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Dr Suze Leitão

BMedSci Speech UShef, GradDipSpPath Curtin, PhD UWA.

Associate Investigator

Contact Details

Phone : +61 8 9266 7620
Fax : +61 8 9266 2464
email :
Homepage :

External Address

School of Psychology and Speech Pathology
Curtin University


After working for many years as a clinician and completing my PhD, I moved into part-time teaching, research and supervision at Curtin in 2003. I have been lucky enough to supervise a range of excellent PhD, Masters and Honours students and we continue to have a thriving research group which covers many areas such as: speech, language and literacy, discourse production and processing, working memory, phonological awareness and phonological representations, word learning and early identification of at-risk children. I am particularly interested in research that informs our understanding of language development and disorders.
Another main area of research focuses on treatment effectiveness in a range of areas across the lifespan. I have been working in collaboration with Dr Karen Smith-Lock on a programme of research investigating treatment effectiveness within language development centre settings in Western Australia. This work has extended into a number of related projects covering different areas of treatment and population groups.

Recent External Appointments

  • Life Member, Speech Pathology Australia. (2016 continuing)
  • Member, Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation. (2010 continuing)
  • Chair, Ethics Board of Speech Pathology Australia. (2010 continuing)
  • Executive Board Member, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. (2005 continuing)
  • Fellow, Speech Pathology Australia. (2005 continuing)
  • Editorial Board, Child Language Teaching and Therapy. (2003 continuing)
  • Fellow, Speech Pathology Association of Australia. (1986 continuing)


  • Accredited Clinical Supervisors Award, Australian Association of Speech & Hearing (1989), Leitão, S.

Selected Publications


  • Jackson, E., Leitão, S., & Claessen, M. (2016). The relationship between phonological short-term memory, receptive vocabulary and fast mapping in children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 51, 61-73. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12185
  • Smith-Lock, K.M., Leitão, S., Prior, P., & Nickels, L. (2015). The effectiveness of two grammar treatmtent procedures for children with SLI: A randomized clinical trial. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 43, 312-324. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0041
  • Whitworth, A., Claessen, M., Leitão, S., & Webster, J. (2015). Beyond narrative: Is there an implicit structure to the way in which adults organise their discourse? Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 29(6), 45-481.
  • Whitworth, A., Leitão, S., Cartwright, J., Webster, J., Hankey, G.J., Zach, J., Howard, D., & Wolz, V. (2015). NARNIA: a new twist to an old tale. A pilot RCT to evaluate a multilevel approach to improving discourse in aphasia. Aphasiology, 29(11), 1345-1382. doi: 10.1080/02687038.2015.1081143
  • Claessen, M., Leitão, S., Kane, R., & Williams, C. (2013). Phonological processing skills in specific language impairment. Pathology, 15(5), 471-483.
  • Golding, S., Leitão, S., & Williams, C. (2013). Speech and language development of intercountry adopted children aged 3 to 6 years: An explorative study of Australia parents’ knowledge, beliefs and experiences. Adoption Quarterly, 16(1), 40-61.
  • Highman, C., Hennessey, N., Leitão, S, & Piek, J. (2013). Early development in infants at risk of childhood apraxia of speech: A longitudinal investigation. Developmental Neuropsychology, 38(3), 197-210.
  • Quail, M., Sanderson, B., & Leitão, S. (2013). Ethical reasoning in clinical education: Achieving the balance. Pathology, 15(2), 99–103.
  • Seiler, A., Leitão, S., & Blosfelds, M. (2013). The effectiveness of a computer supported intervention targeting orthographic processing and phonological recoding for children with impaired word identification: A preliminary study. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech Language Pathology, 15(1), 13-18.
  • Smith-Lock, K.M., Leitão, S., Lambert, L., & Nickels, L. (2013). Effective intervention for expressive grammar in children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 48(3), 265-282. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12003
  • Smith-Lock, K.M., Leitão, S., Lambert, L., Prior, P., Dunn, A., Cronje, J., Newhouse, S., & Nickels, L. (2013). Daily or weekly? The role of treatment frequency in the effectiveness of grammar treatment for children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15, 255-267.
  • Ward, R., Strauss, G., & Leitão, S. (2013). Kinematic changes in jaw and lip control of children with cerebral palsy following participation in a motor-speech (PROMPT) intervention. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15(2), 136–155.
  • Claessen, M., & Leitão, S. (2012). The relationship between stored phonological representations and speech output. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 226-234.
  • Claessen, M., & Leitão, S. (2012). Phonological representations in children with SLI. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 28, 211-223.
  • Highman, C., Leitão, S., Hennessey, N., & Piek, J. (2012). Prelinguistic communication development in children with childhood apraxia of speech: A retrospective analysis. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(1), 5-47.
  • Golding, S. Leitão, S., & Williams, C. (2011). Speech and language development: Knowledge and experiences of foster carers. ACQuiring knowledge in Speech, Language & Hearing, 13(1), 12-19.
  • Hennessey, N., Mucciarone, K. & Leitão, S. (2010). Verbal repetition skill in language impaired children: Evidence of inefficient lexical processing? International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12(1), 47-57.

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Francis, D., Leitão, S., Claessen, M., & McArthur, G. (2017, March). Mental health and self-esteem in children with reading difficulties. Symposium conducted at the Language, Literacy and Learning Conference, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth.
  • Smith-Lock, K., & Leitão, S. (2011, November). Grammar intervention in children with Specific Language Impairment: Results of an effectiveness study. Colloquium at the West Coast Language Development Center, Department of Education, Ridgewood, WA, Australia.
  • Smith-Lock, K.M., & Leitão, S. (2011, May). Language treatment techniques. Colloquium at the West Coast Language Development Centre, Department of Education, Ridgewood, WA, Australia.
  • Leitão, S. (2011, January). Speech, Lexical and Literacy Difficulties in Children. Presentation given at the Speech Pathology Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

Further Information

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