December 23, 2013

The end of an era for IJSLP and me

Over the past 9+ years I have edited the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Much of the editorial work has occurred on weekends and evenings. I have thoroughly enjoyed this role as we have been able to support the development of high quality research into high quality publications. I have appreciated the unwavering support of the associate editor (Dr Angela Morgan), the staff and national council of Speech Pathology Australia (particularly Gail Mulcair), informa Healthcare (particularly Håkan Pårup, Therese Franzen, Marie Larsson), the executive board, editorial consultants, reviewers, authors, and readers. Through small steps we have been able to create an international venue for promoting world-class research to support people with speech, language, communication, and swallowing needs.
Sharynne editing IJSLP at home
Here is what was written by the CEO of Speech Pathology Australia, Gail Mulcair, in the December issue of SpeakOUT (p. 6)
At the conclusion of 2013, Professor Sharynne McLeod will retire as Editor of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (IJSLP). Sharynne has held the role since May 2004 and has worked tirelessly and with great enthusiasm over 10 years. During this time, Sharynne has led the journal to a new title and branding, achieved Medline and ISI Web of Science Social Sciences Citation indexation, with the most recent ISI impact factor ranking of 1.176, and significantly advanced its international standing and world-wide recognition as a leading journal in the profession and sciences of speech and language pathology. Sharynne has fostered many strategic international alliances, but has also been a strong supporter of developing and championing Australian research. Sharynne’s many groundbreaking achievements include the IJSLP becoming the first journal to include audio and video files, as well as the introduction of themed issues such as the Scientific Forum on the World Report on Disability and people with communication disability, with its lead article becoming one of the most downloaded articles of all Informa publications. Sharynne has displayed tremendous commitment and dedication in transforming our journal into a publication of world-class quality and scientific rigor, which is evidenced in its continued growth and wide readership. We extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Sharynne – she has left a very strong legacy and we wish her well with the many extra hours she will now have in her day!

Here is a part of the President's message published in the December issue of SpeakOUT (p. 3):
At the end of 2013, Professor Sharynne McLeod will step down as editor of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology after nearly 10 years in this position. On behalf of SPA, I wish to extend our deepest appreciation to Sharynne for her extraordinary expertise and dedication in her role as the editor of IJSLP. Due to her editorial expertise, she has steered the journal towards a position as a leading international journal in speech pathology, providing readers with high quality research articles and forums for discussion. Associate Professor Kirrie Ballard will take up the editorship of the journal and we look forward to working with her to continue building upon the strengths of IJSLP.

December 22, 2013

Importance of having assessments for use with multilingual children

A recent review of a paper I had submitted to an international journal began
"To my mind, two of the most important tasks for the profession of speech-language in this century are the development of assessments for use with multilingual children and children whose first language is not English and fostering clinicians’ awareness of them." 
This comment provides support for the work my colleagues and I have undertaken over the past 4 years.

December 19, 2013

Congratulations Hannah: First class honours

Today Hannah Wilkin graduated with first class honours for her Bachelor of Education (Primary). Hannah's honours thesis is profiled here. We are very proud of her achievements, and are pleased that children in the local schools are benefiting from her expertise as a teacher.

Introducing Dr Kate Crowe

Today Kate Crowe graduated from Charles Sturt University with her PhD. We are all so proud of what she has achieved. Here is the abstract of her PhD that was presented as seven publications.
The CSU media office ran a story on her accomplishments titled Caregivers' communication choices for children with hearing loss.
Dr Kate Crowe
Kate with her supervisors: Dr Loraine Fordham, Prof Sharynne McLeod, Dr Kate Crowe, & A/Prof David McKinnon (Dr Teresa Ching)
Kate with her family

