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Liz Smith

Research Associate

+44(0)29 2087 0573
2.12, Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


I am interested in a number of learning disabilities; my research has been particularly focussed on individuals with Down syndrome, and the development of interventions to support memory and language skills among this population. I have also been carrying out research developing technology apps to detect early dementia related changes among adults with Down syndrome. More recently I have been investigating the impact of smart home technology on wellbeing, independence and communication among adults with various types of learning disabilities.


I was awarded a Psychology BSc degree from the University of Leicester in 2009. I then worked as a teaching support assistant for adults with additional learning needs at Warwickshire College; I developed a strong interest and enjoyment of working with individuals with special educational needs and learning difficulties. I completed an MSc in Research Methods at the University of Bristol in 2011. Subsequently I carried out my PhD at Bristol exploring routes to support verbal short-term memory among individuals with Down syndrome, supervised by Prof. Chris Jarrold. I completed my PhD in 2014 and began a post-doctoral position based at the University of Bristol. While based in Bristol, I was largely working on a collaborative project within the Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo, Norway; the Down syndrome LanguagePlus project ( This project was supervised by Prof. Kari-Anne Næss, and involved the development of a large-scale vocabulary intervention for 6-year-old children with Down syndrome across Norway. While at Bristol, I received a research grant from Jerome Lejeune Foundation, along with Prof. Chris Jarrold, to explore the feasibility of novel executive function tasks to detect early signs of dementia among adults with Down syndrome. Following this I began my current post-doctoral position at Cardiff University in 2018, supervised by Prof. Petroc Sumner, investigating the use of smart home technology among adults with learning disability. This research is in partnership with Innovate Trust; a local charity providing supported accommodation to individuals with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues. 

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