July 23, 2015

PhD publications

The following papers have just been published that have been written as part of Suzanne and Kate's PhDs. Congratulations Suzanne and Kate!

Hopf, S. C., & McLeod, S. (2015). Services for people with communication disability in Fiji: Barriers and drivers of change. Rural and Remote Health, 15, 2863. (Online). Retrieved from http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=2863
Here is the blogpost from when it was accepted for publication earlier this year.

Crowe, K., McLeod, S., McKinnon, D. H., & Ching, T. Y. C. (2015).  Attitudes towards the capabilities of deaf and hard of hearing adults:  Insights from the parents of deaf and hard of hearing children.  American Annals of the Deaf, 160(1), 24–35. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/american_annals_of_the_deaf/v160/160.1.crowe.pdf
Here is the blogpost from when it was accepted for publication in September 2014.

July 21, 2015

CSU Foundation Day

Charles Sturt University Foundation Day is on 22 July. Here is a message from our Vice Chancellor about celebrating our university. The CSU Alumni magazine, Thrive tells many stories that relate to the university's motto: "For the public good".

July 20, 2015

Sound Start Study: CSU School of Teacher Education Brown Bag Seminar

I presented a Charles Sturt University School of Teacher Education Brown Bag Seminar on 20th July. The topic was "Sound Start Study: A large community-based study supporting preschoolers’ speech and pre-literacy skills". A podcast of the event is here:
Here is the abstract:
The Sound Start Study is a large randomized controlled trial funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP1030102545). The three aims are (1) to determine whether a software program, Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter® improves the speech and phonological awareness abilities of preschoolers with speech sound disorders when undertaken in early childhood education settings (2) to determine the relationship between children’s speech errors, pre-literacy, and phonological processing skills and (3) to explore which child- and family-related variables are positively or negatively associated with the rate of change in speech production and pre-literacy status.
The Sound Start Study is being conducted over three years (2013-2015) and there are six stages of data collection per year: (1) screening via parent and teacher questionnaire, (2) face-to-face screening, (3) comprehensive assessment, (4) intervention, (5) immediate post-intervention assessment and (6) delayed post intervention assessment. In the first two years there have been 853 4- to 5-year-old preschool children from 34 early childhood education settings who have participated in stage 1, 197 in stage 2, 95 in stage 3, 86 children have been randomised to either intervention/no intervention across 29 sites in stage 4, 82 children were assessed in stage 5 and 80 in stage 6.
During stage 1 parents and educators completed the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (Glascoe, 2000) documenting their level of concern regarding their children’s/ students’ development. The most common area of concern was children’s “talking and making speech sounds”. The eight other areas were less frequently reported:“behaviour”, “understanding what you say”, “learning preschool/school skills”, “getting along with others”, “learning to do things for him/herself”, “using hands and fingers”, and “using arms and legs”. Overall, more parents and educators were concerned about children’s speech and expressive language skills than any other area. The results underscore the need for services to support children’s speech and language and the importance of assessment and intervention to support children’s transition to school.
Some of the Sound Start Study team:
Elise Baker, Sarah Masso, Sharynne McLeod, Kate Crowe, Charlotte Howland

July 17, 2015

Snow IN Bathurst!

A few days ago I excitedly wrote about snow NEAR Bathurst. Today we awoke to snow IN Bathurst. We enjoyed making Australian and Vietnamese snowmen!
Ben with our Australian and Vietnamese snowmen in Bathurst

July 15, 2015

Meetings in Wagga Wagga

This week I have traveled to Wagga Wagga to attend Academic Senate as well as a Senior Women's Forum dinner. These events are collegial and impress on me of the caliber of CSU leadership.

July 14, 2015

ASHA convention statistics

I have been a committee co-chair for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention this year. I have just learned that there were a total of 3012 papers submitted for consideration and 2601 have been accepted for presentation (1573 of the accepted presentations are posters).  Congratulations to the following students who have had their papers accepted:

  • Sarah Masso (Charles Sturt University) - Masso, S., McLeod, S., Baker, E. & McCormack, J.  Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in children with speech sound disorders.
  • Megan McDonald (University of Cincinnati) - McDonald, M., Washington, K. N., McLeod, S., Crowe, K., Devonish, H. Validation of the intelligibility in context scale as a subjective measure for Jamaican creole-speaking preschoolers.

