leiden logo wide

On March 4, Neeltje will defend her PhD thesis on the topic of emotions and psychosocial development of children with and without Developmental Language Disorder. The defense will take place at 15:00 in the Academy Building (Rapenburg 73, Leiden). In the morning, there will be a symposium where Prof. Nicola Botting, Prof Constance Vissers, Prof. Julie Dockrell and Neeltje will present their work. For more information about the defense, please click here



Psychosocial Development of children with a Developmental Language Disorder

: Prof. dr. Carolien Rieffe, Leiden University

Location: Room 0A28, Pieter de la Court building (Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden) 

Registration: closed

Welcome and coffee
          Prof. dr. Carolien Rieffe, Leiden University

10.15 Language and cognition over time in children with atypical communication
          Prof. dr. Nicola Botting, City University of London

11.00 Coffee break

11.15 Theory of Mind training for children with Developmental Language Disorder
          Lidy Smit and Prof. dr. Constance Vissers, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

12.00 Helping children with Developmental Language Disorder in schools; systemic approaches from child, school and family
          Prof. dr. Julie Dockrell, University College London

12:45 Lunch

13.15 Emotionele competentie en de invloed op de psychosociale ontwikkeling van kinderen met TOS
          (Emotional competence and the influence on the psychosocial development of children with DLD; presentation in Dutch)
          Neeltje van den Bedem, Leiden University


Autism Awareness Week

March 27th, 2020

entry to school

Although many real-time activities for the World Autism Awareness Week (March 28 to April 5) are now cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, online activities and news continue. Besides awareness, the Autism Awareness Week also aims at increasing understanding and acceptance. Autism is often associated with ‘socially inappropriate’ behaviors and less motivation for prosocial actions. But is that picture correct? Now all schools are closed. Yet, when schools reopen, what about equal opportunity for autistic children in mainstream education? In this news item, Carolien talks about prosocial behaviors and the need for social contacts in autistic children. And in this blog article, Carolien, Dr. Sarah Giest, and Legal Advisor Pim Deul reflect on school inclusion and the 2014 Dutch Appropriate Education Act for autistic pupils.


Loose parts at the school playground

March 5th, 2020

Loose parts play Feb2020

On March 3rd, Adva, Anne, Laura, Maud and Liam launched a special project to increase playfulness of children at school playgrounds. With the instruction of our project advisor Martin van Rooijen (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht), this project is based on loose-parts play, which aims to provide children with increased opportunities for creative play and positive social interactions. Children showed spontaneous enthusiasm for the loose parts, such as wheels, baskets and wooden boards, as soon as encountering them at the playground.


Emotions and psychosocial development in children with Developmental Language Disorder

March 3rd, 2020

Neeltje thesis cover picture

On March 4th, we host a symposium on the psychosocial development of children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). The program features international experts on the topic. In the afternoon, Neeltje defends her PhD thesis on the emotions and psychosocial development in children with DLD.

On average, two children in each class have difficulties with their first language, due to DLD. These children cannot fully follow conversations around them, increasing their risk for psychosocial problems. Yet, the severity of their language problems does not tell the whole story. "What counts is what children with DLD miss out on in their daily social lives, because of these language problems," Neeltje states.

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Measuring children's behaviour at the playground

February 5th, 2020

Brenda playground

On the 31st of January, Brenda attended the Peer Relations Onderzoekers (PRO) meeting in Tilburg University. She presented preliminary results concerning the concordance of peers, teachers, and parents as informants about children's social competence, and the contribution that observation and sensor data might have to improve our views on children's behaviour at the playground. 


Recent & Upcoming Events

April 2nd: BNNVARA podcast “Echte Oogappels"


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March 13th: National Autism Congress (cancelled)

nationaal autisme congres

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March 4th: Neeltje's defense & symposium

leiden logo wide

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Emotion awareness decreases internalizing symptoms in children with Developmental Language Disorder

March 30th, 2020

mental health brain puzzle

Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) often experience more internalizing symptoms, such as social anxiety. However, very little is known about the factors that protect children with DLD from developing such symptoms.

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One more week for Naqi's defense!

December 12th, 2019

Naqi Zijian Dec2019

Naqi came back to Leiden for his PhD defence next Wednesday 18 December, and took the opportunity to study factor analysis in R with our new PhD student Zijian. 


VNOP-CAS Research Days

November 26th, 2019


Shannon and Qi attended the VNOP-CAS Research Days on the 22nd of November in Utrecht. They presented their research plans and preliminary findings from their first-wave data collection in China, focusing on emotional functioning in Chinese deaf and hard-of-hearing toddlers.


Who are we?

FOE group 2019 crop

Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK), the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), the Centre for Autism, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), TU Delft, and University of Twente. Our group is dedicated to examining the emotional development of children and adolescents of all walks of life. We have a strong focus on the functionality of emotions, and its impact on children's social development. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, we are interested in the development of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, with autism spectrum disorders, or with specific language impairments.

On this site we regularly post news items about new publications, events, and so on. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about and download questionnaires we have developed,
see an overview of our publications per topic, or read about opportunities for students to join our team.