February 27, 2015

Year 1 Fijian children's speech, language and literacy

Suzanne Hopf (my PhD student) is in the final phase of collecting data with year 1 students in  Fijian school. She has interviewed and worked with 36 year 1 children, parents, and their teacher. Last year she worked with 40 year 4 children in the same school. We are excited that we will soon be able to commence data analysis to document the skills of these multilingual children.
Suzanne with translator Mrs Salaseini Sauqaqa at the school in Fiji during our Skype meeting

February 25, 2015

Sound Start Study commences the final year of data collection

2015 is the final year of data collection for the Sound Start Study, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. Most of the team were able to meet in Sydney on Wednesday 25th February to plan for the final year of data collection, data analysis, and papers and presentations we will write.
In 2014 there were 584 4- to 5-year-old children who were participants in stage 1 (total of 853 for 2013 + 2014). It is a big project, and we are looking forward to finding out the results of our randomized controlled trial regarding whether Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter is an effective first-phase intervention for preschoolers with speech sound disorders.
Sound Start Study team: Elise Baker, Sarah Masso, Sharynne McLeod, Kate Crowe, Charlotte Howland (Jane McCormack, Yvonne Wren, Sue Roulstone)


February 24, 2015

Child Language Teaching and Therapy editorial board meeting

This evening between 11:30pm and 12:30am I attended (via teleconference) the Child Language Teaching and Therapy editorial board meeting that was held in London. It is interesting to learn about the international reach of the journal, the number of views and downloads, and the impact of podcasts and vodcasts on the number of downloads of a particular journal article.

Footprints in time: Wave 5 report

Sarah Verdon and I were invited to write an article for the Australian Government's report on wave 5 data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. It has just been published, and here is the reference and summary:

McLeod, S., & Verdon, S. (2015). Longitudinal patterns of language use, diversity, support, and competence. In Department of Social Services (Ed.), Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children.  Report from Wave 5 (pp. 66-70). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia.
Indigenous Australian children in Footprints in Time included in the current article were culturally and linguistically diverse. Many were multilingual with some speaking up to seven languages. Most of the children spoke English (with all of the children speaking English by Wave 4). One-fifth of children spoke an Indigenous language, and the percentage slightly increased over the four waves of data. Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family and community experiences, including book reading and telling stories. Almost all primary carers wanted their children to learn an Indigenous language at school in some capacity. Primary carers were concerned about children’s speech and language competence at similar rates as reported for all Australian children. While some children were receiving speech pathology services, others were unable to, or did not plan to access services. Encouraging Indigenous children’s speech and language competence is an important endeavour for families, communities and society to support children to grow up strong.
The full report is here

Speech Pathology Australia national webinar

Today Sarah Verdon and I presented a 90 minute webinar for Speech Pathology Australia titled: Enhancing practice with children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
Details of the webinar are here
Here is the abstract:
This event explores the growing cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian families and what it means for speech pathologists wishing to engage in culturally appropriate practice. The event is designed to support speech pathologists to work with multilingual children. The aim of the event is to promote a holistic and collaborative approach to engaging in effective practice with children and families from diverse backgrounds. General principles and resources for assessment and intervention will be supplemented with specific examples from different languages and contexts.
Here is some feedback we received after the presentation:

“I wanted to pass on my thanks for your accomplished, informative, relevant and seamless presentation. I learned so much. I loved your natural, engaging style, and sharing your experiences in addition to your research and extensive resources.”

February 23, 2015

The 2015 academic year begins

Today was orientation day and the beginning of the 2015 academic year.
This year my PhD students and postdoctoral scholars are:
  • Sarah Masso (PhD)
  • Suzanne Hopf (PhD)
  • Ben Pham (PhD)
  • Helen Blake (PhD)
  • Sarah Verdon (who willl soon submit her PhD and transition to being postdoctoral scholar)
  • Kate Crowe (postdoctoral scholar)
 It was a lovely day to celebrate the commencement of the year with colleagues and commencing students.
Vice Chancellor Andrew Vann, Ben Pham, Sharynne
Brendon, Sharynne, Ben Pham, Dr Graham Daniel
Dr Sandie Wong, Sharynne, Dr Sarah McDonagh

February 13, 2015

Congratulations Sarah Verdon

Sarah Verdon has just received news that she is a finalist in the NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards in the Australian National University Science Leadership Category. Congratulations Sarah!
The winner will be announced on 21st March. The other finalists are: Adrian Dudek, Ethan Butson, and Dr Michael Bowen. More information about the award is here

February 9, 2015

Working near Washington DC at the ASHA headquarters

I am an international representative on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Ad Hoc Committee on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. This week I have been working with the committee at the ASHA headquarters that are located near Washington DC.  The meeting has been very collegial and enthusiastic, generating many plans for resources, presentations, and publications to facilitate ASHA's membership's use of the ICF within speech-language pathology and audiology practice. The day before the meeting I was able to visit the famous places in Washington DC.
ASHA ICF committee: Backrow L-R: Sharynne, Holly Wise (PT), Tammy Hopper, Mary Hildebrand (OT), Lemmietta McNeilly, Pam, Bob Burkard, Sandi Gillam. Front row: Candace Vickers, Janet Brown, Donna Smiley, Jean-Pierre Gagne
Sharynne at ASHA in Rockville
The White House from the Washington Monument
ASHA headquarters: The White House for American speech-language pathologists and audiologists