October 31, 2014

Normative data for the Intelligibility in Context Scale

Over the past few months Kate Crowe, Ameneh Shahaeian and I have been analysing parent-reported data about 804 Australian preschoolers regarding the Intelligibility in Context Scale. We have determined that for typically developing children the mean ICS score was 4.4 (SD = 0.7) of a possible total score of 5. Children’s speech was most intelligible to their parent, followed by their immediate family, friends, and teachers, and was least intelligible to strangers. Significant differences in scores were identified based on sex and age, but not socioeconomic status or the number of languages spoken. There were significant differences in scores between children whose parents had concerns about their child’s speech (M = 3.9) and those who did not (M = 4.6). The ICS had high internal consistency (α =.94), test-retest reliability, and criterion validity. We hope that this manuscript will be published in a journal some time in the future.
Kate Crowe, Ameneh Shahaeian and Sharynne McLeod

October 30, 2014

Success: Research Grants Council of Hong Kong

Carol To recently informed me of the success of our grant submission:
To, C. K-S., Cheung, K. Y., Law, T., Lee, K. Y. S., McLeod, S., & Ng, M. L. (2014-2015). 利用存活分析調查構音問題的自然史預後及誘發因素的研究 [Investigating prognosis and risk factors of speech sound disorder: A natural history study using a survival analysis approach]. General Research Fund, Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, China (GRF 17409214)

Here is the abstract:
Speech sound disorder (SSD) is a prevalent childhood communication disorder and forms a significant caseload of speech-and-language-therapy services in Hong Kong (To, Law & Cheung, 2012). SSD in preschool children can be persistent and may lead to long-term literacy difficulties. Emerging evidence indicates possible speech processing deficits that underlie SSD and later reading disorder. At the other end of the spectrum, a sizable subgroup of children originally demonstrates speech problems outgrow their speech errors without clinical attention and follow the typical growth trajectory in later years. Previous studies using simple correlation and the logistic regression have successfully identified risk factors that are significantly associated with the occurrence of SSD. However, these studies did not include time aspect and did not address the speech processing problems which can explicate different presentations of SSD, i.e., transient and persisting SSDs. Given the large variability in the growth trajectory of speech development and its disorder, previous studies may not provide much strong evidence on prognosis. This current study will employ a research technique of the survival analysis with the use of Cox's regression model to investigate the evolution of speech sound development along with children’s speech processing ability in those with SSD. The statistical analysis method is particularly for longitudinal designs and has taken into account the major problem of subject drop due to lost to follow up. We recruit Cantonese-speaking preschoolers who demonstrate the concern of speech problems without other known developmental problems in Hong Kong. To achieve adequate statistical power for analysis, 76 preschoolers with SSD aged at 5 years old will be recruited at the baseline using a validated parental questionnaire. Children who fit the inclusion criteria will be reassessed at a 6-month interval for a period of 2 years or until they master their sound inventory. Besides the child-related and family risk factors, the child’s speech processing ability will also be investigated in the present study. At the theoretical level, the findings result from the present study on the speech processing ability may dissect possible points of processing constraint in children with persisting SSD. At a clinical level, such a predictive model can contribute towards the evidence for speech-language therapists (SLTs) to better predict outcomes and estimate prognosis for children with SSD, and to decide on the appropriate treatment options. This will eventually lead to improved clinical estimation of prognosis SSD and better allocation of resources to early intervention provision.


October 29, 2014

Collaborative Research Network focus on Indigenous children

Over the past three days members of the Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network came from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Dubbo to meet in Bathurst. Guest presenters were Dr Jean Phillips (QUT), Professor Jeannie Herbert (CSU), Fiona Skelton and Deborah Kikkawa from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, Department of Social Services in Canberra. We learned a lot from these presenters and planned future research projects and grant applications.
L-R: Sue Grieshaber, Linda Harrison, Felicity McArdle, Sarah Verdon,
Kate Williams, Deborah Kikkawa, Fiona Skelton, Sharynne McLeod

The contribution of the ICF-CY to working with children with SSD

The following book chapter has been published:
McLeod, S. (2015). The contribution of the ICF-CY to working with children with SSD. In C. Bowen Children’s speech sound disorders (2nd ed.) (pp. 5-7). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 
Information about the book is here.
The impressive list of contributors within this book is here.

October 25, 2014

Useful resources on the web

Here are some useful resources I have learned about recently:

October 24, 2014

Our PhD community

My PhD students live in many different places, but are frequently in contact via email, Skype, and other electronic means of communication. Over the past few weeks we have had the pleasure of Kate Crowe (post doc) and Sarah Masso (PhD student) visiting Bathurst to work on data analysis and writing. Ben Pham and Sarah Verdon (PhD students who live in Bathurst) had time to share ideas and enjoy the company of our visitors. These are very productive times for us all.
Kate Crowe, Sarah Verdon, Ben Pham, Sharynne McLeod
Sarah Verdon, Ben Pham and Sarah Masso learning about PHON

October 7, 2014

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Ad Hoc Committee on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

Last week I was invited to be one of two international members on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Ad Hoc Committee on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The committee comprises eight members and is charged with applying the ICF framework to goal setting and outcomes measurement, and helping ASHA members focus on function by advising, providing input, reviewing, and promoting the products and activities. I am honoured to have been invited and am looking forward to undertaking this important international role during 2014 and 2015.

Where to write a book (continued)

Writing has continued with two books being close to submission to the publishers. Last week I was writing and editing chapters while on leave at the beach!
Writing by the beach
Here is a previous post on the topic.