Dr Joanne Cleland


Speech and Language Therapy


Personal statement

I have been at the University of Strathclyde since 2015 where I teach on the undergraduate Speech and Language Pathology Course. I am a HCPC registered Speech and Language Therapist with a PhD in Communication Disorders. 

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Area of Expertise

I am a Speech and Language Therapist with an interest in clinical phonetics and articulatory analysis (mostly ultrasound tongue imaging). My area of expertise is visual biofeedback techniques for the assessment and treatment of motor speech disorders. I am interested in research which looks at speech disorders in children, particularly in children with developmental disabilities. I am interested in motor speech disorders in autism spectrum conditions, Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate and persistent speech sound disorders. 

I welcome enquires from prospective research students interested in the above topics. 

Prize And Awards

Meritorious Poster Submission

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Ultrasound tongue imaging in research and practice with people with cleft palate +/- cleft lip
Cleland Joanne
The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, pp. 1-5 (2023)
Clinical application of usage-based phonology : treatment of cleft palate speech using usage-based electropalotography
Patrick Kathryn, Fricke Silke, Rutter Ben, Cleland Joanne
International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology , pp. 1-52 (2023)
A pilot fieldwork ultrasound study of tongue shape variability in children with and without speech sound disorder
Smith Amy, Dokovova Marie, Lawson Eleanor, Kuschmann Anja, Cleland Joanne
Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Prague 2023 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, pp. 3874-3877 (2023)
A speech therapy animation and imaging resource (STAR)
Lawson Eleanor, Cleland Joanne, Stuart-Smith Jane, Janet Beck, Aitken Brian
International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, pp. 1-4 (2023)
Speech accuracy and quality of life in children with Cleft Palate +/- Cleft Lip
Dokovova Marie, Cleland Joanne, Crampin Lisa, Campbell Linsay
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention (2023)
Tongue shape complexity in children with and without speech sound disorders
Dokovova Marie, Sugden Ellie, Cartney Gemma, Schaeffler Sonja, Cleland Joanne
Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research Vol 66, pp. 2164-2183 (2023)

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Research Interests

My research focuses on developmental Speech Sound Disorders.  I have a particular interest in Visual Biofeedback, that is, technologies which can be used to image the articulators (principally the tongue) moving when we speak. My research has focused both on electropalatogrpahy (EPG) and ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI) as two of the main techniques which provide both ways of measuring tongue movement and of allowing children with speech sound disorders a method of using real-time visual biofeedback of their own tongue movements to modify incorrect articulations and therefore improve their speech.


Current projects include clinical studies looking the efficacy of visual biofeedback in children with persistent speech sound disorders and cleft lip and palate and assessment of speech disorders using ultrasound. At the theoretical level I am interested in the underlying nature of persistent speech sound disorder, especially with regards to theories which implicate the speech motor control system. I am interested in speech motor control in children with both primary speech sound disorders and those with other diagnoses including Down syndrome, autism and cleft lip and palate. 

Professional Activities

International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
19th Biennial Conference of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association
19th Biennial Conference of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association
Invited Interview
Using STAR
British Science Week public engagement

More professional activities


BletherNet: Neural Networks for Understanding Tongue Shapes in Disordered
Lawson, Eleanor (Principal Investigator) Murali, Mridhula (Researcher) Kirkland, Paul (Academic) Cleland, Joanne (Academic)
A project investigating the use of neural networks in the automatic classification of /r/ tongue shapes, imaged with Ultrasound Tongue Imaging
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
Translating Ultrasound Speech Technology into Clinical Practice
Cleland, Joanne (Principal Investigator) Lawson, Eleanor (Principal Investigator) Smith, Amy (Researcher)
Impact Acceleration Account project, Funded value £2,389
Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Strathclyde have been at the forefront of developing ultrasound technology for the diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders in children. Speech disorders are common in childhood, affecting social, emotional and educational prospects. Most intervention approaches involve the speech and language therapist (SLT) listening to children’s speech errors and providing verbal feedback. While this can be effective, our research at Strathclyde demonstrates that children benefit from visual feedback of their tongue movements. By placing a medical ultrasound probe under the child’s chin, we can show them their tongue movements in real-time, allowing the SLT to give them more accurate feedback to help correct speech errors.
Through two EPSRC funded projects (Ultrax and Ultrax2020) joint with the University of Edinburgh, we have improved the ultrasound technology, making it more suitable for use in the speech therapy clinic and have developed automatic ways (using artificial intelligence) to classify speech disorder types. We have also run two Chief Scientist Office (CSO) funded intervention studies (one ongoing) which show that this can be an effective treatment. In parallel to this, Eleanor Lawson (Chancellor fellow since 2022, formerly at Queen Margaret University) has developed a suite of web resources (funded by AHRC, ESRC, RSE and the Carnegie Trust) which host ultrasound, MRI and animations of speech movements for training clinicians and linguists in speech production. An ongoing ESRC project (lead by Lawson with Cleland as Co-I) is currently developing a website “Speech Therapy Animation and imaging Resource- STAR”, which will house example ultrasound videos of speech disorders for training SLT students, with a secondary aim of improving understanding of and promoting ultrasound tongue imaging in SLT. All of these research projects include ongoing collection of impact evidence gathered using questionnaires and focus groups.
It is clear that what is missing from both our research and impact are training materials for clinicians specifically in how to use ultrasound in intervention with children. This funding would allow us to develop multi-media resources specifically for this purpose, accelerating the clinical implementation of our work. We have already developed an open access manual for delivering ultrasound-based intervention https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/63372/ , and we have developed teaching materials for in-person training with ultrasound. This funding would specifically be used to develop videos of clinicians delivering ultrasound intervention- featuring real children with speech disorders (with consent- covered by our current NHS ethical approval and additional consent to use the videos for marketing purposes) at the Glasgow Children’s Hospital. We would also use the funding to record and edit ultrasound analysis videos (i.e. videos showing tongue movements, rather than videos showing the SLT and child) of real teaching moments in intervention to illustrate the key steps in helping children to improve their speech errors. Both materials will be made in collaboration with the Glasgow Children’s hospital who are currently undertaking ultrasound-based therapy as part of a CSO funded clinical trial (PI Cleland).
01-Jan-2023 - 01-Jan-2023
Variability in child speech (VariCS)
Kuschmann, Anja (Principal Investigator) Barry, Sarah (Co-investigator) Cleland, Joanne (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2026
Maximising the impact of speech and language therapy for children with speech sound disorder
Cleland, Joanne (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 29-Jan-2024
SonoSpeech Cleft Pilot: A pilot randomised control trial of ultrasound visual biofeedback versus standard intervention for children with cleft lip and palate
Cleland, Joanne (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2024
Speech Therapy Animation and imaging Resource (STAR)
Cleland, Joanne (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2023

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Dr Joanne Cleland
Speech and Language Therapy

Email: joanne.cleland@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3037