August 15, 2017

Anna's PhD endorsement session

Today Anna Cronin presented her PhD endorsement session. This is a requirement of Charles Sturt University's PhD program - and I believe that it is a really beneficial time for gaining expert opinion/advice from others outside of the PhD supervisory team. Anna's PhD topic is: Speech and participation of toddlers with cleft palate and her abstract is below.
Sarah Verdon and I were her proud supervisors as she presented her research to an expert panel. In true CSU style, Anna was in Brisbane, Sarah was in Albury, and the panel and myself in Bathurst, with other members of the audience dialing in from across Australia. Her reviewers were Professor Jennifer Sumsion and A/Professor Sandie Wong.
Abstract: Toddlers with cleft palate are at risk of speech, language, velopharyngeal and hearing difficulties. That is, having a cleft palate may impact on many areas of a child’s life. One model that has been used to holistically describe how a child may be affected by a cleft palate is the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health – Child and Youth version (ICF-CY). Previous studies have applied the ICF-CY to children with speech impairment, as an assessment framework for working with young children with cleft palate, and to older children with cleft palate speech; however, no studies have investigated the experiences of toddlers with cleft palate in the context of this framework. The research so far has shown the extensive impact of the difference in the Body Structure (i.e., cleft palate) on children’s Body Functions (e.g., speech), Activities and Participation (e.g., communication, relationships). What has not been investigated is the impact of cleft palate early in children’s lives, as they participate in their homes and early childhood education centres.

The proposed research consists of three studies. Study 1 will describe the speech and language characteristics of 2-year-olds with cleft palate, using direct assessment of the children’s speech and language as well as play-based observations. Study 2 will investigate the impact of cleft palate on the lives of toddlers and their families. It will investigate the Activities and Participation of toddlers with cleft palate, and the experiences of their families and educators in caring for a child with a cleft through semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with families and educators of children with cleft palate. It will make use of the ICF-CY as a theoretical framework for the initial organisation of qualitative data before new themes are generated within the components of the ICF-CY. Study 3 will examine the current practices and aspirations of speech-language pathologists working with young children with cleft palate through semi-structured interviews, with a focus on those themes described by the families and educators in Study 2. The findings of this work will contribute to the research on the speech characteristics of young children with cleft palate, understanding the experiences of families of children with cleft palate, and how this understanding may be applied to provide holistic care for children with cleft palate, and their families by health and education professionals.

August 9, 2017

Meritorious Poster Award for American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference

Ben Phạm's 2017 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention Poster presentation titled, "Assessing Vietnamese Children's Intelligibility", has been designated as a Meritorious Poster. Only 55 from 1895 posters received this accolade. It will be presented in LA in November. Congratulations Ben!

August 4, 2017

Invited speaker at National Health Innovation and Research Symposium

I was an invited speaker at National Health Innovation and Research Symposium this week in Coffs Harbour. The program and presenters are here:
My presentation was titled: Communicating with children and families in a multilingual world
Here is my synopsis:
More than 20 per cent of Australians speak a language other than English at home. This presentation will highlight the benefits of multilingualism and provide insights from an international research program into how monolingual health professionals can successfully work with multilingual children and families.
Presenting in a session chaired by Professor Gail Whiteford
Presenting recent data from the Australian Census about
changes in the top 5 languages spoken between 2001 and 2016
The dinner speaker was Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and amongst many other topics he described the importance of free education and healthcare to a nation's wellbeing.

August 2, 2017

Communication as a human right discussed at the Australian Human Rights Commission

Today I visited the Australian Human Rights Commission with Prof. Kirrie Ballard (editor of International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology) and Gail Mulcair (CEO of Speech Pathology Australia). We met with Ed Santow, Human Rights Commissioner and Alastair McEwan, Disability Discrimination Officer to discuss the special issue of IJSLP on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that will be published next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. I am the guest editor for this special issue and the submissions are currently under review.
Ed Santow, Gail Mulcair, Alastair McEwan, Sharynne McLeod, Kirrie Ballard
We also discussed the International Communication Project and the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights, as well as Speech Pathology Australia's input into the joint submission from Disabled People's Organisations Australia regarding the 18th session on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

It was a productive and inspirational meeting focused on communication as a human right for all people.
Prof Sharynne McLeod, Prof Kirrie Ballard, Gail Mulcair (CEO, Speech Pathology Australia)
Tweet from the Australian Human Rights Commissioner

August 1, 2017

3 Minute Thesis (3MT)

On 12th July, Helen Blake was among 8 PhD candidates who were the finalists in the 3MT @ CSU Final in Wagga. Helen’s presentation was titled Intelligibility Enhancement. Congratulations to the winner, Cara Wilson and all the finalists, whose presentations showcased the diversity of research at CSU. ​Congratulations also to Helen who showcased her work on Intelligibility Enhancement.
3MT finalists and judges (Helen is third from right)

July 31, 2017

Anna attends the Churchill Medallion Dinner

On 28th July, Anna Cronin was an invited guest at the 2017 Medallion Dinner held by the Churchill Fellows Association of NSW. Fifteen fellows were presented with a medallion to celebrate the completion of their Churchill Fellowship. Congratulations Anna! The details of Anna's Churchill Fellowship are here.

July 27, 2017

Beautiful Fiji

As well as the beautiful people described in my earlier blog posts - Fiji is also a beautiful place.

July 23, 2017

Visiting Suzanne in Fiji

Over the past few days I have been vising Suzanne Hopf and her family in Fiji. It has been a pleasure to spend time with them - and to reflect on all she accomplished during her PhD. Suzanne was working on her paper based on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recorded this video (here). This photo includes the symbol of communication in Fiji - the conch (trition) shell.
Suzanne and Sharynne in Fiji

July 20, 2017

Volunteering in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji

Over the past 2 weeks, my daughter and I took leave to volunteer at a school and preschool in the Yasawa Islands of Fiji. We joined a team from Australia who were building a playground at Namara Village School (see here). It was a fantastic opportunity to apply some of the knowledge I have gained from Suzanne Hopf's PhD studies about Fijian children's communication. We loved our time with the children and teachers. The children loved the playground, crafts, stories and activities. A video about our experience is here.
Sharynne singing with the Kindergarten children
Sharynne about to show the school children how to throw frisbees
The opening of the playground
Photographs have been used with permission.

July 5, 2017

Presentation to the Utrecht Summer School

Tonight I gave a presentation to students at the Utrecht Summer School in The Netherlands via Skype. The presentation was titled "Introduction to a cross linguistic procedure for intelligibility evaluation (ICS)". Dr Mieke Beers and Anniek van Doornik-van der Zee run the summer school each year and this year the students were from The Netherlands, Austria, United States, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and China. They were very attentive and asked excellent questions. It was a pleasure to speak to these future speech-language pathologists from around the world.