December 18, 2013

Resourcing speech-language pathologists to work with multilingual clients

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication: McLeod, S. (in press, December 2013). Resourcing speech-language pathologists to work with multilingual clients. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 
This invited paper is based on my Elizabeth Usher Memorial address to the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, June 2013. Here is the abstract
Speech-language pathologists play important roles in supporting people to be competent communicators in the languages of their communities. However, with over 7000 languages spoken throughout the world and the majority of the global population being multilingual, there is often a mismatch between the languages spoken by children and families and their speech-language pathologists. This paper provides insights into service provision for multilingual children within an English-dominant country by viewing Australia’s multilingual population as a microcosm of ethnolinguistic minorities. Recent population studies of Australian preschool children show that their most common languages other than English are: Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, and Greek. Although 20.2% of services by Speech Pathology Australia members are offered in languages other than English, there is a mismatch between the language of the services and the languages of children within similar geographical communities. Australian speech-language pathologists typically use informal or English-based assessments and intervention tools with multilingual children. Thus, there is a need for accessible culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for working with multilingual children. Recent international collaborations have resulted in practical strategies to support speech-language pathologists during assessment, intervention, and collaboration with families, communities, and other professionals. The International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech was assembled to prepare a position paper to address issues faced by speech-language pathologists when working with multilingual populations. The Multilingual Children’s Speech website ( addresses one of the aims of the position paper by providing free resources and information for speech-language pathologists about more than 40 languages. These international collaborations have been framed around the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF-CY) and have been established with the goal of supporting multilingual children to participate in society.

December 16, 2013

Children’s production of polysyllables as a marker for phonological processing and emerging literacy skills

Today Sarah Masso presented her PhD proposal at Charles Sturt University during her endorsement for candidature session. Sarah is a PhD candidate and research officer on our Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP130102545) (2013-2015) titled A sound start: innovative technology to promote speech and pre-literacy skills in at-risk preschoolers. Her PhD is designed to answer (in part) the second aim of the Sound Start Study: Use psycholinguistic theory, to
a. determine the relationship between children’s speech errors (developmental versus disordered), emergent literacy, and phonological processing skills.
b. test whether promotion of input processing skills alone will enhance speech and emergent literacy skills.
In true CSU style, her presentation occurred in 4 cities via video conference: Sydney, Bathurst, Albury and Wagga Wagga. Her presentation was well received by the invited panel members and audience.
 Here is her abstract
Children who have difficulty talking and making speech sounds may constitute up to 20% of preschool children in Australia (McLeod, Harrison, McAllister, & McCormack, 2013; McLeod & Harrison, 2009). Preschool-age children who have speech sound disorders are at significant risk of literacy difficulties (Lewis, Freebairn, & Taylor, 2002). Anthony et al. (2011) found that between 30% and 77% of children who have an ongoing difficulty with speech sound production when they start school will have difficulties learning to read. Identification of those children who will go on to have literacy difficulties is fundamental to providing targeted, effective and efficient early intervention. Children’s ability to store phonological representations, access/process phonological information (known as phonological processing), and complete phonemic-level tasks may be key to understanding their risk of literacy difficulties (Anthony, 2010). It has been suggested that the specificity of children’s phonological representations may be inferred from children’s accuracy of polysyllable productions (James et al., 2008; James, 2006). However, recent studies into the capacity of children to change the accuracy of their polysyllables suggest that this may not be a simple, linear relationship (Gozzard, Baker, & McCabe, 2008; Masso, McCabe, et al., in press). Thus, the relationship between children’s ability to say polysyllables and process phonological information needs to be explored. It is also necessary to determine whether the accuracy of children’s polysyllable production correlates with their ability to complete emergent literacy tasks. The body of work presented in this research proposal is designed to close a number of key gaps in the current evidence regarding the relationships between polysyllable speech production, phonological processing, and emergent literacy skills in preschool children who have speech sound disorders. Further, this research proposal outlines a body of work which will provide practical, evidence-based solutions to change how speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals identify and engage preschool-age children at a high risk of literacy difficulties in the years prior to commencing formal literacy education.

December 12, 2013

Output for 2013

As 2013 comes to an end, I have just completed my annual performance management review with my Dean and Head of School. 2013 has been a productive year. This level of productivity has been directly as a result of being able to devote my time to research through my Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. Here is a summary of what I had to report
Research output (full publication list is here)
  • 6 book chapters (1 submitted, 3 accepted for publication, 2 published in 2013)
  •  25 journal articles (peer review) (7 submitted, 7 accepted for publication, 11 published in 2013)
  • 1 journal article (editorial review) (1 accepted for publication)
  •  26 conference presentations (5 invited, 21 peer reviewed presentations in 2013) 
  • Charles Sturt University Vice Chancellor’s Research Supervision Excellence Award (individual)
  • Speech Pathology Australia Elizabeth Usher Memorial Award 
Research grants
  • McLeod, S., Baker, E. M., McCormack, J. M., Wren, Y. E. &  Roulstone, S. E. (2013-2015). A sound start: Innovative technology to promote speech and pre-literacy skills in at-risk preschoolers (DP130102545). Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant.
  •  McLeod, S., Wren, Y., Baker, E., McCormack, J., Crowe, K., Masso, S., & Roulstone, S. (2013-2015). First-phase support for preschool children with speech and phonological awareness difficulties in NSW DEC preschools. New South Wales Department of Education and Communities Grant.
  • McLeod, S. (2009-2013). Speaking my language: International speech acquisition in Australia. Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (FT0990588)
I have published 6 issues (642 pages) in 2013 in my role as editor of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. I have been editor of IJSLP for 9 years. My role as editor concludes at the end of 2013; however, I will have finalised issues 1-3 for 2014 by the end of my term.

