April 30, 2014

Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists Study Day

Today I was an invited speaker at the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists Study Day in Dublin. There were over 100 speech and language therapists from Ireland in attendance. The order of presentations and presenters were:

  • “Multilingual Children with Speech and Language Disorders” by Prof Helen Grech (Malta)
  • Resources for Supporting Multilingual Childrenby Prof Sharynne McLeod (Australia)
  • “Exposing our talents” by Prof Pamela Enderby (UK)
  • “Multilingual Speech and Language Disorders, Assessment Issues” by Prof Lilly Cheng (USA)
During my presentation I provided a hyperlinked handout so that people could click on and explore  resources from the Multilingual Children's Speech website during the presentation. The tweets posted during the presentation suggested that people enjoyed this style.
The IASLT have been so welcoming and generous. They have hosted our IALP meeting, and have ensured we leave with a high regard for Irish food and hospitality. It was also a great chance to catch up with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin, NIU Gallway, and University College Cork.
Anne Healy (IASLT), Helen Grech, Pam Enderby, Sharynne McLeod, Lilly Cheng, Jonathan Linklater (IASLT)
Fiona Gibbon (University College Cork), Clare Carroll (NIU Gallway), Sharynne McLeod, Rena Lyons (NIU Gallway)

IALP supports the International Communication Project

The board members of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics took time during our 2-day board meeting to discuss our involvement with the International Communication Project. As part of the discussion we each wrote a speech bubble about the importance of communication. They were written in a range of languages including Dutch, Italian, Arabic, Maltese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Swedish.
Some speech bubbles (and translations) read:
  • "Silence is not always golden. Communication is not a luxury"
  • "CommUnication involves You and I"
  • "We come together when we communicate"
  • "Communication is a privilege that everyone should enjoy"
  • "I could not think of a more meaningful job"
  • "I love to help people with communication disorders"
  • "Communication facilitates access to the soul"
  • "Communication is a human right"

April 29, 2014

Board meeting of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics

I am in Dublin for a 2 day Board meeting of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics. IALP has consultative status with UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, ECOSOC and CIOMS. There is a full agenda, including preparations for the IALP convention to be held in Dublin in 2016 and discussions about the International Communication Project. During the meeting the new IALP website was launched. The most recent IALP News details the election of the board and provides information about the 2013 congress held in Turin.
IALP Board members
Citywest Hotel, Dublin - site of the IALP board meeting and IALP congress in 2016
IALP board meeting

April 26, 2014

Visiting Trinity College, Dublin

Provost George Salmon
When traveling I enjoy visiting universities, so while in Dublin I had to visit Trinity College. Trinity College was founded over 400 years ago. As well as being an important university, it is famous for the Old Library containing the Book of Kells, a 9th century illustrated manuscript of the four gospels of the Bible. The long room of the Old Library houses over 200,000 books from the 14th-19th century - and at 1pm each day people are able to request and read books from the collection. Trinity College is also famous for some of its alumni including Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett. One story that interested me was that the Provost Professor George Salmon finally agreed to sign a document allowing women to study at Trinity College in 1904. It is said that he signed with his hand, but not with his heart. Later that year, he died, and his grave is near the back entrance of the College, where the women students passed as they entered. Now the women students can enter in the front gate, and make up 62% of the student population.
Books in the Old Library
The Book of Kells (facsimile)
Sharynne in the Long Room of the Old Library


April 22, 2014

Supporting Fijian children’s speech, language, and literacy: PhD endorsement

Today Suzanne Hopf successfully presented her PhD proposal at her endorsement session. Her proposal was titled: Supporting Fijian children’s speech, language, and literacy. A summary of her 102 page proposal document is below. The endorsement session was conducted via Adobe connect across 2 countries and 5 sites (in typical CSU fashion). Suzanne presented from Fiji, the session was chaired by Brian Hemmings in Wagga Wagga, with panel members in Sydney, Bathurst, and Melbourne, and audience members on computers in other sites. Her proposal was heralded as "very impressive" and will benefit children of Fiji. We all wish Suzanne well with the next phases of her PhD.

Children in Fiji are much like children elsewhere in the world, in that, they contribute to, and have obligations to, the communities in which they live; and, when given the opportunity to, they have potential to learn and participate in a diverse range of activities in their everyday lives. However, as a consequence of being born in Fiji, a Majority World Country, much of Fijian children’s opportunities and experiences are unique to the context in which they live. Unfortunately, we know little about these children or their context. What we do know is that Fijian children are a heterogeneous group. They are multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual. How these factors, and others, interact to influence development and create the daily experience of Fijian children, including participation in school life, remains much of a mystery. How disability influences these experiences even more so.
This study, through the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health - Child and Youth version (ICF-CY, World Health Organization, 2007) as an overarching conceptual framework,  aims to demystify one critical area of Fijian children’s development; namely, the language factors that may influence a Fijian child’s educational outcomes.  Through, firstly describing Fijian children’s multilingual oral language and literacy usage and proficiency in a range of contexts (home, school, community) at two critical junctures of their primary school journey (year 1 entry and after 3 years of English instruction); and, secondly describing the availability and accessibility of supportive services to help Fijian children on that journey, the author will work to achieve 8 aims.

Aim 1
. To describe multilingual Fijian children’s spoken and written language use at school; and, to determine whether there are differences in language usage between children’s school year, geographic location, and home language.
Aim 2
. To describe multilingual Fijian children’s spoken and written language proficiency at school as reported by children and teachers; and, to determine whether there are differences in language proficiency between children’s school year, geographic location, and home language.
Aim 3
. To describe multilingual Fijian children’s speech, language and literacy proficiency during direct assessment in English; and, to determine whether there are differences in that proficiency between children’s school year, geographic location, and home language.
Aim 4
. To determine the correspondence between direct assessment and reported (child, caregiver, teacher) measures of Fijian children’s speech, language and literacy proficiency in English.
Aim 5­
. To determine risk and protective factors for speech, language and literacy difficulties.
Aim 6
. To determine the current and historical services available to support Fijian children’s multilingual oral language and early literacy development.
Aim 7
. To determine facilitators and barriers to service development for people with speech, language, and communication needs in Fiji.
Aim 8
. To describe the beliefs, attitudes and support for Fijian children with speech language and literacy needs as identified by members of the Fijian community.
To achieve these aims, two studies will be undertaken (each will generate a number of papers as outlined in tables 9 and 11). The studies will focus on recording four perspectives (children, caregivers, teachers, and community members) using mixed methods of investigation (quantitative and qualitative). Together both studies will create a more complete picture of the speech, language and literacy skills of Fijian children from the home context, gained within the classroom context, and applied within the broader community context. Study 1 (papers 1 to 4) will seek information from students, caregivers and educators about children’s multilingual speech, language and literacy skills in the educational context, in addition to, quantifying these skills, through direct assessment, upon school entry (year 1, age 6) and after three years of classroom-based English language instruction (year 4, age 9). Outcomes of study 1 will provide an overview of how Fijian children’s context influences their speech, language and literacy performance.  Study 2 (papers 5 to 7) will look outside the educational context to provide a record of societal expectations of, and beliefs about, speech, language and literacy proficiency in Fiji. Investigations performed within study 2 will inform our understanding of current and historical Fijian practices concerning the community supports provided to Fijian children with a range of speech, language and literacy skills and outline the preferred methods for intervention with this population.
 
In achieving these aims, a profile of Fijian children’s speech, language and literacy skills will emerge, based on the framework of the ICF-CY (WHO, 2007). This profile will create a picture of Fijian children’s typical speech, language and literacy development expected at two critical points of entry into Fijian education: upon school entry, and three years later, when English language instruction changes from “second language instruction” to the “language of classroom instruction”. Additional data collection from the Fijian community, will inform how contextual factors influence these children’s skills and their subsequent educational outcomes. New data gained in these studies will add to the historical information on Fiji, its many languages and how the teaching of these is approached within the education system, as outlined in the following literature review of this proposal. Such an understanding will help to inform future teaching and clinical practices and Fijian education policy development.

Sound Start update

Data collection for the Sound Start project has finished for the first term of the 2014 school year. So far Kate Crowe and Sarah Masso have recruited 23 sites and collected 505 stage 1 caregiver screening questionnaires. In addition, they have already completed Stage 2 assessments with six children from a total of 89 children who are eligible. There is one more week of school holidays before term 2, and stage 2 and 3 assessments begin. Thanks Kate, Sarah, and Charlotte (our research assistant) for all of your hard work so far.

