August 30, 2013

International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics Board Membership

At the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) convention in Turin, I was elected as a member of the IALP Board for the next three years. I have just concluded two terms (six years) as a member of the IALP Education in Speech and Language Pathology Committee.

At the closing ceremony I also learned that the 2013 IALP convention had over 980 attendees from 39 countries. There were 252 papers, 271 posters, 56 seminars, and 13 symposia presented.

August 29, 2013

Sound Start meeting in Turin, Italy

During the IALP conference, the Sound Start team met to finalise the intervention protocols. Six of the seven team members were present in Turin, and Elise Baker Skyped with us for 2.5 hours from Australia (until 11:30pm her time!). It was an extremely productive meeting, where theoretical and practical issues were discussed. We are looking forward to the final stage of testing the participants (next week), then beginning the intervention phase (in one month's time).
Sound Start in Italy: Sharynne, Kate, Yvonne, (Elise), Sarah, Sue, Jane
Yvonne and Sarah discuss implementation of the Phoneme Factory software

More images from IALP

Mara Belau (IALP past president), Sharynne, Sarah Masso, Yvonne Wren, Kate Crowe,
Helen Grech (IALP president), Lilly Cheng (IALP president elect)
IALP keynote addresses were in English and translated into Italian
IALP excursion to Reggia Di Venaria Reale (Sarah V, Sarah M, Kate, Karla)
Sharynne with Dominique Weston (University of Sydney) at conference dinner

IJSLP issue on World Report on Disability promoted at IALP

 During the IALP congress, the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology's scientific forum on the World Report on Disability (WRD) was profiled (see here for more details about the issue). The authors of the lead article (Karen Wylie, Lindy McAllister, Bronwyn Davidson, and Julie Marshall) presented two seminars based on the issue, there was a special IALP report on the WRD, and issues of IJSLP were given out for free (hard copy or electronically) to the IALP participants as well.
Lead authors on the WRD scientific forum:
Julie Marshall (UK), Bronwyn Davidson (Australia), Lindy McAllister (Australia), Karen Wylie (Ghana)
Authors on the IJSLP WRD scientific forum from Australia, UK, South Africa, USA, and Ghana
Sharynne McLeod (Editor of IJSLP) with Caroline Purslow (informa) at IALP in Turin, Italy

August 28, 2013

Celebration dinner

CSU VC Research Supervison Award celebration dinner
On 28th August the Charles Sturt University Vice Chancellor presented awards to winners of the VC's award scheme. I was unable to be in Bathurst for the award ceremony, but was able to celebrate the VC's Research Supervision award in Italy at the IALP conference with five of the eight students and ex-students who nominated me: Dr Jane McCormack, Sarah Masso, Dr Karla Washington, Sarah Verdon and Kate Crowe. The students who were unable to join the celebration were Suzanne Hopf, Hannah Wilkin and Nicole Limbrick. It was a lovely occasion - and an honour to be nominated by such a wonderfully talented team.

August 25, 2013

International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics World Congress in Italy

This week I am attending the 29th World Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, in Turin, Italy. There are over 900 delegates attending from around the world. 
Australian and US delegates at IALP
I am chairing four sessions and presenting the following papers:

  1. McLeod, S. Educating SLPs: Building researchers in Australia. Invited presentation in seminar titled Educating SLPs: Different experiences in building researchers.
  2. Crowe K. & McLeod, S. A systematic review of the outcomes of children with hearing loss who use languages other than English
  3. Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. Supporting multilingual children with speech sound disorders: People, practicalities, and policy.

The following papers will be presented in a 2 hour seminar titled Multilingual children’s speech, language, and hearing
  1. McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Bowen, C., International Expert Panel on Mutlilingual Children’s Speech Multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Creation of a position paper by an international expert panel.
  2. Crowe, K., McLeod, S., McKinnon, D. H., Fordham, L., & Ching, T. Y. C. Multilingual children with hearing loss: Factors influencing parents' choice regarding speech, sign, or multilingualism.
  3. Washington, K. N., McLeod, S., Samms-Vaughan, M. & Devonish, H. Considerations during speech and language assessment for bidialectal children in Jamaica.
  4. Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. Patterns of language acquisition, usage, and loss in young multilingual children.
  5. McLeod, S. Quantifying multilingual children's speech across 30 languages: Intelligibility in Context Scale. 
  6. Sam Harding (UK), Carol Westby (US), Sarah Masso (Australia), & Sue Roulstone (UK)

August 24, 2013

Team building

Over the weekend, between our work in Bristol, UK and our conference in Turin, Italy, members of the Sound Start team spent time together in Paris.
Sarah Masso, Jane McCormack, Sharynne McLeod, Kate Crowe
(photographer Cathy Easton)

August 23, 2013

A productive week in Bristol, UK

The Sound Start team have had an extremely productive week visiting the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit (SLTRU). We started the week sharing information about our research projects with the staff and students at SLTRU. The rest of the week we analyzed data, planned future data protocols, and had meetings with Paul White (University of the West of England statistician), Duncan Witham (busythings software developer), and Liz Dymond (North Bristol Trust innovations manager). Professor Sue Roulstone provided tutorials on randomized controlled trials and the history of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter. In the evenings we continued our discussions as we explored Bristol and went on the Gromit trail in support of the Bristol Children's Hospital.

