Dyslexia and Development Assessment Unit (DDAU)

Core Staff

Dr. Frank Pearson

Educational Psychologist, Health & Care Professions Council

 Marion Davies

Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)

 Marion is a specialist teacher with a postgraduate diploma in the assessment and teaching of students with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia).  She has worked with adults and children with dyslexia for the past 17 years, assessing, supporting and teaching students and delivering training to teachers.  Marion’s interest in dyslexia followed her son’s difficulties in learning to read and his subsequent diagnosis of dyslexia.  It has become Marion’s passion and she is committed to improving the provision for people with dyslexia and to raising awareness of dyslexia and other related difficulties.

 Dr Emma Birkett

Research Fellow, Cognitive & Affective Neurosciences
CCET (Level A), MRes, BSc, MBPsS

Having completed a BSc in Psychology and an MRes in Cognitive Neuroscience, Emma assists in the assessment of dyslexia at the DDAU and contributes to research within the Aston Brain Centre examining dyslexia and associated developmental disorders.  She is in the final year of her PhD examining motor timing skills (movement timing) in developmental populations.  Emma has completed the CCET (Level A) course provided by Dyslexia Action and in her clinical role she provides both the screening assessments for students who may wish to pursue further assessments in the domain of literacy and the enhanced screenings for students who do not need full IQ testing but who require additional support in their University studies. As a Research Fellow at the Aston Brain Centre, Emma is currently working on a project funded by the Waterloo Foundation, examining the genetic basis of developmental dyslexia. 

Professor Joel B Talcott

Head of Psychology

 Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

 Joel is Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of Psychology at Aston.  He is a Vice-president of the British Dyslexia Association and is currently the Executive Editor of the journal Dyslexia: An international journal of research and practice (Wiley). Following his first degree at the University of California, Riverside, he completed his doctoral dissertation on developmental dyslexia at the University of California, Santa Cruz before moving to Oxford University in 1996.  Since 2001 he has been at Aston, where his main focus is on basic and applied research approaches to understanding taxonomies of developmental disorders in collaboration with colleagues in Europe, the United States and in the UK, with a particular expertise in developmental dyslexia.

 Sessional Staff


 Paul Mawer, BSc (Hons) MEd C.Psychol AFBPsS.

Health Professions and Care Council Registered Educational Psychologist. Chartered Member

Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society

 Paul graduated with an Honours degree from Exeter University. He undertook his MEd at Birmingham University and worked for two local authorities as an Educational Psychologist. He has worked as an Educational Psychologist for over thirty years during which time he worked for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on a locum basis in a number of NHS Trusts.  As well as working on a sessional basis for the Aston Brain Centre, Paul works with foster parents and Looked After Children whom he visits regularly and also spends one day a week offering support to children who have a variety of therapeutic needs. Paul has undertaken a great number of assessments of both adults and children who have dyslexia and for a time worked for the RAF assessing their trainees.  He also assesses students for a number of universities and colleges throughout the West Midlands. Paul has also contributed to a number of local radio station programmes on dyslexia and child psychology. In 2011, Paul was presented with an award for an outstanding lifetime contribution in the field of dyslexia by the British Dyslexia Association.