April 21, 2014

Page proofs

Kate Crowe has just received the page proofs for her final paper of her PhD:
Crowe, K., McLeod, S., McKinnon, D. H., & Ching, T. Y. C. (in press, February 2014). Speech, sign, or multilingualism for children with hearing loss: Quantitative insights into caregivers’ decision-making. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
We look forward to seeing this paper published soon.

Reconceptualising practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: People, practicalities, and policy

The following paper has just been accepted for publication. It is part of Sarah Verdon's PhD - and is the first publication to use the Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) within speech pathology. 
Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & Wong, S. (2014, in press April). Reconceptualising practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: People, practicalities, and policy. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Here is the abstract: 
Background: The speech and language therapy profession is required to provide services to increasingly multilingual caseloads. Much international research has focused on the challenges of speech and language therapists’ (SLTs) practice with multilingual children. 
Aims: The aim of this paper is to draw on the experience and knowledge of experts in the field to (i) identify aspirations for practice (ii) propose recommendations for working effectively with multilingual children with speech sound disorders and (iii) reconceptualise understandings of and approaches to practice. 
Methods and Procedures: Fourteen members of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech met in Cork, Ireland to discuss SLTs’ practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders. Panel members had worked in 18 countries and spoke nine languages. Transcripts of the 6-hour discussion were analysed using Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a heuristic framework to make visible the reality and complexities of SLTs’ practice with multilingual children. 
Outcomes and Results: A number of aspirations and recommendations for reconceptualising approaches to practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders were identified. These include: increased training for working with multilingual children and their families, working with interpreters and transcribing speech in many languages, increased time and resources for SLTs working with multilingual children and use of the ICY-CY to ensure holistic consideration of individual children’s functioning and participation in context.
 Conclusions and Implications: The reality and complexities of practice identified in this paper highlight that it is not possible to formulate and implement one ‘gold standard’ method of assessment and intervention for all multilingual children with speech sound disorders. It is possible, however, to underpin practice with a framework that ensures comprehensive assessment, accurate diagnosis, and effective intervention. This paper proposes that by working towards the aspirations of the Expert Panel, SLTs can be empowered to facilitate appropriate services for multilingual children regardless of the context in which they live and the languages they speak.

April 16, 2014

Interest in "A review of 30 speech assessments in 19 languages other than English"

A few weeks ago the following manuscript was accepted for publication and was documented in a blog post.

McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. (in press, March 2014). A review of 30 speech assessments in 19 languages other than English. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Since it has been published online with AJSLP, we have had numerous requests for copies from all over the world. In addition, a few people have written about the paper in their blogs:

April 15, 2014

Linguistic diversity among Australian children in the first five years of life

The following manuscript was accepted for publication yesterday:
Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & Winsler, A. (2014, in press April). Linguistic diversity among Australian children in the first five years of life. Speech, Language, and Hearing. 

The manuscript forms part of Sarah Verdon's PhD. Here is the abstract:
Like many English-dominant nations, Australia has a rich history of cultural and linguistic diversity. This diversity is the result of a melting pot of languages including languages spoken by Australia’s Indigenous people and languages added by European settlement and subsequent waves of migration from various parts of the world. Despite this rich history of linguistic diversity, little has been documented on the languages spoken by Australian children. The first three waves of data from 5,107 children in the nationally representative Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were analyzed to consider language diversity among Australian children in the first 5 years of life. Data were collected from birth at two-year intervals. At 0 to 1 years of age, 10.8% of children were reported to have a language other than English used as the main language in their home. When children were 2- to 3-years-old, 16.7% were spoken to and/or used a language other than English, and 15.3% were spoken to and/or used a language other than English at 4 to 5 years of age. The most common languages spoken by Australian children at age 4 to 5 years after English were Arabic, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Personal and environmental factors significantly associated with use of a language other than English at 4 to 5 years were parental use of a language other than English, and being a first- or second-generation migrant.

April 10, 2014

ASHA 2014 convention: The review process begins

I am co-chair of the Cultural and Linguistic Considerations Across the Discipline committee for the 2014 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention. This week there were over 2900 abstracts submitted for the conference. Our task is now to allocate reviewers and work out the scheduling.