Students and ex-students:
  • Jane McCormack came second in international Pursuit Award for best PhD in childhood disability 
  • Kate Crowe received an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Student Research Travel Award 
  • Kate Crowe (PhD) and Hannah Wilkin (Hons) are graduating in December
  • Sarah Verdon received a RIPPLE travel scholarship
  • Sarah Masso received an APA PhD scholarship
  • Suzanne Hopf received a CSU PhD scholarship
International e-profile
Thank you to everyone who has collaborated with and inspired me during 2013. The most important test of this work is the difference this makes in the lives of children with speech and language difficulties.

December 10, 2013

Australian government inquiry into the social and economic impact of communication and swallowing disorders

Yesterday, the Australian government announced that the Senate Community Affairs References Committee will conduct an inquiry into the social and economic impact of communication and swallowing disorders.The Senate will consider the following questions
  1. the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and swallowing difficulties in Australia;
  2. the incidence of these disorders by demographic group (paediatric, Aboriginal and Torres Islander people, people with disabilities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities);
  3. the availability and adequacy of speech pathology services provided by the Commonwealth, state and local governments across health, aged care, education, disability and correctional services;
  4. the provision and adequacy of private speech pathology services in Australia;
  5. evidence of the social and economic cost of failing to treat communication and swallowing disorders; and
  6. the projected demand for speech pathology services in Australia.
Read the official Handsard transcript here.

Speech Pathology Australia has been lobbying for this to occur over the past 3 years. This is an enormous step towards national recognition of the needs of Australians with communication and swallowing disorders.

December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela's legacy

The passing of Nelson Mandela is a significant moment in world history. In 2010 I transited through South Africa on the first ever Nelson Mandela day. As soon a the Johannesburg airport staff told people of the day, weary travelers' faces would smile. The airport displayed a larger than life statue of Nelson Mandela made of beads. He was larger than life and his concern for all people will remain as an enduring legacy. Here is one of his comments that I think is very important: 
"As the years progress one increasingly realises the importance of friendship and human solidarity. And if a 90-year-old may offer some unsolicited advice on this occasion, it would be that you, irrespective of your age, should place human solidarity, the concern for the other, at the centre of the values by which you live." - Lecture in Kliptown, Soweto, July 12, 2008.
Read more:
At Johannesburg airport in 2010

December 6, 2013

Charles Sturt University Postgraduate Research Scholarship - Congratulations Suzanne

Suzanne Hopf is undertaking her PhD with me while living in Fiji. Her CSU profile is here.
Yesterday she found out that she has been awarded a Charles Sturt University Postgraduate Research Scholarship from 2014. Her research is addressing speech and language acquisition of children in Fiji. Fijian children learn and use many languages at home, school, and in the community including Bauan Fijian, English, and Fiji Hindi. There is limited support in Fiji for children with speech and language difficulties. Suzanne's research advocates for these children.

December 5, 2013

Thank you Felicity

This year Felicity McKellar has worked as my research assistant. She has assisted me with so many tasks, and has truly increased my productivity. She has provided support for data entry, literature searching, creation of research stimuli, video editing, manuscript editing, and so many other things. She worked with A/Professor Jane Mitchell at the beginning of each week, then worked with me each Wednesday/Thursday.  We took Felicity out to lunch to thank her for her important contribution to our research. We wish Felicity well for her music studies in 2014.
Jane Mitchell, Felicity McKellar, Sharynne McLeod

December 2, 2013

Over 20,000 visits to the Multilingual Children's Speech website

Here are the summary statistics from Google analytics for the past 12 months for the Multilingual Children's Speech website (

