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Lauran Doak

Lauran Doak

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Undergraduate and Professional Education


Dr Lauran Doak is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Education at Nottingham Trent University. Lauran's undergraduate teaching centres on Special & Inclusive Education, leading the modules Disability & Equality and Inclusive Theories & Practices.  She also undertakes supervision of PhD and EdD students in Education.

Career overview

Before joining NTU in 2018, Lauran was an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University where she taught across a range of modules in disability, autism, education and childhood studies. She was formerly a classroom teacher for nine years and a Governor in a special school.

Research areas

Lauran's research interests include autism, learning disability, communication, agency, self-advocacy, literacy and Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC). She is also interested in creative and inclusive research methods for 'non-verbal'/differently-voiced participants. Her doctoral thesis, Exploring the multimodal communication and agency of children in an autism classroom, is a classroom video-ethnography examining how children combine AAC and idiosyncratic embodied communication to make meaning. Lauran's recent publications have examined peer interaction on special school playgrounds and parent perspectives on AAC.

Lauran is currently leading a research project funded by the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) on the use of an iPad storywriting App by children identified as having learning disabilities.

External activity

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Member of BERA (British Educational Research Association)
  • Member of BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities)
  • Member of Learning Disability England
  • Member of Communication Matters (UK division of International Society for Augmentative & Alternative Communication)
  • Member of UKLA (UK Literacy Association)


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Doak, L. (2023) 'Rethinking the contributions of young people with learning disabilities to iPad storymaking: a new model of distributed authorship'. Literacy.

Doak, L. (2021)  'To start talking phonics is crazy': how parents understand 'literacy' in the lives of children with learning disabilitiesPedagogy, Culture & Society.  

Doak, L. (2021). Rethinking family (dis)engagement with Augmentative & Alternative Communication. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 21(3), 198-210.

Doak, L. (2020). Realising the 'right to play' in the special school playground. International Journal of Play, 9(4), 414-438.

Doak, L. (2019). But I’d rather have raisins! Exploring a hybridized approach to multimodal interaction in the case of a minimally verbal child with autism. Qualitative Research, 19(1), 30-54.

Doak, J. & Doak, L. (2017). Non-verbal victims in the adversarial criminal process: communication, competency, and credibility. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 68(4), 451-468.

Book Chapters

Doak, L. (2023). Do all children have the right to express views? Listening to ‘differently-voiced’ communicators. In Beckett, A. E., & Callus, A. M. (Eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Children's Rights and Disability. Taylor & Francis.

Book Reviews

Doak, L. (2015). Disability, augmentative communication and the American Dream: a Qualitative Enquiry. Disability & Society, 30(6), 1-3.

Reports for External Bodies

Paechter, C., Doak, L., Dymoke, S., Kent, J., Marriott, M., Wood, C., Chantrey Wood, K., Burke, P., McDonald, A., Pettigrew, C. and Taylor, M. (2020). Commons Education Select Committee: The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services. Commons Education Select Committee.

Articles for a Wider Audience

Doak, L. (2023)  Forgotten or misrepresented: Special Schools deserve better policy.  Schools Week, 26 May.

Doak, L. (2023) 'The Special Education Classroom of the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Wearable Technology?' Nottingham Institute of Education, 2 March.

Doak, L. (2022) 'Using the Pictello App with young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)'. PMLD Link Magazine.

Doak, L. (2021) 'Repeated omission of special schools points to an ableist department'. Schools Week, 9 January.

Doak, L. (2020) 'Coronavirus and (the lack of) inclusive communication'. Nottingham Institute of Education, 15 May.

Doak, L. (2019) 'A Treacle of Bureaucracy': The 2014 SEND Reforms, Five Years On. Nottingham Institute of Education, 14 November.

Doak, L. (2019) Teachers or Therapists? Nottingham Institute of Education, 20 June.

Doak, L. (2018) #SENDCrisis: A National Scandal? Nottingham Institute of Education, 7 December.

Conference Papers & Presentations

Doak, L. (2023) The value of everyday shared reading routines for families of disabled children. Everyday Enchantments Conference, University of Manchester, 5-6 July.

Doak, L. (2023) Do all children have the right to express views? Nordic Disability Network 16th Research Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 10-12 May.

Doak, L. (2022) 'Agency in iPad storymaking by children and young people with learning disabilities'. 22nd  European Conference on Literacy, Dublin City University, 4-6 July 2022.

Doak, L. (2022) 'How children and young people with learning disabilities participate in creating iPad stories: probing the boundaries of 'agency' and 'authorship'.  UK Literacy Association International Conference, Birmingham, UK, 1-3 July 2022.

Doak, L. (2021) 'Doing play without speech in the special school playground: a multimodal perspective'. British Educational Research Association [BERA] Conference 2021, 13 September 2021.

Doak, L. (2021) 'Parent perceptions of the meaning of 'literacy' for children identified as having 'learning disabilities''. UK Literacy Association 56th International Conference, 2 July 2021.

Doak, L. (2019) ‘Inclusive and exclusive research methods: questions of social and epistemic in/justice’. NIOE Research Digest Seminar Series, Nottingham, 6 November 2019.

Doak, L. (2019) 'The de/valuing of play and peer interaction in special schools for minimally verbal children'. 55th International Conference of the UK Literacy Association, Sheffield, 12 July 2019.

Doak, L. (2019) 'Whose voice is heard?  Including minimally verbal disabled children in research through multimodal analysis'. NTU Social Sciences Research Conference: Grappling with theory and practice. Nottingham, 26 February 2019.

Doak, J. and Doak, L. (2017) ‘Non-Verbal Victims in the Adversarial Process: Alternatives to Oral Evidence’. Advancing Advocacy Conference, Nottingham Law School, 23 June 2017.

Doak, L. (2015) 'The Everyday Communication Strategies of Children with Autism: A Multimodal Interactional Analysis'. Faculty of Development & Society Research Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, 14 September 2015.

Doak, L. (2015) ‘What does ‘literacy’ mean for students with Severe Learning Difficulties?’ 51st International Conference of the UK Literacy Association, Nottingham, 10 July 2015.

Doak, L. (2015) ‘Multimodality in the field of Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC): Fertile but Uncharted Territory?’ Multimodality: Methodological Explorations, MODE, Institute of Education, London, 15-16 January 2015.

Doak, L. (2014) ‘Multimodal analysis and video ethnography: a promising combination for reaching preverbal participants with autism?’ Inequality in Education - Innovation in Methods, University of Warwick, 12 November 2014.

Doak, L. (2014) 'Augmentative & Alternative Communication: is there a 'best fit' model of disability?' Disability Research Forum, Sheffield Hallam University, 22 October 2014.

See all of Lauran Doak's publications...

Press expertise

Autism, Special Educational Needs, Inclusion, Learning Disabilities