Staff and students at the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit
with their Australian visitors
L to R: Sharynne McLeod, Sarah Masso, Jane McCormack,
Kate Crowe, Paul White (UWE), Sue Roulstone (UWE)
Five of the seven members of the Sound Start Team in Bristol
(will we ever manage a photo with all of us?)
The SLTRU is on the grounds of Frenchay Hospital -
a famous name for many speech pathologists
This Gromit was decorated to celebrate the Bristol (Brizzle) accent

August 15, 2013

New speech research with Turkish children

Today I discussed a collaborative research project with Professor Seyhun Topbaş and Özge Sultan Teker to study Turkish children's speech. We proposed two inter-related projects. One to consider Turkish children's perspectives of their speech by asking them to draw themselves talking s well as using other child-friendly techniques. The second to validate the use of two tools to screen Turkish children's speech. I look forward to working together on these projects.
Sharynne, Özge, and Seyhun

August 14, 2013

Speech and language in Turkey

This week I am visiting Professor Seyhun Topbaş and colleagues at Dilkom, Anadolu University, Eskişehir,  Turkey. Seyhun founded the speech-language pathology program in Turkey, and it is wonderful to finally visit her department. I have known Seyhun for many years and have continually been impressed by her research and ability to develop assessments and interventions for Turkish children.

On Wednesday I gave an invited presentation titled "Children's speech acquisition around the world" then worked with a group of speech-language pathologists to review the Turkish version of the International Speech Screen.
Staff and students who attended the presentation titled
"Children's speech acquisition around the world"

Sharynne with Professor Seyhun Topbaş at Dilkom
Dr Esra Ertan and Prof Seyhun Topbaş in the Student Union Building
View across Eskişehir from Anadolu University
Group therapy room in the Dilkom clinic
Turkish speech and language assessments created at Dilkom

August 9, 2013

Phon: Computer software for analyzing children's speech

Today at the University of British Columbia, Yvan Rose presented an overview of Phon, ( computer software for analyzing children's speech. Children's speech corpora can be transcribed using International Phonetic Alphabet symbols and linked to audio or video data. The resulting transcription can be analyzed and searched. Phon is being used by speech researchers around the world and Yvan supported attendees at the Knowledge Mobilization seminar at UBC to ensure that it was running optimally on their computers.

Phon works in association with the CHILDES database, so that children's speech samples can be uploaded and shared throughout the world (

Future versions of Phon will include acoustic analysis via Praat within the Phon program.

Yvan Rose presenting a paper on Phon and PhonBank

International meeting about speech development at University of British Columbia, Canada

This week I attended a meeting titled: Knowledge Mobilization for an International Crosslinguistic Study of Children's Speech Development, held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The meeting, lead by Professors May Bernhardt and Joe Stemberger has brought together 60 people from across the globe who have been involved in an international study of children's speech development.

The meeting commenced with an international dinner and musical presentations from around the world including First Nations songs, Slovenian dancing, Appalachian fiddle music, English clogging, songs sung in Spanish,  Portuguese, and Slovenian, and Japanese and Australian children's songs. 

The week has included interesting presentations about children's acquisition of Icelandic, Slovenian, French (Manatoba, Quebec, European), Portuguese, Spanish (Spain, Chile, Mexico), Japanese, Korean, Arabic (Kuwait), and German. We learned to apply Phon, speech analysis software to our data (see additional blog entry). I presented an invited session on knowledge mobilization based on my Future Fellowship in a session on dissemination of knowledge. The meeting concluded with clinical applications of the shared international speech data.
Conxita Lleo (University of Hamburg), May Bernhardt (UBC), Sharynne McLeod, Joe Stemberger (UBC)
International Crosslinguistic Study of Children's Speech Development group

Martina Ozbič and Damjana Kogovšek from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenian dancing at the welcome dinner
Hadeel Ayyad (Kuwait University) presenting a paper about Kuwaiti Arabic preschoolers' speech
Sharynne and Þóra Másdóttir (The National Hearing and Speech Institute of Iceland)

Charles Sturt University Research Supervision Excellence award

I received a very welcome email today to indicate that I have been awarded the Charles Sturt University Research Supervision Excellence award. What an honour to receive this award in 2010 and again this year. The students who nominated me checked the eligibility criteria – and discovered that you can receive the award once every three years. CSU has many outstanding research higher degree supervisors, so I am thrilled to receive this award again.

I will not be able to attend the award ceremony due to my travels. However, five of the eight students and ex-students who wrote testimonials for the nomination will be at the congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics - so we will have a happy time celebrating together.

I appreciate the work that the students did to prepare the nomination (initiated by Suzanne Hopf and coordinated by Kate Crowe). My students are amazing people that are a privilege to work with and I am so proud of them all. I also thank my husband and children for their support and friendship towards all of my students – the McLeod family adds so much to my supervision.

August 8, 2013

Children’s speech development in many languages: Strategies for telling the world what we have learned

On 9th August I will present an invited paper titled "Children’s speech development in many languages: Strategies for telling the world what we have learned" to the Knowledge Mobilization for an International Crosslinguistic Study of Children's Speech Development Meeting at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Here is the abstract:
This presentation will outline lessons learned from a 4-year research fellowship titled “Speaking my languages: Multilingual speech acquisition in Australia”. The aims of this fellowship were to: describe Australian children’s multilingualism, consider the association between multilingualism and communication impairment, review and re-imagine international speech-language pathology practices for working with multilingual children, and develop resources for the assessment of multilingual children. Knowledge translation has been an important component of this research. Traditional knowledge translation strategies have included dissemination within books, book chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations. The Multilingual Children’s Speech website ( was created via collaboration with researchers from around the world and includes free resources for speech-language pathologists. Additionally, knowledge translation has been enhanced by using: radio, newspapers, Twitter, blogs, listservs, emails, handouts, and conversations. Participants will be invited to reflect on how knowledge translation strategies can be used to tell the world about the International Crosslinguistic Study of Children’s Speech Development.
Here are some of the weblinks that will support my presentation.
Recent publications
Multilingual Children's Speech website
Special issues of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology