June 24, 2014

SUMMARY - March - June 2014

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

In February, RIPPLE researcher and ARC Future Fellow, Sharynne McLeod, and her colleagues, uploaded seven submissions to the Australian Senate Inquiry into the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia. Their submissions were also highlighted in a recent CSU Media release: Speech pathology services urgently needed. Speech Pathology Australia’s submission to the Inquiry referenced the work Sharynne has undertaken as part of her Future Fellowship, as well as the work her team has completed with ARC Discovery funding.

Sharynne has continued her work with data from Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. In March, Sharynne, along with her RIPPLE-sponsored PhD student, Sarah Verdon, presented their work to the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) National Indigenous Studies conference held in Canberra. Their presentation was titled Celebrating Indigenous Australian children’s languages: Diversity, competence and support. Sharynne and Sarah were also asked to write a paper for the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services annual report on the LSIC, on longitudinal patterns of language use, diversity, support and competence. As a result, both researchers have participated in a number of radio and print interviews.
In April, Sharynne travelled to Ireland for a two-day board meeting of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics. She was also an invited speaker at the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists Study Day in Dublin, where she spoke on Resources for supporting multilingual children. Sharynne then travelled to Exeter in the UK to give a presentation to the South West Specific Speech Sound Impairment Clinical Excellence Network, entitled Assessing children’s speech: The big picture.

The Speech Pathology Australia National Conference was held in Melbourne during May, and Sharynne, along with three of her PhD students—Sarah Verdon,  Sarah Masso, and Suzanne Hopf—presented a range of papers, focusing on the speech of children with cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds, particularly within the Asia Pacific region. The team took out two awards: see Awards and Success Stories on p. 3.

In June, Sharynne and her PhD students—Sarah Verdon, Sarah Masso and Suzanne Hopf—travelled to Stockholm, Sweden, to present papers at the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association conference. While in Stockholm, Sharynne and Sarah Verdon also hosted a meeting of the International Expert Panel of Multilingual Children’s Speech on 11 June. The panel members spoke 16 different languages in a professional capacity and had worked in 25 different countries (including Slovenia, Iceland, Israel, and Jamaica). She then travelled to Iceland in late June to present papers to members of the Icelandic Association of Speech and Language Therapists (Félag talmeinafræðinga á Íslandi), where she focused on multilingual children’s speech acquisition, assessment, and intervention.

Further evidence of the international impact of Sharynne’s research is her invitation to provide feedback on the World Health Organization’s revisions to the International Classification of Diseases—for their eleventh revision which is due to be published in 2017. Sharynne was invited to critique the draft document on developmental speech disorders, and has offered recommendations from the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, as well as from other work she has undertaken.
For further information and regular updates, please visit Sharynne’s blog: Speaking my languages.
Icelandic Association of Speech and Language Therapists (Félag talmeinafræðinga á Íslandi)