May 30, 2012

Walkie Talkies

Kate and Hannah with their pedometres
The job of a researcher requires vast amounts of sitting, thinking, reading, and typing.
As a result, my students and I have decided to conduct a 10 week challenge to walk at least 10,000 steps per day. We live in different cities from one another, so if we find ourselves in the same place, we try to walk (and talk) together. Consequently we have called ourselves the Walkie Talkies and are plotting our steps using Excel spreadsheets.
There are prizes not only for the most steps walked, but also for the largest standard deviation, and the most improved since baseline. We may even use more of the statistical capabilities to explore our results as an exercise in quantitative stats! I will keep you posted on how we are doing.

May 25, 2012

March-May 2012 summary

‘Speaking my language: International speech acquisition in Australia’
Written by Kim Woodland, Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education for the May 2012 RIPPLE Update

Sharynne and Dr Yvonne Wren in Bathurst
Sharynne began March by speaking to over 400 parents and teachers from 30 rural and remote schools throughout New South Wales. Her presentation—Supporting children’s speech and language development—was part of RDE RELATE, a community education initiative from the Department of Education and Communities’ Country Areas Program which aims to support rural and remote communities by using videoconferencing to broadcast important speakers and issues. Work has also continued on the Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network (EYE CRN), including a two-day meeting in Albury where Sharynne worked with colleagues from three universities to analyse data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). She used the wealth of information from her Fellowship experience to focus on children speaking languages other than English. Dr Yvonne Wren from The University of the West of England visited in April, and they worked on a journal article, conference presentation and a grant submission. An international speech assessment project Sharynne has been supervising with Dr Martin Barrett, which involved Masters’ students from East Tennessee State University creating a prototype computer program for the International Speech Assessment, was wrapped up in early May with a final presentation. Sharynne has also continued publishing, with three co-authored journal articles on children's speech and language recently being released.

The RIPPLE Effect is published here:

May 15, 2012

Systematic review of speech assessments

Sarah Verdon and I have been spending each Friday undertaking a systematic review of speech (articulation and phonology) assessments for speakers of languages other than English. The review encompasses the conceptual and operational aspects of the assessments. We have had a lot of fun working out what the manuals are saying by using Google Translate, then asking our colleagues from around the world who speak the languages (and we also try to ask the people who have written the test). There are some very impressive assessments that are available, and I can't wait until it is completed and we are ready to tell the English-speaking world about them.
Sarah with German, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, Cantonese and Norwegian tests

May 11, 2012

Analysing Vietnamese children's speech with students in Ho Chi Minh City

This afternoon I spent an hour discussing speech analysis with two groups of students from Ho Chi Minh City (via Skype) facilitated by Janella Christie and a Vietnamese interpreter. It is exciting to see how they have been applying my lectures from May 2011 to real children in Vietnam. They have been developing assessments and analyses that are relevant to the different pronunciations from different parts of Vietnam. They have also been finding phonological patterns that are typical for English-speaking children, and not listed in Tang and Barlow (2006). It is a privilege to be a part of developing the profession of speech pathology in VietNam.

May 9, 2012

Help! My computer is full

We often take our computers for granted.
This week I was copying data (video and audio files as well as images from the children's drawings) from our Talking about Talking research onto my computer -- and received the message that my computer was full! Researching about children's speech does take a lot of computer storage, and is another factor and cost in undertaking research in this field.

May 4, 2012

International Speech Assessment: Finalization of the ETSU capstone project

Today was the final presentation of the capstone project undertaken by the masters' students from East Tennessee State University. Over the past 18 months they have been working with Dr. Martin Barrett and myself to create a prototype for the International Speech Assessment. During their presentation, the students said that they had completed 2897.5 hours of work on the project! It has been a very an interesting process to learn what is important for creating a working computer program.
An earlier blog posting about the project (May 2011) is here
ISA Capstone Team: L-R Howard Morris, Jim Johnson, Dr. Martin Barrett, Nathanial McConnell, Heather Haley, Chandan Biswas, Eric Barclay, Kris Cunigan, Aaron Stokes

May 3, 2012

Speech-language pathologists at war?

Two journal articles have been published recently that talk about battles:
  1. McCormack, J., McAllister, L. McLeod, S. & Harrison, L. J., (2012). Knowing, having, doing: The battles of childhood speech impairment. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 28, 141-157.
  2. Kenny, B. & Lincoln, M. (2012). Sport, scales or war?Metaphors speech-language pathologists use to describe caseload management. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 247-259.   
 When we enter the speech-language pathology profession we don't realize we will be engaged in battles (e.g.,  having to fight for our clients, fight for rights within our workplaces, etc); nor do we think about the battles our clients and their families experience (e.g., in order to access services).