Emeritus Professor Sue Buckley


After completing my Bachelors degree in Psychology at the University of Reading, UK in 1968, I trained as a clinical psychologist with the National Health Service in Oxford, and worked in a variety of clinical child and adult settings until 1971. I was awarded Associate Fellowship, registration as a Chartered Psychologist and Practising Certificate by the British Psychological Society in 1988 when registration of psychologists was first introduced. The University of Portsmouth awarded me a personal chair in the Psychology of Developmental Disability in 1994 and an Emeritus Professorship in 2000 on my retirement from teaching in the department.

Research Interests

Since 1980 I have maintained a continuous programme of research focussing on understanding the effects of the chromosome disorder Down's Syndrome on children’s development in order to develop the most effective early interventions, therapies and educational programmes. I have a particular interest in the development of language, literacy, numeracy, memory and cognition but the work of my group has extended into inclusive education, adolescence, behaviour and social development.

This work led to the establishment of the charity Down's Syndrome Educational International (DSEI) in 1987 (http://www.dseinternational.org). The work has and still does involve collaboration with other members of academic staff at the University of Portsmouth including currently Dr Stephanie Bennett, Dr Beatriz Lopez and Dr Alessandra Fasulo.

Many undergraduate and postgraduate students in the department have carried out research in this area of work for their final year projects and to date 3 MPhils and 4 PhDs have been awarded. DSEI has recently supported 5 PhD CASE ESRC studentships at Oxford, York, Reading, Lancaster and Middlesex Universities.

For 30 years we had a team of research and practice staff at the Sarah Duffen Centre in Belmont Street, Southsea, providing services to local families and schools as well as conducting research. The financial downturn led to us closing the Centre in 2012, move our administrative base north and focussing our work on research, publishing and training. We publish widely for parents and practitioners as well as publishing research papers. Our group is in high demand worldwide as trainers and conference speakers and we have a wide network of international collaborators. We host international conferences every 3-4 years and a UK/Europe Research Forum on Down Syndrome annually. We now have a sister organisation Down Syndrome Education USA in California and we are developing research programmes in the USA. We are currently evaluating and rolling out our recently UK developed reading and language intervention in Texas as well as across the UK.