July 12, 2015

Snow near Bathurst!

During January, when I am having my summer holidays, my northern hemisphere colleagues email me to say that their university is closed due to a "snow day". At the moment, my northern hemisphere colleagues are having their summer holidays and we actually have had snow near (but not in) Bathurst! Ben (my PhD student from Vietnam) and her son enjoyed a new experience playing in the snow together and I have never seen so much snow falling in my life. The university won't be closed due to a snow day - but it is an exciting event for us.
Sharynne in the snow
Ben and her son playing in the snow
Snow near Bathurst

July 11, 2015

Becoming bilingual: Children’s insights about making friends in bilingual settings

The following article was accepted for publication today.
McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. & Theobald, M. (2015, in press July). Becoming bilingual: Children’s insights about making friends in bilingual settings. International Journal of Early Childhood 
Here is the abstract

The majority of the world speaks more than one language yet the impact of learning a second language has rarely been studied from a child’s perspective. This paper describes monolingual children’s insights into becoming bilingual at four time points: two months before moving to another country (while living in Australia), as well as one, six, and twelve months after moving to Germany. The participants were two monolingual English-speaking siblings (a male aged 7- to 8-years and a female aged 9- to 10-years) who subsequently learned to speak German. At each of the four time points, interviews were undertaken with each child using child-friendly drawing and questionnaire techniques. Three themes were identified: (1) the children’s awareness of language competence, (2) inclusion factors, and (3) exclusion factors that influenced friendship formation. The impact of language ability on making friends was a dominant theme that arose across the four time points and was triangulated across data collection methods. The children made friends with others who had similar language competence in German, even though they were younger, and did not share the same first language. Age-matched peers who were more competent in German were less likely to be described as friends. Across all three themes, the playground was highlighted by both children as the key site where becoming bilingual most strongly impacted initiation and negotiation of friendships. Becoming bilingual impacted the children’s friendship formation and socialization opportunities with more competent language users.
"Samantha's" drawing at time 2 (she had just arrived in Germany) when
her new friend could not understand her English
"Samantha's" drawing at time 4 when
she and her friends had learned to speak German

July 9, 2015

Australasian Human Development Association Conference, Wellington, NZ

Today the Australasian Human Development Association conference began in Wellington, New Zealand. During the conference the following symposium will be presented: Supporting the development of children with speech and language difficulties in the early years. Here is the abstract:
The early years of school are an important and challenging transition stage for all children, but for those with speech and language impairment (communication disorder), it may be additionally challenging. Children with expressive and receptive language impairment are likely to have difficulties coping with the academic demands of school and receive poorer ratings of social and emotional competence (Law et al., 2000; McCormack et al., 2011). However, speech and language impairment (communication disorder) is highly prevalent in the early years being identified as the second most prevalent learning need after learning disability (McLeod & McKinnon, 2007). This symposium presents four papers focusing on the identification and support of children with speech and language difficulties in early childhood.  Paper 1 examines the longitudinal development of Teacher-child relationships and school adjustment outcomes among children with and without communication impairments in a large, representative sample of children from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Paper 2 focuses on an investigation of the practices of both Speech and Language Pathologists and Early Childhood Educators when working with children with communication difficulties in early year’s settings. Paper 3 examines relationships between two alternate methods of speech and children’s emergent literacy skills to identify children who may be at greatest risk of later literacy difficulties. Finally, paper 4 describes the language use and language maintenance of multi-lingual children across the early years in a large, representative sample of children from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. 
The papers in the symposium include:
  •  Masso, S. Baker, E., & McLeod, S. The story of the echidna and the calculator: Using children’s pronunciation of polysyllables to gain insight into phonological processing and emergent literacy skills.  
  • Verdon, S., McLeod, S. & Wong, S. Supporting multilingual children’s language development in the early years
  • Harrison, L. J., Wang, C., McLeod, S., & Walker, S. Trajectories of teacher-student relationship quality during primary school in children with and without communication impairment and student outcomes at age 12-13.
The individual papers' abstracts are here.
Presenters (L-R): Catherine Easton, Linda Harrison, Audrey Wang,
Sue Walker, Sarah Verdon, Sarah Masso

International Congress on Education of the Deaf, Athens, Greece

Kate Crowe has just presented a paper at the International Congress on Education of the Deaf in Athens, Greece. Her paper was titled: Spoken language multilingualism and children with hearing loss: Perspectives from parents and professionals. The paper was very well received with not enough seats for the audience (people were standing around the walls and outside the door). The importance of the paper was commented on by members of the audience.
Introduction: The use of more than one language is a necessity of the majority of people in the world, including children with hearing loss. Children with hearing loss who use two or more spoken languages (multilingual children) are a complex group and little is known about their prevalence and development, or how choices are made about their language use.
Parents raising children with hearing loss in multilingual environments need to make informed choices about which language/s to use. Supporting such parents requires an explicit understanding of the factors parents and professionals consider when making these decisions.

Three perspectives were examined. First, the incidence of multilingualism for children (n=406) and their parents (n=792) was explored within a population-based sample of children with hearing loss. Second, parents were consulted regarding their choices about multilingualism and language use for their children. Third, professionals working in education settings with children with hearing loss were consulted about what they feel influence decisions about multilingualism and language choice.
Lower levels of multilingualism were evident in children (13%) compared to their parents (20%). Parents’ decisions were influenced by children’s audiological characteristics, planning for their children’s future academic success, culture and community considerations, and access to intervention and education in appropriate languages.
Australian children with hearing loss used a diverse range of languages and some were multilingual. Parent and professional insights into decision-making about multilingualism and language choice will support the development of appropriate services and supports for families raising children in multilingual environments.

Authors: Kathryn Crowe, Sharynne McLeod, Breda Carty, Teresa Ching, David McKinnon

Introducing Helen Blake - and my current PhD students

Helen Blake, my newest PhD student, has just had her profile added to the CSU Faculty of Education web page: http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/educat/graduate/profiles/helen-blake2

The profiles of my other students are here:

Working on the Vietnamese Speech Assessment in wintery Bathurst

This week Lê Thị Thanh Xuân (Xuân) returned to Bathurst to keep working with Phạm Thị Bền (Bền) and myself on the Vietnamese Speech Assessment. We finalised the word list, selected prototypes for the pictures, created a list of prompts and cues, discussed parent questionnaires, and began developing the protocol for testing. Ben and Xuan also pilot tested the Vietnamese Speech Assessment on 5 adults and a child who spoke different Vietnamese dialects. 
Last time Xuân visited was in autumn (see blog post here). This time it has been winter. In fact one night this week it was -4oC! On one evening we all went iceskating in the outdoor rink set up to celebrate Bathurst's 200th birthday. A fun winter past time - and quite different from what happens in Vietnam. (Bền was saying that children in Ha Noi do not have to attend school if it is going to be below 10oC.)
Sharynne, Xuan and Ben working on the Vietnamese Speech Assessment
Sharynne, Xuan, Grear, Jess, Minh and Ben iceskating in Bathurst

July 7, 2015

ICPLA website and 2016 conference

I am the Vice President of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association. The new website has just been released: http://www.icpla.info/
The next conference will be held in Halifax, Canada on June 15-18, 2016 and the details are here: http://icpla2016.ca/

July 2, 2015

2015 Gerhadt Laves Scholarship winner

Congratulations Suzanne Hopf on winning the 2015 Gerhadt Laves Scholarship.
The annual Gerhardt Laves Scholarship was established by the Australian Linguistic Society to encourage postgraduate researchers into the field of indigenous languages, by helping cover linguistic fieldwork expenses. The scholarship consists of an amount, approximately $2,000, to cover costs (e.g. travel, accommodation, subsistence, consultant's payments, etc.) that the recipient will encounter in undertaking fieldwork. A year's membership of the Australian Linguistic Society is also provided. Suzanne will use this money to cover some of her fieldwork expenses in Fiji. Congratulations Suzanne!
The CSU news release is here