July 14, 2018

Screening children’s speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position

This morning the following paper was accepted for publication:
McLeod, S. & Masso, S. (2018, in press July). Screening children’s speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Here is the abstract
Purpose: Diagnostic decision-making is influenced by the attributes of assessments. In order to propose time-efficient protocols for screening children’s speech this study aimed to determine whether eliciting imitated responses and analyzing productions in different word positions resulted in different levels of consonant accuracy.
Method: Participants were 267 English-speaking preschool-aged children in the Sound Start Study whose parents were concerned about their speech. They were assessed using the International Speech Screener (ISS, McLeod, 2013) using either imitated or spontaneous elicitation. Productions were compared with an established diagnostic assessment of speech accuracy (Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology, DEAP-Phonology, Dodd et al., 2002).
Results: Participants’ performance on the ISS was significantly correlated with performance on the DEAP-Phonology. Eliciting imitated productions on the ISS (M = 2:18 mins, SD = 0:59) took significantly less time than spontaneous productions (M = 6:32 mins, SD = 2:34). There was no significant difference in accuracy of imitated versus spontaneous productions in word-initial position; however, consonants were significantly less accurate in spontaneous than imitated productions in other word positions. Overall, participants had significantly lower consonant accuracy in word-initial position than within word or word-final positions. Examination of the influence of word position on test discrimination, using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses, revealed acceptable test discrimination for percentage of consonants correct across word positions.
Conclusions: This research supports using imitated elicitation and analysis of percentage of consonants correct in word-initial position as a time-efficient procedure when screening the speech of English-speaking preschool children.

July 13, 2018

ASHA 2018 here we come!

This morning our team learned that all of the abstracts we submitted for presentation at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention were accepted for presentation in Boston in November. Last year over 15,000 people attended the ASHA convention, and they receive thousands of abstract submissions each year, so it is a big deal to have papers accepted. Here is what we will be presenting:

3 hour short course
  • Evolution of Speech Sound Norms: Revolutionizing Assessment (McLeod, Farquharson, Storkel) (invited)
1 hour seminars
  • The Right to Communicate: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (McLeod, Mulcair, Pietranton, Williams, Wofford, Tibi, Hemsley, Lyons, Carroll, Hersh) (invited)
  • The Phonological Intervention Taxonomy: How do Phonological Interventions Differ From one Another? (Baker, Williams, McLeod, McCauley)
Technical research presentations
  • Intelligibility in English: Multilingual Speakers' Perspectives (Blake, Verdon, McLeod)
  • Designing a Website to Support Children and Families who are Waiting for Speech-Language Pathology Services (McGill, McLeod)
  • Intelligibility in American Sign Language (Crowe, Marschark, McLeod)
  • Application of the ICF-CY to Professional Practice for Children With Cleft Palate Across the World (Cronin, McLeod, Verdon)
  • English Proficiency, Intelligibility and Participation of Multilingual University Students (Blake, Verdon, McLeod)
  • Using Drawings to Understand Jamaican Children's Talking (Deutenberg, Loebick, Wright, Washington, McLeod)

July 12, 2018

Data collection

We are in the middle of two large grants - which means we are in the middle of data collection.
  • Our VietSpeech questionnaire about Vietnamese language maintenance is still open for people to answer either in English or in Vietnamese. We have had 179 people log into answer it in English and 11 in Vietnamese so far, but would like more respondents. Recruitment finishes in August.
  • Our Waiting for Speech Pathology grant involves 3- to 5-year-old children and so far we have 94 participants across 3 sites: Site 1 – 28 participants, Site 2 – 37 participants, and Site 3 – 29 participants. Recruitment finishes at the end of September.

July 11, 2018

New 2-year term on Academic Senate

I have just commenced my next 2-year term as a Professors' Forum representative on the Charles Sturt University Academic Senate. This will be my third term. It is an important committee that meets 5 times a year face-to-face. This week we met in Wagga Wagga.

