February 19, 2019

Van's productive visit to Bathurst

Over the past two days Dr Van Tran  visited CSU in Bathurst to work with Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang and myself on her PhD research, which is part of our VietSpeech grant. During her visit we worked on four different journal articles: two for her PhD and two for the VietSpeech study. We submitted the first article based on Study 1 of our VietSpeech ARC Discovery Grant titled "Language proficiency, use, and maintenance among people with Vietnamese heritage living in Australia". We look forward to hearing from the editors and reviewers about whether it is suitable, and any changes we need to make. We also visited a peach orchard, and enjoyed the blooms in the Begonia House in Machattie Park. It was a productive and fun visit.
Dr Van Tran, Prof Sharynne McLeod, Dr Audrey Wang at CSU
(it is quiet because it is the week before the students return)
Van in the Begonia House in Machattie Park

Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their intelligibility in English

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication. It forms part of Helen Blake's PhD research:
Blake, H. L., Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. (2019, in press February). Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their intelligibility in English. Speech, Language and Hearing.
Here is the abstract:
Multilingual speakers’ ability to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the language of their country of residence is crucial to their participation. This study explored multilingual speakers’ motivations for improving their intelligibility in English and their perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators to enhancing intelligibility. Participants were multilingual students and staff at 14 Australian universities. Extended response data from 137 survey responses were combined with seven semi-structured interviews, thematically analysed using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a conceptual framework, and coded using NVivo software. Three overarching themes were: motivations, barriers, and facilitators. Themes that emerged under motivations were meeting their own and others’ expectations and career aspirations. Themes that emerged under barriers to intelligibility were lack of self-awareness of reduced English intelligibility, use of ineffective strategies (e.g., fast speech rate to disguise pronunciation difficulties), language differences, lack of opportunity to practise English, participants’ perceptions of others’ negative attitudes to their English skills, and challenging conversational partners. Facilitators to intelligibility were emotional support from others, beneficial strategies (e.g., confirming listener understanding), and opportunities to practice. The results highlight the importance of supporting multilingual speakers’ efforts to improve their English intelligibility. An environment with barriers such as lack of opportunity to practise English may restrict an individuals’ performance and participation, while facilitators such as support from others may increase participation. This study will inform the understanding of speech-language pathologists engaged in Intelligibility Enhancement, as well as SLPs working with multilingual speakers in any context.

February 14, 2019

ASHA's most shared articles in 2018

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has published a blog today titled: In case you missed it: Our most shared articles of 2018.

The first article in the blog was ours!
Children’s Consonant Acquisition in 27 Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Review by Sharynne McLeod and Kathryn Crowe

Here is the altmetric score (275): https://asha.altmetric.com/details/47435915#score
It states:
"Altmetric has tracked 12,465,602 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric."

February 13, 2019

Maintaining Vietnamese

Dr Van Tran has written two excellent articles (in Vietnamese) for the BBC

February 4, 2019

2019 students and postdocs

I am very fortunate to be working with some amazing women in 2019:

PhD students
  • Helen Blake (CSU)
  • Anna Cronin (CSU)
  • Nicole McGill (CSU)
  • Dr Van Tran (CSU)
  • Natalie Hegarty (Ulster University, Northern Ireland)
  • Anniek van Doornik (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) 

Postdoctoral scholar
  • Dr Michelle Brown

Research fellows
  • Dr Audrey Wang 
  • Dr Ben Pham
  • Dr Kate Crowe
as well as other members of the Speech-Language-Multilingualism team including:
  • Dr Sarah Verdon
  • Dr Suzanne Hopf
  • Dr Sarah Masso
  • Dr Jane McCormack 
  • Kate Margetson

Happy lunar new year

Today is the day many people around the world celebrate lunar new year.
  • Chúc Mừng Năm Mới (Happy New Year - Vietnamese) 
  • 恭贺新禧 (gōng hè xīn xǐ) (Happy New Year - Chinese) 
It was a very special day for our VietSpeech project, since Kate Margetson began working as our Project Officer for 2 days/week.
Other members of the team are:
  • Dr Sarah Verdon (Chief investigator) 
  • Dr Audrey Wang (Project Officer 1 day/week) 
  • Dr Van Tran (PhD student) 
  • Dr Ben Pham (Consultant, based in Viet Nam). 
An additional reason for celebration is that today was my first day back at work on campus for approximately 6 months.
Kate Margetson (with Dr Audrey Wang and Prof Sharynne McLeod)

January 25, 2019

Want to research speech pathology in Australia? CSU is the place

Charles Sturt University recently has written an article titled "Want to research speech pathology in Australia? CSU is the place" and has promoted it via social media. I was not aware of them writing it, but it is a great summary of our work, and encourages new students to come and work with our team: https://insight.futurestudents.csu.edu.au/want-to-research-speech-pathology-in-australia-csu-is-the-place. I look forward to hearing from passionate, hardworking students who wish to join us. 

