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About Us



Karin Schamroth is creator of smiLE Therapy and a Specialist Speech & Language Therapist for Children and Young People who are Deaf. She worked in the National Health Service in the UK for 30 years. For 20 years, with deaf babies, pre-schoolers, primary and secondary aged students for Whittington Health NHS (North London). She graduated with a BSc from Manchester University in 1984, and taught English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) for 4 years. She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 1990 from City University. She has worked with Deaf children & young people, in a range of setting – units in mainstream schools (both Total Communication and Oral) and Deaf Schools (Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, and Blanche Nevile School for Deaf Pupils). Her background in TEFL teaching, with its structured test-teach-test communicative approach, was invaluable in the development of smiLE. In addition, she was trained by Jenny Mosley in Quality Circle Time. This has had a significant influence on the group respect principles used in delivering smiLE Therapy. She has advised on Masters projects on the effectiveness of smiLE Therapy: Alton (2008), Lawlor (2009), Medone (2015), Curtin (2018), Saxby (2022), S. Rowlands (2022), Spaeti (2023). She is currently clinical supervisor for a Clinical Doctorate Research Fellow (NIHR). Karin runs the company that trains professionals in smiLE Therapy and continues to develop new smiLE Therapy modules with adolescents and young adults.

Karin has trained Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs), Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People, Special Needs Teachers, Mainstream Teachers, SENCOs, Occupational Therapists, Communication Support Workers, SLT Assistants and Special Needs Assistants, to use smiLE Therapy since 2008. Karin, together with Emma Lawlor, wrote the first smiLE Therapy book, published in October 2015 by Routledge Publishing

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Helen Starczewski graduated from Manchester University in 1982 as a Speech & Language Therapist and initially worked in a generalist post in West Cumbria. She then moved to work in a specialist school for children with DLD. 
From 1986 she specialised in Deafness completing the advanced specialist course in Speech and Language Therapy in Deafness and Level 3 BSL. 

Since 1986 she has worked extensively at both the Royal School for the Deaf, Derby (RSDD) and at Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme and so has experience of working with a wide range deaf clients of all ages and those with additional and complex needs. She has been a strong advocate for using bilingual approaches with deaf children.

When she first encountered smiLE therapy, she knew it was right for the students at RSDD and so developed it there as part of the curriculum. She reports that it was fantastic to see the progress that the students made using smiLE therapy and to see them generalise their skills to more challenging situations in everyday life.
Helen now works as an independent practitioner and is still finding new ways to use smiLE therapy in her practice to develop functional communication skills.



Poppy Gilligan is a Specialist Speech & Language Therapist based in East Cheshire. She graduated from Newcastle University in 2013 before working as a Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) in a special needs school, supporting deaf children and young people with a range of additional needs. In 2020 she joined the NHS as a SLT on the North East Regional Cochlear Implant Programme, before moving back to her hometown in Cheshire in 2022, where she now supports children and young people in mainstream schools and resource provisions across East Cheshire NHS Trust. Poppy discovered smiLE Therapy soon after qualifying and has been using it for almost a decade with a range of children and young people including those with deafness, autism, learning difficulties and other speech, language and communication needs. She loves smiLE because it supports children to be independent by breaking down highly complex tasks into small, teachable steps. Poppy has been supporting others to use smiLE Therapy since joining the training team in 2020. 



Sarah Shaw trained as a Speech and Language Therapist at City University, London, graduating in 2006. She worked as an NHS therapist in North London for 14 years in mainstream primary and secondary schools assessing and treating children with a range of Speech, Language and Communication Needs including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Autism. Since 2021 Sarah has been in Lisbon, Portugal working in Independent Practice in International Schools in addition to delivering remote therapy, coaching and training sessions online. Sarah first used smiLE with Karin during the pilot project in mainstream Secondary schools in 2011 and joined the smiLE therapy training team in 2021. She likes how smiLE Therapy teaches young people functional communication skills for life that can be used in many situations, giving young people confidence that they can approach new situations with skills under their belt. 



