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Lauran Doak

Lauran Doak

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Undergraduate and Professional Education


Lauran's undergraduate teaching centres on Special & Inclusive Education. She also undertakes supervision of PhD and EdD students in Education.

Career overview

Before joining NTU in 2018, Dr Doak 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 doctoral research was a video-ethnography of how minimally verbal children with autism communicate in everyday classroom situations with staff and peers. This involved detailed multimodal analysis of video stills to illustrate how formally taught communication strategies such as Makaton and symbol cards are used alongside idiosyncratic embodied action such as eye gaze behaviour, posture, proxemics, vocalisation and facial expression. Her research interests include autism, learning disability, communication, agency, self-advocacy, and Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC). She is also interested in qualitative research methods including multimodal analysis, conversation analysis, and ethnography.

External activity

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Member of BERA (British Educational Research Association)
  • Member of NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs)
  • Member of BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities)
  • 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. (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 Reviews

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

Research 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.

Conference Papers & Presentations

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.

Articles for a Wider Audience

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.

See all of Lauran Doak's publications...

Press expertise

Autism, Special Educational Needs, Inclusion, Learning Disabilities