January 15, 2019

Congratulations Natalie on your PhD submission

Today Natalie Hegarty submitted her PhD at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Her thesis was titled: "Supporting speech and language therapists' application of evidence-based practice in the management of phonological speech sound disorders". Congratulations Natalie!
I have been fortunate to be on Natalie's supervisory team with Dr Jill Titterington and Laurence Taggart from Ulster University. Her viva will be held in March.
Natalie Hegarty (image from Twitter @UlsterUniPhD)

Here is the abstract:
Background: Speech and language therapists (SLTs) often use two elements of evidence-based practice in their management of children with phonological impairment (i.e., internal clinical data and child/parent preferences integrated through SLTs’ experiences), but do not regularly use the third element: research evidence. Indeed, SLTs often use long-standing approaches with developmental target selection criteria (e.g. conventional minimal pairs) despite some research suggesting that interventions with more complex target selection criteria (e.g. the complexity approaches or multiple oppositions) may provide greater system-wide change. Moreover, recent research has found that SLTs’ intervention intensity provision is lower than provision in the literature. Narrowing this research-practice gap is necessary to achieve evidence-based practice.
: To support SLTs’ use of evidence-based practice in the clinical management of children with phonological impairment.
: This thesis used an explanatory sequential mixed methods design. There were five stages: (1) systematic review; (2) online survey; (3) focus groups and interviews; (4) resource co-production workshops and; (5) face validity exploration. This thesis was guided by the Medical Research Council, the Knowledge to Action framework and the Intervention Mapping framework, including the use of logic modelling and the socio-ecological model.
: Using information gathered throughout this thesis and through co-production with SLTs, this work resulted in the development of an online, evidence-based resource that aims to support SLTs’ use of research in practice in the clinical management of children with phonological impairment. The resource is called SuSSD (Supporting and understanding Speech Sound Disorder) and was found to have high face validity.
: Integrating SuSSD into SLTs’ decision-making should support their use of research in practice and improve outcomes for children with phonological impairment. Further research is necessary to determine if SuSSD can effectively increase SLTs’ use of research in practice and improve speech outcomes for children with phonological impairment.

What do children with speech sound disorders think about their talking?

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication
McCormack, J., McLeod, S., & Crowe, K. (in press). What do children with speech sound disorders think about their talking? Seminars in Speech and Language.
Here is the abstract:
Investigating children’s feelings and attitudes toward talking assists speech–language pathologists (SLPs) to understand experiences of communication and the impact of speech sound disorders (SSD). This, in turn, can assist SLPs in identifying appropriate intervention for children with SSD that addresses the needs of children, and their communication partners. This paper draws on data from the Sound Start Study in Australia to explore the attitudes toward talking of 132 preschool-aged children with SSD and the relationship between children’s attitudes, speech accuracy, and parent-reported intelligibility and participation. Most of these children with SSD had a positive attitude toward talking. There was a significant relationship between children’s attitudes toward talking and speech accuracy. Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between speech accuracy and parents’ perceptions of intelligibility and participation. However, there was no significant relationship between children’s attitudes and parents’ perceptions. These results highlight similarities and differences between attitudes and experiences of preschool-aged children, their performance on clinical measures, and their parents’ perspectives, indicating the need for SLPs to consider each of these areas during assessment and intervention.

January 11, 2019

Communication milestones

Last year Speech Pathology Australia produced a Communication Milestones Poster. Recently we have been invited to contribute sections on multilingual speech acquisition as they plan to have it translated into a number of different languages.
Here are some references we used to update it:
  • McLeod, S., & Crowe, K. (2018). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27, 1546–1571. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100 
  • McLeod, S., Crowe, K., & Shahaeian, A. (2015). Intelligibility in Context Scale: Normative and validation data for English-speaking preschoolers. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 46, 266-276. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0120