October 13, 2017

Magdalena Janus' visit to CSU

We have been honoured to have A/Prof Magdalena Janus visiting Charles Sturt University this week. She has been instrumental in the development of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) used widely in Canada, Australia, USA, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, and Jordan. She is currently developing the Infant and Young Child Development (IYCD) assessment in conjunction with the World Health Organization.
Ben Phạm and Magdalena Janus discussing the Vietnamese EDI
Magdalena Janus, Sharynne and Linda Harrison

September 28, 2017

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' (RCSLT) Conference in Glasgow

The 2017 RCSLT conference is in Glasgow over the next two days. There are over 500 attendees from 6 countries, 4 keynotes, 71 presentations, 14 workshops, and 110 posters.

I really enjoyed the presentation from  Rt Hon John Bercow MP where he said that the Bercow Review (2008) was "the most stimulating and rewarding project" he has undertaken prior to becoming Speaker of the House of Commons.
Rt Hon John Bercow MP

I am co-presenting the following papers:
  1. Sound Start Study: A Community-based Randomized Controlled Trial of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter • Yvonne Wren (Speech and Language Research Unit, Bristol) • Sharynne McLeod (Charles Sturt University) • Elise Baker (The University of Sydney) • Jane McCormack (Charles Sturt University) • Kate Crowe (Charles Sturt University) • Sarah Masso (Charles Sturt University) • Sue Roulstone (University of the West of England) 
  2. The Current Practices of UK Speech and Language Therapists: Phonological Intervention Approaches and Dosages• Natalie Hegarty (Ulster University) • Jill Titterington (Ulster University) • Sharynne McLeod (Charles Sturt University) • Laurence Taggart (Ulster University)
 It has been a great opportunity for networking with colleagues from the UK and around the world.
Yvonne Wren presenting our paper on the Sound Start Study
Prof Julie Marshall (Manchester Metropolitan University), Helen Barrett (Rwanda),
Sharynne, Prof Sue Roulstone (Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit)
Natalie Hegarty, Dr Jill Titterington (University of Ulster), and Sharynne

Visiting Scotland

I have Scottish ancestry, so I really enjoy visiting Scotland.
I  have enjoyed the soaking up the architecture and design of Glasgow, particularly the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Willow Tea Rooms
The RCSLT conference was held at the SEC - and the view each morning was quite spectacular.
While in Scotland I have benefited from the hospitality of colleagues including Professor Jim Scobbie and Professor Alan Wrench from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Dr Joanne Cleland from University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Kirsty, Joanne, Sharynne, Jim and Alan

RCSLT Child Speech Disorder Research Network

I was invited to join the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Child Speech Disorder Research Network meeting at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.  It was a dynamic meeting of researchers from across the UK who are passionate about working in the field of children's speech.

Twitter post from CSDR Network
Child Speech Disorder Research Network

September 27, 2017

Anna's presentation at the Early Start Conference

Anna Cronin attended the Early Start Conference in Wollongong in September. She presented a poster titled: Optimising the Communication and Wellbeing of Toddlers with Cleft Palate: Practices Across Four Continents.
Here is the abstract:
Children born with a cleft palate (+/- cleft lip) can have difficulties communicating, eating, and participating in environments such as early childhood education. Cleft palate is a congenital condition that results from the segments of the face failing to fuse during early embryological development. Surgery to repair the cleft generally occurs in the first year of life; however, it can impact on children’s psychological and social functioning, and that of their family, for many years after. Having a cleft palate may impact a child’s speech sound acquisition (i.e., reduced speech intelligibility), velopharyngeal function (i.e., reduced speech acceptability), or both. Over the past decade, research has been undertaken to examine the early speech development of children with cleft palate. Given that children with cleft palate are at increased risk of speech sound disorders, and that these patterns/sound preferences emerge before their first words, there is continued interest in early intervention for toddlers and pre-schoolers with cleft palate. This project was undertaken to gather resources and strategies to support toddlers with cleft palate and their families. This was done with a view to maximising their speech outcomes, and in turn their well-being and social inclusion.
METHOD The first author received a Churchill Fellowship, and arranged visits to twelve experts working with children with cleft palate and their families. Sites were chosen based on the experts’ experience, published research, and/or interest in early speech intervention. The experts worked in six sites in Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand, and US. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a topic guide developed after consultation of the literature, and discussion with colleagues and team members. Artefacts were collected to gain a greater understanding of the centres’ practices. Data were also collected through the observation of intervention sessions and multidisciplinary clinics. The interviews were then transcribed verbatim. The interviews, artefacts and observations were analysed qualitatively using inductive and deductive analysis based on a priori categories/themes identified during the planning of the research.
RESULTS There were consistent findings/recommendations across settings, despite the varied languages spoken, access to services, type of surgical repair, and approaches to intervention. Assessment: Monitor early language development, track speech over time (audio recordings), use consistent stimuli for speech samples, and use a developmental screener (track across developmental domains). Intervention: Provide parents with early speech and language development information, use principles and knowledge of typical speech acquisition norms when interpreting speech assessment data for young children with cleft palate, apply innovative models of care (e.g., speech therapy camps, collaborative care with primary SLPs and video feedback of parents in sessions)
DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION Cross-cultural similarities and differences regarding support for toddlers with cleft palate were found. These practices advocated by 12 international experts can be used to generate future research questions and provide expert evidence regarding service delivery for toddlers with cleft palate from around the world, to ensure the best speech outcomes for them, and as a result improved participation and social inclusion.

