November 26, 2011

International perspectives of infant-toddler education and care

Over the  past two days, I have participated in a symposium at Charles Sturt University titled Infant-Toddler Education and Care: Exploring Diverse Perspectives on Theory, Research, Practice and Policy. It has been a stimulating time of discussion with experts from around the globe. Today presenters from 6 countries described the policy and practice for early childhood education and care and their inclusion/support practices for children:
  • Liz Brooker (U.K.)
  • Claire Vallotton and Jim Elicker (U.S.)
  • Anne Kultti (Sweden)
  • Niina Rutanen (Finland)
  • Mette Gulbrandsen (Norway)
  • Linda Mitchell and Jayne White (N.Z.)
CSU staff and invited guests from infant-toddler centres and services also discussed practices and policy issues in the Australian context. Thank you to Linda Harrison, Jennifer Sumsion and Fran Press who organized this fascinating symposium. 
Invited researchers working with infants and toddlers from around the globe

November 25, 2011

Multilingual speech and language development and disorders: New book

Today I received my copy of Communication Disorders in Multicultural and International Populations edited by Dolores Battle. I was invited to co-author a chapter with my colleague Helen Grech, from Malta. Here is the reference: Grech, H. & McLeod, S. (2012). Multilingual speech and language development and disorders. In D. Battle (Ed). Communication disorders in multicultural and international populations (4th ed) (pp. 120-147). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.

At the beginning of the chapter we defined multilingualism: "...a person who is multilingual is able to comprehend and/or produce two or more languages in oral and/or written form regardless of the level of proficiency, use, and the age the languages were learned." (p. 121).

We also described the complexity of defining multilingualism: "Parameters that characterize definitions of multilingualism include:
a) the number of languages known (e.g., bilingual, trilingual, polyglot, semilingual)
b) the age and timing of the acquisition of each language (e.g., simultaneous or sequential acquisition)
c) proficiency in each language (e.g., minimal skill, functional, proficient in daily life, proficient in all contexts including educational/academic/professional contexts)
d) domains of language knowledge and use (e.g., perception/comprehension vs. production)
e) language output mode (e.g., oral vs. signed vs. written)
f) language(s) spoken within the community (e.g., majority vs. minority languages)"

The appendix includes a comprehensive list of studies of typical and atypical speech and language acquisition by multilingual children.

November 24, 2011

"Different Languages, One World": Online seminar to Brazil and USA

Two universities from the US: East Tennessee State University and the University of Northern Iowa  and two universities from Brazil: Universidade Federal de Santa Maria and Universidade de São Paulo-Baurú are involved in a cross-collaborative program designed to promote research into communication disorders across languages and cultures. The initiative has been described in the November 21, 2011 issue of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association magazine, the ASHA Leader here.

I have been invited to present a lecture and run a question/answer session in the "Different Languages, One World" series across 4 time zones and 3 continents. I will be focusing on international speech acquisition, and am looking forward to this exciting collaboration.

November 23, 2011

Speech-language pathologists’ knowledge of consonant production

A special issue of Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics has just been published to celebrate Martin J. Ball's 25 years of editorship of the journal. The special issue contains papers from around the world addressing all aspects of clinical linguistics and phonetics.
I was invited to write an article for the special issue, and I chose to triangulate three topics that have been central to Martin's research contributions: transcription, instrumentation, and education.
Here is the reference:
McLeod, S. (2011). Speech-language pathologists’ knowledge of tongue/palate contact for consonant production. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 25(11-12), 1004-1013.
Here is the abstract:
"Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) rely on knowledge of tongue placement to assess and provide intervention. 175 SLPs who worked with children with speech sound disorders (SSD) drew coronal diagrams of tongue/palate contact for 24 English consonants. Comparisons were made between their responses and typical English-speaking adults’ contact established by electropalatography. SLPs were most accurate for consonants with no contact (h, p, f); then velar consonants (g, k, ng). The remaining consonants were rarely accurate (from most to least accurate: l, t, r, z, n, sh, s, zh, y, v, th(voiceless), d, m, b, w, th(voiced), ch, j). SLPs demonstrated good knowledge of contact along the midline, but poor knowledge of contact along lateral margins of the palate. Importantly, SLPs did not show awareness of: lateral bracing (horse-shoe contact) for alveolar consonants (t, d, n, s, z); the groove for s, z, sh, zh; or posterior lateral contact for most other consonants. Accuracy was not influenced by: length of time as SLP, location of SLP training, location of current workplace, proportion of caseload with SSD or childhood apraxia of speech, amount of time spent reading, or exposure to electropalatography. Awareness of coronal tongue placement for consonant production needs targeting in SLP education."

