August 27, 2010

2010 publications (update)

Earlier this year I listed my 2010 publications:

Here are the journal articles that have been accepted/published since February
1. Baker, E. & McLeod (2010a, in press August). Evidence-based practice for children with speech sound disorders: Part 1 narrative review. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools

2. Baker, E. & McLeod (2010b, in press August). Evidence-based practice for children with speech sound disorders: Part 2 application to clinical practice. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools

3. McCormack , J., McLeod, S., McAllister, L. & Harrison, L. J. (2010). My speech problem, your listening problem, and my frustration: The experience of living with childhood speech impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 379–392.  DOI 10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0129)

4. McCormack, J., McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., & McAllister, L. (2010). The impact of speech impairment in early childhood: Investigating parents’ and speech-language pathologists’ perspectives using the ICF-CY. Journal of Communication Disorders, 43(5), 378-396. DOI 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2010.04.009.

5. McLeod, S. & McKinnon, D. H. (2010). Required support for primary and secondary students with communication disorders and/or other learning needs. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 26(2), 123-143.

6. Harrison, L. J. & McLeod, S. (2010). Risk and protective factors associated with speech and language impairment in a nationally representative sample of 4- to 5-year-old children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(2), 508-529.

Gaining wisdom in Athens

Athens is named for Athena, the godess of wisdom. Athena is often accompanied by an owl, so in Athens (as in much of the world), the owl is a symbol of wisdom. I have gained wisdom in Athens through many different ways:
  • meeting with my students and colleagues from around the globe
  • listening to presentations at the IALP conference
  • visiting ancient sites in Athens
  • listening to the Athenian people
I have also spent time talking with speech-language pathologists and researchers from many different language backgrounds who have given me advice regarding preparation of the second edition of the International Guide to Speech Acquisition.
Isabelle Simard (Montreal, Canda), Sharynne
and Eleni Mitropoulou (Athens, Greece)

August 24, 2010

International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health Symposium

At the IALP conference in Athens, Jane McCormack and I organised a syposium on the development of clinical tools for considering communication based around the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health. This symposium was designed to complement the keynote address by Professor Travis Threats. The symposium presenters came from across the globe:

1. Assessing voice activity and participation in dysphonic children (Estella Ma et al., Hong Kong)

2. Using the ICF as a clinical framework: Parents’ and professionals’ perspectives of the impact of speech impairment in early childhood (Jane McCormack et al., Australia)

3. The development of ICF inspired assessments for adults with acute stroke, traumatic brain injury and partners of hearing impaired older people (Linda Worrall  et al., Australia)

4. Considering the ICF as a conceptual framework for understanding quality of life of adults with acquired communication disorders: Strengths and limitations (Madeline Cruice,  UK)

5. The FOCUS (Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six): A measure of communicative participation (Nancy Thomas-Stonell et al., Canada)

6. Considering context in the evaluation of intelligibility (Sharynne McLeod et al., Australia)
Karla Washington, Nancy Thomas-Stonell, Jane McCormack,
Sharynne McLeod, Linda Worrall, Madeline Cruice

August 22, 2010


Dhimotiki is the official version of Modern Greek spoken in Greece since 1976.

Greek has
• 31 consonants including allophones and affricates (allophones are not included in this list): p, t, k, b, d, g, l, n, m, n, th(+), th(-), f, v, s, z, x, , ts, dz
• 5 vowels: i, e, a, o, u

Most Greek words tend to be more than one syllable in length.
Most Greek words end in a vowel. Consonants in word-final position are restricted to /s/ and /n/, except in loanwords. Consonants in syllable-final word-within position are mainly //, /l/, and /n/.

There are many (approx 65) consonant clusters in word-initial position (e.g., /pt, kt, ps, ks/)
Stress falls on one of the last three syllables in the word.

The Greek alphabet used today was developed around the ninth century B.C. It has 24 letters plus an accent mark to indicate stressed vowels. Typically there is a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters; however, in some cases the same sound can be represented by different letters For example, there are five different spellings for the sound [i].

Here are some relevant Greek words:

  •  Sound ήχος
  • Word λέξη
  • Sentence πρόταση
  • Paragraph παράγραφος
Source: Mennen, I. & Okalidou, A. (2007). Greek speech acquisition. In S. McLeod (Ed). The international guide to speech acquisition. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

August 13, 2010

International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics Conference - Athens, Greece

Between 22-26th August I have attended the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics  (IALP) in Athens, Greece. This association is auspiced by the World Health Organization, and brings together speech pathologists from around the world. There were over 700 delegates from 52 nations in attendance.

My students, colleagues and I presented the following papers:
  • McCormack, J., McLeod, S., McAllister, L., &Harrison, L. J. (2010, August). Using the ICF as a clinical framework: Parents' and professionals' perspectives of the impact of speech impairment in early childhood. International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Athens.
  • McCormack, J., McLeod, S., McAllister, L., & Harrison, L. J. (2010, August). The experience and impact of speech impairment in childhood through the eyes of children and their families. International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Athens.
  • McLeod, S., McCormack, J., & Harrison, L. J. (2010, August). Considering context in the evaluation of intelligibility. International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Athens.
  • Washington, K., N., Thomas-Stonell, N., McLeod, S., Warr-Leeper, G., Oddson, B., & Robertson, B. (2010). Parents' perceptions of speech-language therapy. International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Athens.
We also had the opportunity to explore Athens, named for Athena, the godess of wisdom:
Jane McCormack and Sharynne visiting the Greek Parliament

I am a member of the IALP Education Committee, and we had our tri-annual face-to-face meeting for the committee to discuss education of speech-langauge pathologists around the globe.
2010 IALP Education Committee with members from Japan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Belgium, Australia, Malta, Taiwan, Finland, and USA

Writing a literature review for PhD students

On Thursday 12th September I was invited to present at seminar for 37 new PhD students studying at Charles Sturt University. The seminar was titled "Writing a  Literature Review" and I based the presentation on the following book chapter:

McLeod, S. (submitted). Disseminating research: Reading, writing, and publishing. In N. Müller & M. J. Ball (Eds). The Blackwell guide to research methods in clinical linguistics and phonetics. Oxford: Blackwells.