September 22, 2017

Languages spoken in the UK

The participants in yesterday's seminar at the University of Sheffield shared two websites from the 2011 census outlining languages spoken in the UK:
 Some key points:
"English (or Welsh in Wales) was the main language for 92% of UK residents. Of the remaining 8% who had a different main language, the majority could speak English "well" or "very well". People who couldn’t speak English "well" or "at all" had a lower proportion of "good" general health than those with English as their main language."
  • The top 10 languages spoken are: Polish, Panjabi, Urdu, Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya), Gujarati, Arabic, French, All other Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish
  • The top 10 languages spoken by people who are proficient in English are: Afrikaans, Welsh (in England only), Swedish, Danish, Northern European language (non EU), Shona, Finnish, German, Dutch, Tagalog/Filipino
  • The top 10 languages spoken by people who are less proficient in English are: Gypsy/Traveller languages, Pakistani Pahari (with Mirpuri and Potwari), Vietnamese, Cantonese Chinese, Yiddish, Panjabi, Romani language (any), Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya), Turkish, Latvian

Visiting the University of Sheffield

I am visiting the University of Sheffield in the UK at the moment. Today I presented a seminar titled: "Multilingual children's speech: A world tour" and met with colleagues (including Blanca Schaefer, Silke Fricke and Jenny Thomson). Tomorrow I will examine a PhD.
Dr Blanca Schaefer and Sharynne at The University of Sheffield
Some of the audience after my presentation

September 21, 2017

International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics website

The International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics website recently has been updated and includes a link to the Powerpoint presentation I made about the history of ICPLA: http://www.icpla.info
The next ICPLA conference will be held in Malta in October 2018.

September 20, 2017

Tutorial: Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in young children

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication. This is the last paper to be published from Sarah Masso's PhD. Congratulations Sarah!

Masso, S., McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2017, in press). Tutorial: Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in young children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Here is the abstract:
Purpose: Polysyllables, words of three or more syllables, represent almost 30% of words used in American English. The purpose of this tutorial is to support speech-language pathologists’ assessment and analysis of polysyllables extending the focus of published assessment tools that focus on sampling and analysing children’s segmental accuracy and/or the presence of phonological patterns.
Method: This tutorial will guide SLPs through a review of 53 research papers that have explored the use of polysyllables in assessment, including the sampling and analysis procedures used in different research studies. The tutorial will also introduce two new tools to analyse and interpret polysyllable speech samples: the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a) and the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity (Framework, Masso, 2016b).
Results: Connected speech and single-word sampling tasks were used across the 53 studies to elicit polysyllables and a number of analysis methods were reported including measures of segmental accuracy and measures of structural and suprasegmental accuracy. The WAP and the Framework extend SLPs’ depth of analysis of polysyllables.
Conclusion: SLPs need a range of clinical tools to support the assessment and analysis of polysyllables. A case study comparing different speech analysis methods demonstrates the clinical value in utilizing the WAP and the Framework to interpret children’s polysyllable productions in addition to traditional methods of speech sampling and analysis.

September 19, 2017

Children's speech acquisition in Vietnamese and Cantonese

Today Ben Pham presented a paper titled "Acquisition of consonants, vowels and tones by children in Northern Viet Nam" at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference of Speech, Language, and Hearing (APCSLH) in Narita, Japan.
Sharynne, Ben Pham and A/Prof Kathy Lee from Chinese University of Hong Kong
Ben's work has been informed by a paper by A/Prof Carol To from the University of Hong Kong published in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research in 2013. Ben and Carol have had a number of opportunities to discuss their work while in Japan. Such collaboration and sharing strengthens research quality.
A/Prof Carol To (University of Hong Kong) and Ben Pham discussing
Cantonese and Vietnamese children's speech acquisition