Natalie Eshun is a Specialist Speech & Language Therapist in the areas of autism, complex communication difficulties, AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) and Dysphagia. She currently works in the community feeding team of a London NHS trust. She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist at City University, London in 2011. She has also been a trustee for a youth charity and co-director of a SLT consultancy company. As well as being a Speech and Language Therapist and trainer, she supports and trains others in the health and wellness industry, to make healthy lifestyle changes. Natalie first used smiLE Therapy in 2012, carrying out the first smiLE Therapy Multi-disciplinary Team module, with Physio and OT colleagues in a special needs provision with teenagers.  She believes smiLE Therapy is one of the best practical ways to teach complex life and communication skills in real time. Natalie loves how smiLE Therapy is such an empowering tool for individuals who may have believed they could not achieve.



Keziah Willow is a Speech and Language Therapist working for the NHS in North London.  Previously a Teacher, she retrained as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2016 and now works with a diverse range of primary school-aged children supporting their communication in mainstream school settings.  She also works with organisations to embed the information gained through the lived experience, hopes and concerns of people with long term conditions in the development of new policies. Keziah was trained in smiLE Therapy by Karin in 2018, joining the smiLE training team in 2023. For her, smiLE therapy provides a unique opportunity for children and young people to explore communication strategies and choices, and increase in confidence in tackling ‘real world’ tasks with the support of the adults around them.

NEXT DATES in 2024

smiLE Therapy Online Training

Day1 MAR 7th & 8th 2024 (mornings only 9-12) 

Day2 MAR 11th & 12th 2024 (mornings only 9-12)

Follow up from Oct 2023 Day1&2 training

Day3 MAY16th & 17th 2024 (mornings only 9-12)

Day1 OCT 10th & 11th 2024 (mornings only 9-12) 

Day2 OCT 14th & 15th 2024 (mornings only 9-12)


Follow up from March 2024 Day1&2 training

Day3 NOV 14th & 15th 2024 (mornings only 9-12)

smiLE Therapy free 1 hour online

Tasters for 2024

  • NELFT NHS Havering  24.09.24

  • Taster Thursday19.09. 24 @3pm UK time

  • Oxfordshire CC SENSS Team 17.04.24

  • Taster Tuesday 16.04. 24 @3pm UK time

  • Scottish Sensory Centre Thurs14.03.24 4-5pm

  • Taster Tuesday 27.02. 24 @3pm UK time

  • Taster Thursday 18.01.24 @3pm UK time

  • Somerset  Council Hearing support 16.01.24

  • Newham Council, Lister Unit 24.11.23

  • Taster Thursday 09.11.23 @3pm UK time

  •  University of East Anglia 19.10.23 

  • Taster Tuesday 10.10.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Taster New Zealand & Australia 20.07.23 

  • Beyond Autism 6th Form + P19 06.07.23

  • Sheffield Learning Disability Team 04.07.23

  • The London Children's Practice SLTs 28.06.23

  • ​University College London 15.06.23

  • Taster 22.06.23 @3pm UK time 

  • NELFT NHS Waltham Forest 07.06.23

  • Taster 23.05.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Taster for New Zealand 10.05.23 8-9am 

  • TODs, Sensory Service Team, Leicester City 

  • Taster 20.04.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Government of Jersey SLT Services 30.03.23

  • Taster 23.03.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Bristol Sensory Service Team 14.03.23

  • Taster 28.02.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Magic Words Therapy 23.02.23

  • Speaking Space SLT Practice 14.02.23

  • Taster 09.02.23 @3pm UK time 

  • Beyond Autism Schools Taster 07.02.23

  • Evelina, London NHS Service Taster 07.02.23

  • Taster 26.01.23 @3pm UK time ​

  • Birmingham University Taster 11.01.23

Email us:

to book training, arrange bespoke training at your workplace or to arrange a FREE Taster for your CEN / University / Education Authority / NHS Trust / School

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