Following her BA Hons. in English Literature from King’s College, Cambridge (1986), Alys worked as a residential social work assistant. She qualified as a social worker in 1989 with a MSc in Applied Social Studies and a CQSW from Oxford University. She went on to work for Cambridgeshire Social Services as a community mental health social worker, ASW, generic social worker and specialist social worker with Deaf people. She gained her PhD in 1995 from the Centre for Deaf Studies, University of Bristol, on the impact on hearing familes of sign bilingual approaches to early intervention, carrying out her fieldwork in both BSL (British Sign Langauge) and English.
Author of over 100 academic publications, her main research interests are: (i) early intervention with deaf children and their families; (ii) improvements in the provision and effectiveness of health and social care services for deaf chidlren and adults across the life span; (iii) social science research methodologies in the context of signed languages and d/Deaf people.
She currently leads the Social Reserach with Deaf People group (SORD) which comprises a multidisciplinary, bilingual group of Deaf and hearing researchers working on a range of applied social research projects connected with family, service and community contexts which involve Deaf people. wwww.manchester.ac.uk/sord
Formerly international visiting scholar at the National Technical Insititute for Deaf People, RIT, USA and visiting professor University of British Columbia, Canada, she is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Alys is a Senior Fellow of the NIHR School for Social Care Research. In 2015 was conferred FAcSS (Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences) for her contributions to social work and social research with Deaf people(s) http://blogs.mhs.manchester.ac.uk/news-hub/2015/10/30/social-sciences-academics-work-recognised-by-academy-of-social-sciences/
In 2016 she won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/alys-wins-the-inaugural-times-higher-education-award-for-outstanding-research-student-supervision/
I sit on the NSPCC/NDCS national safeguarding deaf and disabled chidlren workign group. Deaf and disabled children can be particularly vulnerable to abuse with far grearer incidence of abuse recorded in their lives. This board oversees a range of specialist actions designed to promote better safeguarding.
I participate in the 'Ethical grand challenge' activites associated with social responsibility and the undergraduate eduction curriculum.
Our research group SORD regularly provides community outreach activities to the local and national Deaf community to promote better understanding of our research and to increase community particiation in its goals and objectives. Most of our research work is also summarised in BSL for a lay populaiton and made freely available via the SORD web site (www,manchester.ac.uk/sord). We also produce a quarterly newsletter about our activities in plain language that is well received by diverse subscribers.