November 28, 2015

Yvonne Wren's visit to Bathurst

Yvonne Wren has spent almost a week visiting Bathurst as part of our ARC Discovery Grant (Sound Start Study). It has been a pleasure to share the sunshine and kangaroos - and to have so much time together to talk, plan, work, and write. One of the exciting moments of the visit was the team's submission of our Sound Start Study data to the statistician in the UK (Paul White).
We calculated we saw over 100 kangaroos behind the
Charles Sturt University campus (here are 17).

November 27, 2015

Sound Start Study visit to NSW Department of Education Rural and Distance Education Unit

Dr Yvonne Wren from the Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit and University of Bristol visited the NSW Department of Education Rural and Distance Education Unit on Thursday 26th November. She demonstrated the Phoneme Factory software designed for teachers and assistants to support children with speech sound difficulties. Phoneme Factory consists of two programs:
1.     Phoneme Factory Phonology Screener provides teachers with a tool to individually assess children’s production of speech sounds and to determine if they need additional support (e.g., intervention using the Sound Sorter software, or further assessment and intervention by a speech pathologist)
2.     Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter provides games for children to play to support their speech and phonological awareness skills. The software enables teachers to individualise activities to a child’s particular needs.

The Phoneme Factory software was developed in the UK by Dr Wren and Professor Roulstone. The Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter has been adapted for the Australian context with support from the Rural and Distance Education Unit. It has been trialled in public and private preschools in NSW over the past 3 years in the Sound Start Study in association with researchers from Charles Sturt University (Professor Sharynne McLeod, A/Prof Jane McCormack, Dr Kate Crowe, Sarah Masso) and The University of Sydney (Dr Elise Baker).
Mike Tom, Kym Knight, David McLeod, Greg Alchin, and Yvonne Wren

November 24, 2015

Congratulations Charlotte on your honours thesis submission

Today Charlotte Howland submitted her honours thesis to The University of Sydney. Charlotte has been working as our research assistant on the Sound Start Study for the past two years while she has been studying speech pathology at The University of Sydney. Her honours thesis incorporated data from the Sound Start Study and she was supervised by Dr Elise Baker, Dr Natalie Munro and myself.
The title of her thesis was: Played, jumped and shouted: Realization of grammatical morphemes by children with phonological impairment.
Charlotte Howland and Dr Elise Baker at The University of Sydney
Charlotte and Sharynne celebrating at CSU

November 23, 2015

Sarah's first book chapter

Today Sarah Masso saw the published version of her first book chapter:
Masso, S. & Baker, E. (2015). Speech: Phonology. In S. McLeod &  J. McCormack (Eds.) Introduction to speech, language and literacy (pp. 134-178). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
There is something special about holding a book you are published in, especially since journal articles are mostly published online now, so the tangible pleasure of touching your own publication is rare.

November 14, 2015

Presentations at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Denver, CO

This year I am not attending the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Denver, CO and it is the first year for many years I am not going. I was the topic co-chair for the Cultural and Linguistic Considerations Across the Discipline Committee so I have a good idea of a number of excellent sessions that will be presented over the next few days. I am involved in  two oral presentations and one poster presentation:

  • Assessment and Analysis of Polysyllables in Children With Speech Sound Disorders: Sarah Masso, Sharynne McLeod, Elise Baker, Jane McCormack Polysyllables may unlock the relationship between speech, language, literacy and phonological processing. Ninety-three preschool children with speech sound disorders were assessed using the Polysyllable Preschool Test. Seven categories of polysyllable error were identified: (1) substitutions, (2) deletions, (3) distortions, (4)additions, (5) alterations in timing, (6)alterations in phonotactics, (7)alterations in sequence.

  • Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale as a Subjective Measure for Jamaican Creole- Speaking Preschoolers: Megan McDonald, KarlaWashington, Sharynne McLeod, Kathryn Crowe, and Hubert Devonish Ninety-eight children aged 3-to-6-years, who use Jamaican Creole and Standard Jamaican English, participated in a study to establish the validity and reliability of the Intelligibility in Context Scale-Jamaican Creole (ICS-JC). The ICS-JC demonstrated good psychometric properties for construct and criterion validity and reliability (internal consistency, test-retest, inter-rater).

  • Cultural and Diagnostic Appropriateness of Standardized Language Assessments for Bilingual-Speakers: Considering Jamaican Creole- Speaking Preschoolers: Lauren Mikhail, Maggie Gilmore, Karla Washington, Sharynne McLeod, Hubert Devonish, Maureen Samms-Vaughan

November 11, 2015

Shared knowledge and mutual respect: Enhancing culturally competent practice through collaboration with families and communities

The following article has just been accepted for publication.  It is the final paper to be published from Sarah's PhD.
Verdon, S., Wong, S., & McLeod, S. (2015, in press November). Shared knowledge and mutual respect: Enhancing culturally competent practice through collaboration with families and communities. Child Language Teaching and Therapy. 
Here is the abstract:
Collaboration with families and communities has been identified as one of six overarching principles to speech and language therapists’ (SLTs’) engagement in culturally competent practice with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (Verdon et al., 2015a). The aim of this study was to describe SLTs’ collaboration with families and communities when engaging in practice to support the speech, language and communication of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The study also aimed to identify the benefits and tensions related to such collaborations and to describe opportunities for SLTs to enhance their cultural competence through engagement with families and communities. The current study drew upon three data sources collected during the Embracing Diversity – Creating Equality study: field notes, narrative reflections by the researcher, and semi-structured interviews with SLTs. This study was conducted in 14 international sites across five countries (Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy and the US) representing a diverse range of cultural and practice contexts. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT, Engeström, 1987) was used as both an heuristic framework though which the study was conceptualised and as a tool for analysis to describe the varied nature of collaboration in different cultural contexts, the benefits of collaborating with families and communities, and the tensions that can arise when engaging in collaborative practice to support multilingual children’s learning and education. The results illuminate the importance of SLTs’ collaboration with families in order to gain an understanding of different cultural expectations and approaches to family involvement, and to build partnerships with families to work towards common goals. Collaboration with communities was highlighted as important for its ability to both facilitate understanding of children’s cultural context and build respectful, reciprocal relationships that can act as a bridge to overcome often unspoken or invisible tensions arising in cross-cultural practice. The findings of this study highlight opportunities for professionals involved in supporting children’s development to enhance the cultural competence of their practice through engagement with families and communities.