November 21, 2011

American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention, San Diego, CA, USA

From 17-19 November, I attended the American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention, in San Diego, CA along with 12,000+ other delegates.

My colleagues and I coordinated the following invited sessions:

  • McLeod, S. & Goldstein, B. A. (Coordinators) Cross-linguistic and multilingual aspects of speech sound disorders in children (Invited 2 hour seminar)
  • McLeod, S., Staley, B., & Battle, D. (Coordinators)  SLP university programs in developing countries: Culturally sustainable approaches (Invited 2 hour seminar).

I co-presented the following papers:
  • McLeod, S. Multilingual speech assessment and analysis.(Paper as part of invited seminar)
  • Goldstein, B. A. & McLeod, S. Typical and atypical multilingual speech acquisition. (Paper as part of invited seminar)
  • Baker, E. & McLeod, S. SLPs’ assessment and intervention practices for childhood speech sound disorders. (Technical paper)
  • Washington, K. N., Thomas-Stonell, N., McLeod, S., Warr-Leeper, G. Parents’ and SLPs’ perspectives on communication and participation skills. (Poster)
 It was a stimulating convention. A time for learning, discussion, celebrations, and continuing friendships.

Presenters in the seminar on multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Brian Goldstein, Karla Washington (Jamaican Creole), Seyhun Topbaş (Turkish), Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann, Helen Grech (Maltese), Sharynne McLeod, Carol To (Hong Kong Cantonese), Raúl Rojas (Spanish), David Ingram, and Raúl Prezas (Spanish)

Presenters in the seminar on SLP university programs in developing countries: Sharynne McLeod, Marie Atherton (Vietnam), Ken Bleile (Nicaragua), Bea Staley, Kartini Ahmad (Malaysia), Karen Wylie (Senegal). Mary Wickenden (Sri Lanka) and Julie Marshall (Uganda) presented their papers by proxy.

Larry Shriberg, Marc Fey (ASHA Honors awardee), Sandy Fey, and Sharynne McLeod after the ASHA Awards Ceremony

Ingredients for working with children with speech sound disorders

Sharynne, Lynn Williams, Rebecca McCauley and Elise Baker
Can you bake a cake without chocolate?
Can you bake a cake without flour or eggs?
What are essential ingredients? What are active ingredients?

Lynn Williams (East Tennessee State University), Rebecca McCauley (Ohio State University), Elise Baker (The University of Sydney) and I spent a productive 3 days at Mission Beach, San Diego during November. During our time together we conducted a content analysis of the common and unique ingredients that make up 15 phonological interventions for children with speech sound disorders that were documented in Interventions for Children with Speech Sound Disorders. Currently there are 48 different documented interventions for children with speech sound disorders. We chose the interventions with the highest levels of evidence of effectiveness. It was a privilege to have this time together to think about effectiveness of intervention for children with speech sound disorder, and to develop a framework to assist speech-language pathologists, their university educators, and researchers  to consider common and unique ingredients. We are currently writing up our work, and hope it will be published at some stage.
Lynn Williams, Rebecca McCauley and Elise Baker
conducting the content analysis of interventions

November 15, 2011

Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Research Conference

Jane McCormack presented the following paper on our behalf at the recent conference in Melbourne: Growing
Up in Australia and Footprints in Time - The Combined Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) and
Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) Research Conference

McCormack, J., Harrison, L. J., McLeod, S., & McAllister, L. (2011, November). Correspondence
between communication impairment in early childhood and outcomes at school.  

The conference was attended by policy makers, researchers, and practitioners.
The paper received attention from the national media as well as other sources:

November 4, 2011

David Crystal talks about "The Fascinating First Year"

Children Draw Talking art exhibition
On 1 November, the  Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit and University of the West of England's Social Science in the City ™ hosted a lecture in Bristol UK by the world-famous linguist Professor David Crystal. Professor Crystal's topic was ‘The Fascinating First Year’. The focus was on early phonetic development, and on the distinctive nature of parent-child interaction.

Professor Sue Roulstone and Professor David Crystal
The event was attended by over 270 people and also profiled our Children Draw Talking art exhibition. It was held as part of the UK National Year of Speech, Language & Communication: