Dr Yvonne Wren, BSc (Hons), MEd, PhD, Cert M RCSLT

Dr Yvonne Wren, BSc(Manch)(Hons), MEd(Bristol), PhD(Bristol), Cert M RCSLT

BSLTRU, Director 

Yvonne is Director of Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol in the Faculty of Health Sciences.  She is also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Health and Clinical Research at the University of the West of England. Yvonne qualified as a speech and language therapist at the University of Manchester and then worked in a clinical capacity in Liverpool and Bristol for ten years before joining BSLTRU. She obtained her PhD in 2005 from the University of Bristol and was awarded a fellowship from the National Institute of Health Research in 2011. She is Associate Editor of Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica and chair of the Child Speech Committee for the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (Speech and Language Therapists).

Yvonne is a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ (RCSLT) Research and Development Reference Group and part of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech. In 2010, she set up the Child Speech Disorder Research Network (previously Specialists in Specific Speech Impairment Network) and was chair of this national organisation until 2018. Together with other members of the network, she has developed two sets of guidelines for the transcription and analysis of children’s speech, both of which have been endorsed by RCSLT.  Together with her colleagues on the Australian Research Council funded Sound Start study, she was awarded the Editor’s award for the Speech Section of the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research for papers published in 2017.

Current research

Yvonne’s main area of interest is in the field of persistent speech disorder and more specifically, in developing a better understanding of the causes and characteristics of children who have this difficulty. Currently, while many children present with various degrees of delay in the development of their speech sound system in the early years, some resolve spontaneously while others respond to intervention and a third group continue to have ongoing problems into their school years. There is a strong evidence base to show that these children who have persistent problems are at higher risk for poor life outcomes. If clinicians have the information and tools to reliably distinguish between those children who will spontaneously resolve in the pre-school years from those who are at risk of persistent difficulties, intervention could be targeted at those who are most at risk. Yvonne currently leads on research studies of persistent speech disorder using birth cohort data from ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) and is chief investigator of the Cleft Collective Speech and Language Study, a national cohort study of speech and language development in children born with cleft palate. She is also currently investigating the impact of working with teaching assistants in providing intervention for children with speech sound disorder and has recently collaborated on an Australian Research Council funded randomised controlled trial of the Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter intervention software, developed at BSLTRU, with children in Australia.

Selected publications
  • McCormack, J., Baker, E., Masso, S., Crowe, K., McLeod, S., Wren, Y. & Roulstone, S.E. (2017) Implementation fidelity of a computer-assisted intervention for children with speech sound disorders. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
  • McLeod, S., Crowe, K., Masso, S., Baker, E., McCormack, J., Wren, Y., Roulstone, S., & Howland, C. (2017, online). Profile of Australian preschoolers with speech sound disorders at risk for literacy difficulties. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties. DOI: 10.1080/19404158.2017.1287105
  • Wren, Y., Roulstone, S., Miller, L.L., Emond, A. and Peters, T. (2016) The prevalence, characteristics and risk factors of persistent speech disorder. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 59, 647-673. [IF 2.795]
  • Sullivan, S., Hollen, L., Wren, Y., Thompson, A., Lewis, G. & Zammit. S. (2016). A longitudinal investigation of childhood communication ability and adolescent psychotic experiences in a community sample. Schizophrenia Research 173, 54-61 [IF 4.748]
Researchgate profile



Bristol Medical School - Paediatrics and child health