Type of Project
Date from 2010
Date to 2013
Person Months

Project title Remembering symbols: Validating a symbol span task.
Summary Assessing the working memory skills of children with severe speech and physical impairments is challenging, because of the contraints in terms of motor response accessible. The most commonly used tool is an adapted version of the digit span task, with number displays presented visually so that participants can select digits from the display. The goal of this project is to develop and validate accessible symbol- and text-based working memory tasks, initially with typically developing children and subsequently with children with severe speech and physical impairments. The research involves collaboration with the University of La Coruna and Manchester Metropolitan University.
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Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Walshe M, Smith, M & Pennington, L., Interventions for drooling in children with cerebral palsy (Protocol)., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7), 2010
Dahlgren-Sandberg, A., Smith, M.M., Larsson, M., An analysis of reading and spelling abilities of children using AAC: Understanding a continuum of competence, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 26, (3), 2010, p191 - 202
Smith, M, Sandberg, AD, Larsson, M, Reading and spelling in children with severe speech and physical impairments: a comparative study., International journal of language & communication disorders / Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, 44, (6), 2009, p864 - 882
Smith, Martine, Connolly, Isobel, Roles of aided communication: Perspectives of adults who use AAC, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 3, (5), 2008, p260 - 273
Smith, Martine, Literacy and Augmentative and Alternative Communication, First, New York, Elsevier, 2005, 1 - 267pp
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Last Updated:01-OCT-2014