Month - Number of hits - Top countries
Nov, 2012 - 4,363 - US, Slovenia, The Netherlands, UK, Japan
Dec, 2012
- 3,222 - US, Australia, Canada, Germany
Jan, 2013
- 1,095 - US, Australia, France, UK, Canada, Singapore
Feb, 2013
- 1,063 - US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Thailand
Mar, 2013
- 1,254 - UK, US, Netherlands, Australia, Slovenia
Apr, 2013
- 1,215 - Australia, US, New Zealand, Ireland, Czech Republic
May, 2013
- 1,018 - Australia, US, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, India
Jun, 2013
- 936 - Australia, US, Italy, Indonesia, India
Jul, 2013
- 827 - Australia, US, Canada
Aug, 2013
- 1,029 - Canada, Australia, US, India
Sept, 2013
- 1,101 - US, Canda, Australia, Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland
Oct, 2013
- 1,754 - US, Australia, Canada, Philippines, UK, Iran
Nov, 2013
- 1,514 - US, Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, UK, Hong Kong

TOTAL = 20,391

Thanks to everyone who has provided information for the site, visited, and used information from the site. This week Dan Given and I will be uploading more information.

November 20, 2013

Launch of Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment

The BESA authors: Liz Peña, Vera Gutiérrez-Clellan, Lisa Bedore, Aquiles Iglesias and Brian Goldstein
The Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment was launched during the ASHA convention after 14 years of development. It is a test of morphosyntax, semantics, phonology, and pragmatics for Spanish-English bilingual children aged 4;0 to 6;11 years. It has been normed on 10 dialects of Spanish and 7 regional US dialects of English for children. Here is the reference:
Peña, E. D., Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. F., Iglesias, A., Goldstein, B. A., & Bedore, L. M. (2014). BESA: Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment. San Rafael, CA: AR-Clinical Publications.

November 19, 2013

Communication choices: Translating research to practice for professionals working with children with hearing loss

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication.
Crowe, K., & McLeod, S., (in press, 2013 November) Communication choices: Translating research to practice for professionals working with children with hearing loss. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
The paper was submitted as a "clinical insight" paper and presents a translational review for speech-language pathologists of research undertaken by Kate Crowe during her PhD. Here is the abstract
When children are diagnosed with hearing loss, their families begin making many decisions, including whether their children will use speech or sign, and if they are multilingual, what languages they will use with their children. Parents frequently consult with health and education professionals concerning the best communication pathway for their children and their families. This paper is a translational summary of four studies investigating the communication choices of children (n=406) with hearing loss and their parents (n=792) who were participating in the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study in Australia. Parents reported on the factors that were influential in their decision-making about whether their children with hearing loss would communicate using speech, sign, and/or more than one spoken language. The influences parents reported included advice from professionals, children’s access to speech through audition, children’s intervention experiences, children’s future opportunities, practicalities of communication, and creating a sense of belonging for their children.

A geographical analysis of speech-language pathology services to support multilingual children

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication. 
Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & McDonald, S. (in press). A geographical analysis of speech-language pathology services to support multilingual children, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
This is Sarah's first manuscript that has been accepted within her PhD. Here is the abstract:

The speech-language pathology workforce strives to provide equitable, quality services to multilingual people. However, the extent to which this is being achieved is unknown. Participants in this study were 2,849 practicing members of Speech Pathology Australia and 4,386 children in the Birth cohort of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Statistical and geospatial analyses were undertaken to identify the linguistic diversity and geographical distribution of Australian speech-language pathology services and Australian children. One fifth of services provided by Speech Pathology Australia members (20.2%) were available in a language other than English. Services were most commonly offered in Australian Sign Language (Auslan) (4.3%), French (3.1%), Italian (2.2%), Greek (1.6%), and Cantonese (1.5%). Among 4- to- 5-year-old children in the nationally representative LSAC, 15.3% were regularly spoken to in a language other than English. The most common languages spoken by the children were Arabic (1.5%), Italian (1.2%), Greek (0.9%), Spanish (0.9%), and Vietnamese (0.9%). Despite the relatively high number of multilingual SLP services, there was a mismatch between the location of multilingual services and the languages in which they were offered and the location of, and languages spoken by children. These findings highlight the need for speech-language pathologists, both multilingual and monolingual, to be culturally competent in providing equitable services to all clients regardless of the languages they speak.