November 2, 2009

Future Fellowship announced

Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT0990588)

Project title:
Speaking my languages: International speech acquisition in Australia

Awarded to:
Professor Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University

Years: awarded for 2009-2013; implemented 2010-2014

Summary of the project:
In Australia over 3 million people speak languages other than English. The prevalence of communication impairment is unknown for children who speak languages other than English (LOTE), yet overall prevalence in Australian children is estimated to be 12-13%. This landmark study will a) estimate the prevalence of communication impairment in Australian children who speak LOTE, b) critique current professional practices for identifying speech impairment in children who speak LOTE and c) develop an international speech assessment to facilitate accurate diagnoses to support children’s short and longterm social, educational and occupational outcomes.

Summary of national benefit:
It is important to differentiate between children who have communication impairment (difficulty learning all languages) from those who only have difficulty learning subsequent language(s). Communication impairment in multilingual children is both undiagnosed and over-diagnosed due to lack of culturally-sensitive measurement tools. Early intervention can ameliorate communication impairment in children and can reduce subsequent educational, social and occupational outcomes of untreated communication impairment. By working with people around the world, this Fellowship will result in the development of the International Speech Assessment designed to differentially identify children and to specify holistic early intervention goals.

Australian Government announcement

Sydney Morning Herald news story