September 30, 2013

Cantonese collaborations

This week Dr Carol To is visiting us from The University of Hong Kong. Carol and I have enjoyed working together since we met in 2010. This year we published two manuscripts together
  1. To, C. K. S., Cheung, P. S. P., & McLeod, S. (2013). The impact of extrinsic demographic factors on Cantonese speech acquisition. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 27(5), 323-338
  2. To, C. K. -S., Cheung, P. S. -P., & McLeod, S. (2013). A population study of children's acquisition of Hong Kong Cantonese consonants, vowels, and tones. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(1), 103-122.   
We have also submitted another manuscript and are working on other journal articles, conference presentations, and a grant application. Next month, Sarah Verdon, my PhD student, will visit Carol in Hong Kong.
Dr Carol To, Sharynne, Sarah Verdon in Bathurst

September 27, 2013

PhD planning

Suzanne Hopf's PhD aims to address Fijian children's speech, language, and literacy acquisition. To date she has read a lot of literature, has written two journal articles, and has submitted conference presentation abstracts.While she has been Bathurst we have been crafting her PhD: the literature review, aims, and studies. It has been a really productive week.
Creating Suzanne's table of contents
from all of the topics she has written about to date
Walking around Bathurst while talking about PhD plans

September 25, 2013

The Esses

In 2 weeks' time, my home town of Bathurst will transform into a car-racing city. Mt Panorama is famous for its annual car race and Charles Sturt University is situated at the bottom of Mt Panorama, so we can hear the roar of the cars and the crowds. One of the most famous stretches of the track is called "The Esses" because of the tight S-like curves. It occurred to me that with the completion of Kate Crowe's PhD, my current cadre of PhD students are "The Esses": Sarah, Sarah, and Suzanne, with their supervisor: Sharynne. Consequently, they graciously agreed to have a photo on the track!
The Esses: Sharynne, Suzanne, Sarah, and Sarah on Mt Panorama

Faculty of Education Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Forum

This week 77 higher degree by research (HDR) students and staff from the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University met in Bathurst for the HDR Forum. We learned from Dr Brian Hemmings, Subdean of graduate studies, that the faculty has 100 HDR students, with 67 enrolled part time. In 2013 there will be at least 10 graduands and 6 more students have their thesis currently under review, including my PhD student, Kate Crowe.

It was great that I could spend time with all of my current PhD students in the one location. It was the first time that Suzanne Hopf had come to CSU Bathurst (from Fiji) since beginning her PhD. My other PhD students, Sarah Masso and Sarah Verdon, presented their PhD research at the forum.  

On the first day we heard from Professor Sid Bourke from the University of Newcastle who said that in a study of 803 PhD thesis examinations only 12.4% were accepted with no changes, 46.4% required minor changes, 36.3% required major changes, 3.6% were invited to revise to be re examined and 0.1% failed.

We also enjoyed listening to the finals of the 3 minute thesis competition. On the last day, professors from across the Faculty of Education discussed what they wish they knew when they did their PhD. 

Thanks to Lisa McLean and Brian Hemmings for organizing a simulating, supportive, friendly, and informative forum. 

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Sue Thomas and Suzanne Hopf
Sarah Masso presenting information about her PhD
The CSU HDR Forum
Kangaroos looking at us through the windows during the HDR Forum
Spending time with my PhD students: Sarah Verdon, Suzanne Hopf, Sarah Masso

September 20, 2013

ASHA 2014 convention planning committee

This morning, commencing at 2am and ending at 6am (!) I met with the team of people who are planning the 2014 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention. The majority of people were meeting at the ASHA headquarters in the US (commencing12pm their time). It was an informative meeting.

The 2013 convention will be held in November, so the planning for the 2014 convention is well underway even before the 2013 convention has been held. I learned that for the 2013 convention there were 2900+ abstract submissions, more than had ever been received before. Each abstract is reviewed by up to 5 reviewers - so there is a lot of work ahead.

The 2014 convention will be held in Orlando, FL,  November 20-22. Professor Lynn Williams is chairing the speech-language pathology arm of the convention. I am co-chairing the topic "Issues in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations" with Brian Goldstein from LaSalle University. We have a lot of work ahead as we invite our committee, plan the invited sessions, review abstracts, and prepare the program

September 12, 2013

Applying the World Report on Disability to children’s communication

The following manuscript has just been published online

McLeod, S., McAllister, L., McCormack, J., & Harrison, L. J. (2013, in press). Applying the World Report on Disability to children’s communication. Disability and Rehabilitation, doi:10.3109/09638288.2013.833305