Goodbye Ben

Today Ben Phạm left Australia to return to Viet Nam after living in Bathurst for the past 4 years. She submitted her PhD recently and her Australia Awards scholarship has ended. Our team has really enjoyed getting to know Ben and her family and we wish them all the best for the future.

July 5, 2018

Welcome back Kate

This week Dr Kate Crowe visited Bathurst and had a wonderful time catching up with everyone (including CSU's kangaroos). She will be living in Denmark next month, but will continue as an adjunct at CSU.
Ben, Kate, Audrey, Graham and Sharynne
Kate and Jesper Dammeyer

July 4, 2018

Kangaroos at CSU

Here are some photos taken at Charles Sturt University as I walked across campus this morning. There were 9 kangaroos (+ a joey) on the sporting fields close to my office.

July 3, 2018

Executive Council Member of Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing

Today I received an invitation from Professor Manwa Lawrence Ng, and I have formally accepted the role of being an Executive Council Member (Publications Committee), Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing. The Speech, Language and Hearing journal is supported by this society and I am a board member of this journal.
Last year I attended and presented at the APSSLH conference in Narita, Japan.

Helen's contributions to a collection of universities

This week Helen Blake has finished working as a clinical educator in the Speech Intelligibility Clinic at The University of Newcastle and is about to commence working as a lecturer in the Graduate School of Health in the new Master of Speech Pathology program at University of Technology, Sydney. She is finalising her PhD this month at Charles Sturt University. Best wishes Helen!
Helen at The University of Newcastle
Helen at the University of Technology

June 30, 2018

Intervention for children with phonological impairment: Knowledge, practices and intervention intensity in the UK

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication.
Hegarty, N., Titterington, J., McLeod, S., Taggart, L. (2018, in press June). Intervention for children with phonological impairment: Knowledge, practices and intervention intensity in the UK. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.

It forms part of Natalie Hegarty's PhD (She is studying at the Ulster University and I am co-supervisor). Congratulations Natalie

Here is the abstract
Background Across the world, research has shown that intervention for children with phonological impairment can be both effective and efficient. However, research has also raised concerns about the translation of this evidence to practice, highlighting questions around clinician knowledge and understanding of approaches, and the intensity of intervention provided within real-life clinical contexts.
Aim To investigate the clinical management of phonological impairment by speech and language therapists (SLTs) in the United Kingdom (UK).
Methods & Procedures An anonymous, UK-wide, online survey was developed using Qualtrics. The target audience were UK-based SLTs who worked with children with phonological impairment. The following topics were explored: (1) SLTs’ understanding of intervention approaches, (2) SLTs’ use of intervention approaches to treat phonological impairment, (3) SLTs’ provision of intervention intensity for children with phonological impairment.
Outcomes & Results A total of 166 responses were analysed. To remediate phonological impairment, SLTs most commonly used speech discrimination (79.5%), conventional minimal pairs (77.3%), phonological awareness therapy (75.6%) and traditional articulation therapy (48.4%). Participants least frequently used the complexity approaches targeting the empty set (82.9%) and 2/3-element clusters (75%) as well as the cycles approach (75.6%). Results also showed that some SLTs were uncertain of what the empty set and 2/3-element clusters approaches entailed. In terms of intervention intensity, participants predominantly provided intervention once per week (69%) for a total of 9-12 sessions (ranging from 5-30 sessions, 71.5%) and elicited targets 10-30 times in single words per session (59.4%) in sessions lasting 21-30 minutes (41.4%).
Conclusions & Implications The most commonly used intervention approaches identified in the current survey (i.e., speech discrimination, conventional minimal pairs and phonological awareness therapy) may be used eclectically by SLTs, which could impact upon the effectiveness and efficiency of treatment for phonological impairment. The current study also highlighted that almost half of participants always/often used traditional articulation therapy to remediate phonological impairment, even though this approach has been found to be less effective for this difficulty. Additionally, it appears that the currently provided intervention intensity for phonological impairment in the UK is significantly lower than what is indicated in the literature. Therefore, a research-practice gap exists for SLTs in the UK working with children with phonological impairment.