August 4, 2010

Silozi: A Zambian language

Silozi is the language spoken by the Lozi people who primarily live in Western Province in Zambia (including in Mwandi).
Silozi consists of:
  • 5 vowels: a, e, i, o, u
  • 20 consonants: p, t, c, k, b, d, j, g, f, s, sh, h, z, w, l, y, m, n, ny, ŋ
  • 40 consonant clusters (mostly in word-initial position): mp, nt, nc, nk, mb, nd, nj, ng, ns, nz, pw, tw, cw, kw, bw, fw, sw, shw, hw, zw, mw, nw, nyw, ŋw, mpw, ntw, ncw, nkw, mbw, ndw, njw, ngw, nsw, nzw, py, by, my, mpy, mby, ly
(The symbols used above are those used in Lozi spelling, apart from ŋ. Lozi has a one-to-one correspondence with the spoken sounds.)

Syllables may consist of a consonant + vowel, consonant cluster + vowel, or a nasal consonant alone (this also occurs in Cantonese). Each syllable is differentiated by the length and tone. There are:
  • 2 tones in short syllables: H, L (H = high, L = low)
  • 3 tones in long syllables: HH, LL, HL
Source: Fortune, G. (2001). An outline of Silozi grammar. Lusaka, Zambia: Bookworld Publishers.

Listening to children at the Mwandi Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Project, Zambia

I was very honoured to spend a few days visiting the Mwandi Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project in Western Province of Zambia on the Zambezi River. Mwandi is a village of 10,000 people and 1,300 children have been orphaned mostly due to HIV AIDS. The Mwandi OVC project is run by an Australian, Fiona Dixon-Thompson. My family and I helped with the feeding program (feeding 270 children for lunch) and the preschool program (singing, storytelling, and sharpening pencils!). However, most of the time we played and talked with the children. The children particularly loved having their photographs taken, then seeing themselves in the camera display (we have permission to upload their photographs here). OVC has a number of buildings adjacent to the village school. There is a playground, hall (used for the daily feeding program and preschool), kitchen, garden, carpentry centre, sewing centre, administration block (including a counselling area and computer room with 4 computers), and storage. Staff housing is currently being built.

We were shown through the Mwandi village by Gertrude, and visited homes, the market, and the chief’s compound. We were greeted with enthusiasm, particularly after we said "muchwani" (how are you?), and we were thanked on behalf of the Australians who had sponsored the children in their village. The village homes were made of mud, poles and grass, and each family's compound was surrounded by a hedge. We had a chance to pump some water, and to watch as even the young children skilfully carried the water on their heads to their homes. We also got involved in a soccer game. We visited the mission hospital and school and met the Zambian teachers and students at Mwandi Basic School (grades 1-9) and High School (which opened in 2009 and will have children in grades 10-12 in the future). The children were taking their exams in history, maths, chemistry and Silozi, English when we visited.

This sign means friendship:
A gesture that was offered to us frequently during our visit

Children’s home environment and the impact on literacy in Africa

At the ISSBD conference (see earlier post) Damaris Ngorosho, from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania presented an invited paper titled “Phonological awareness and reading and writing ability: The importance of home environment factors in a rural community in Tanzania”.
She assessed the phonological awareness and reading skills (in Kiswahili) of 75 grade 2 children (aged 8-10 years old) in rural Tanzania and collected information on their home learning environment. Here are some of the findings that I found to be very interesting (and representative of what I saw in the villages in Zambia):

  • Books in the home: 64.0% had no books, 30.7% had 1-2 books, 5.3% had 3+ books
  • Pens in the home: 43.5% had no pens, 34.7% had one pen, 20.0% had 2+ pens
  • Homes: most had poles/mud walls, grass/coconut roofs, and sand floors
  • Water: 77% used a neighbourhood tap
  • Lighting: 55% used a locally made lamp, 13% used electricity
  • Fuel: 76% used firewood
  • Furniture: 78% of homes had not enough beds for the number of people living there.
She also found that parental education level was a strong predictor of children’s reading and writing ability.

Listening to children in Mukuni village, Zambia

Mukuni village is a traditional Zambian village close to Victoria Falls. The village represents how the Mukuni people have lived for hundreds of years and is typical of many throughout Zambia. The village earns income through tourism, and invites people to come and meet with the residents, visit their homes, take photographs, and purchase their crafts.
I enjoyed meeting the children and saying mwapona buti? (how are you?), and twalumba (thank you) in Tongan, their first language. The children were surprised that a white person was using their language, and after their first broad smiles and claps quickly transferred to English so we could continue communicating. I was particularly impressed by a young woman who was 15 and in grade 7 (the typical age for Zambian children in grade 7). She was studying for her school exams the next week, and showed me the work she had been doing.