Here is the abstract:
Purpose: The World Report on Disability is an important milestone in the recognition of people with disabilities; however, the Report acknowledges that people with communication difficulties may be underrepresented in estimates of disability. Consequently, this article applies the nine recommendations from the World Report on Disability to supporting children’s communication skills. Method: Australia is similar to most Minority World countries since it places high regard on articulate and literate communication. Recent large-scale Australian studies of children with speech, language and communication needs were reviewed to determine prevalence, impact and associated environmental and personal factors. Studies of met and unmet need were reviewed and discussed in relation to legislation and policies. Results: Recent years have seen improvements in the collection of and access to disability data about children’s communication, including the involvement of children in research about the impact of communication difficulties on their lives. The prevalence of speech and language impairment in children is high and is associated with poorer educational and social outcomes at school-age. Significant unmet need for services was noted, and there were differences in health, education and disability policies regarding access to services. Conclusions: Updated legislation, policies and practices are needed to more effectively support access to services to support children’s communication across health, education and disability sectors.
Implications for Rehabilitation
  • There is a high prevalence of speech and language impairment in Australian children.
  • Childhood speech and language impairment (and associated communication disability) can impact educational, social, behavioural and occupational outcomes throughout life.
  • Many Australian children do not have sufficient access to targeted services (including speech-language pathology) to ameliorate the impact of their communication disability.
  • Formulation of a national strategy to support children children’s communication is required.
Keywords: Communication, disability, ICF, ICF-CY, language, speech, World Health Organization, World Report on Disability

Figure 1. Drawings created by 4- to 5-year-old children with speech impairment in response to being asked to draw themselves talking to someone. These examples are of drawings that accentuated the listener’s ears, and many of these examples also demonstrate the listener or speaker leaning towards the other, possibly to facilitate understanding of the spoken message. Copyright 2012 by S. McLeod, L. McAllister, J. McCormack and L. J. Harrison. Reprinted with permission.

Congratulations Kate #3

Typically I do not include non-work related posts in this blog, but to show that my students have work-life balance, and to keep the "Congratulations Kate" blog postings going, I need to announce that last night Kate was named the Macquarie Ice Skating Club Champion (Ladies Silver) for 2013. She will compete in the national championships soon, and next year plans to compete in Germany. Congratulations Kate!

September 6, 2013

June - August 2013 Summary

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

During June, Sharynne volunteered for two weeks at Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Vietnam, lecturing in the speech sound disorders class, and delivering a professional development lecture to graduate and student speech therapists. She also took the opportunity to improve her grasp of the complex Vietnamese language and assisted Dr Ly Kha Nguyen, a phonetics and linguistics lecturer at the University, to analyse data of typical Vietnamese speech acquisition in over 1,000 children in Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding areas.

In late June, Sharynne attended the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, where she co-presented a range of papers with her students and colleagues. She delivered the prestigious Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture, and received the Elizabeth Usher Award for 2013 which was presented at the conference.

Sharynne travelled to Vancouver, Canada, in August, to present lessons learned from her Future Fellowship in an invited presentation: Children’s speech development in many languages: Strategies for telling the world what we have learned. She presented to the Knowledge Mobilization for an International Crosslinguistic Study of Children’s Speech Development Meeting at the University of British Columbia. The Meeting brought together 60 people from around the world who have been involved in an international study of children’s speech development.

Next stop was Anadolu University in Turkey, to meet with researchers, deliver an invited presentation, and work with speech-language pathologists to review the Turkish version of the International Speech Screen.

Researchers from the Sound Start research project team headed to the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit in the UK in late August to share information about the project, analyse data, plan future data collection, and meet with colleagues.

The team then travelled to Turin, Italy, to attend the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) World Congress. Sharynne chaired four sessions and co-presented several papers. During the Congress, the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology’s (of which Sharynne is Editor) scientific forum on the World Report on Disability was profiled. Sharynne was elected a member of the IALP Board for the next three years.
For more information, please visit Sharynne’s blog: Speaking my languages.
Presenting the Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture, June 2013

September 3, 2013

Congratulations Kate #2

Kate Crowe has just learned that she has been awarded an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Student Travel Award to attend the 2013 convention in Chicago in November. The award letter stated: 
This award is given to the highest-rated ASHA Convention papers—with a student as first author— in each of the 26 topic categories. The purpose of the SRTA is to highlight the research activities of students and encourage careers in science and research.
The award includes free conference registration and a small stipend to cover some of the travel costs. Congratulations Kate! This conference attracts over 12,000 delegates and there were 2900+ abstracts submitted in 2013.

Congratulations Kate #1

On Monday 2nd September Kate Crowe presented an invited keynote address at the Australian and New Zealand Leaders in Deaf Education (ANZLDE) Summit held at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney. The presentation was based in her PhD research into multilingual and multimodal children with hearing loss.

Working on Jamaican data in Italy

After the IALP conference in Turino, Karla Washington (from University of Cincinnati) and I headed to Firenze to work on data analysis protocols for data we collected in Jamaica during January. We prepared conference abstracts and began writing two journal articles. It was a productive 3 days.
Sharynne and Karla working on the terrace in Florence