December 29, 2016

Ben's data collection in Viet Nam

Congratulations to Ben Pham who has assessed 96 children (including 8 children under 3;0) using the Vietnamese Speech Assessment in Hai Phong during December. She is now in Ho Chi Minh City to lecture to the speech therapy students at Pham Ngoc Thach University and to assist Xuan Le set up her data collection for children who speak southern Vietnamese.

December 21, 2016

Charles Sturt University 2016

Here is a snapshot of some of the achievements of my university for 2016 that have not been mentioned on my blog:

December 20, 2016

Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services

The following research project, commissioned by Speech Pathology Australia has been approved to commence in 2017:
McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C. & Verdon, S. (2017). Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services.
We will analyse data from Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children to provide information that Speech Pathology Australia can use in their government submissions to support Indigenous Australian children to grow up strong.

December 16, 2016

Sarah Masso's PhD graduation

Today Sarah Masso graduated with her PhD. Her PhD supervisors and family all traveled to Bathurst to celebrate with her. Her PhD was titled: Polysyllable Maturity of Preschool Children with Speech Sound Disorders and the abstract is here. Congratulations Dr Masso! We are all very proud of you.

Dr Sarah Masso with her supervisory team: Dr Audrey Wang, Dr Elise Baker,
Dr Jane McCormack, and Sharynne
Dr Sarah Masso with her proud family and supervisors
It was also a very happy occasion because my son graduated with a BA(Hons) at the same ceremony.
Sharynne with her family, and her son's honours supervisor, Dr Ruth Bacchus

December 15, 2016

Writing grants and journal articles

Even though Christmas is next week, we are in full swing writing grants and journal articles. For example, Sarah Verdon has been visiting Bathurst this week, funded by the Faculty of Arts and Education, to continue writing a grant for submission early in the new year.
Suzanne Hopf met with her supervisors, Sarah McDonagh, Audrey Wang and myself to finalise a paper that she submitted to a journal soon after our meeting yesterday. This was our last meeting with Sarah McDonagh as a staff member of CSU.
Sharynne, Suzanne (Skype), Sarah and Audrey
Sharynne, Sarah and Franklin writing a grant

December 14, 2016

RIPPLE farewells

The Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education will close at the end of 2016. We have had cross-campus farewells to RIPPLE staff, and have celebrated the significant impact of RIPPLE research across the nation and the world.
RIPPLE researchers in Bathurst at the farewell
RIPPLE research fellows: Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Audrey (Cen) Wang,  Dr Helen (Jinjin) Lu,
and early early career researcher Franklin
RIPPLE researchers and staff in Wagga Wagga
RIPPLE researchers in Bathurst: Dr Audrey Wang, Dr Helen Lu, Prof Fran Press,
Franklin, Dr Sarah Verdon, Prof Sharynne McLeod

December 12, 2016

Students' awards

Today I was invited to the CSU Faculty of Arts and Education Research and Graduate Studies Management Committee to discuss the awards success of my honours, PhD, and postdoctoral scholars. My students are outstanding, so it was great to share their success with members of the Faculty. Here are my students' awards (so far):

  • Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship (Crowe, 2016) 
  • Endeavour Research Fellowship (Verdon, 2014; Masso, 2016)
  • Charles Sturt University PhD Write Up Award (Masso, 2016)
  • Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship (Hopf, 2014) 
  • Australian Awards Scholarship (Phạm, 2014-2018) 
  • Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship (McCormack, 2010; Blake, 2016 – shortlisted) 
  • Churchill Fellowship (Cronin, 2015) 
  • Australasian Human Development Association Conference Travel Scholarship (Masso, 2015) 
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Student Travel Award (Crowe, 2013) 
  • Trinh Foundation Research Grant (Pham, 2016)
  • Australian Linguistic Society Gerhardt Laves Scholarship (Hopf, 2015)
  • Speech Pathology Australia Higher Degree Research Grant (Masso, 2015) 
  • Speech Pathology Australia Nadia Verrall Memorial Scholarship (Watts Pappas, 2006)
  • CSU Honours Scholarship (Wilkin, 2012; Limbrick, 2011)
  • CSU Honours Operating Grant (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Mitchellsearch Honours Scholarship (Barr, 2006; Holliday, 2008)
  • SCOPUS Young Researcher Award for Humanities and Social Sciences (McCormack, 2011) 
  • NSW/ACT Young Achievers Award for Science Leadership (Verdon, 2014) 
  • Pursuit Award for Childhood Disability Research (Canada) runner-up (McCormack, 2013; Verdon, 2015) 
  • Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology Editor’s Prize (Crowe, 2014)
  • Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award (Watts Pappas, 2007; McCormack, 2010; Verdon, 2015) 
  • Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Best Student Paper (Barr, 2008)
  • Speech Pathology Australia National Conference Best Student Paper (Verdon, 2014; Howland, 2016) and Best Student Poster (Masso, 2014) 
  • Speech Pathology Australia Student Award for Outstanding Academic and Clinical Performance in the Bachelor program (Limbrick,2012; Howland, 2016) 
  • CSU Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Australian Federation of University Women Most Meritorious Graduate (Barr, 2006)
  • CSU 3 Minute Thesis Competition runner-up (Verdon, 2014; Masso, 2015)
  • Inaugural Three Minute Honours Thesis Competition Winner, Charles Sturt University (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme (NAHSSS)--Allied Health Undergraduate Stream (Limbrick, 2010-2012)
  • CSU Excellence Scholarship (Limbrick, 2009-2012) 

December 9, 2016

Indigenous research summit

Over the past 2 days I have been on Wiradjuri land in Dubbo at the Charles Sturt University Indigenous Research Summit. It has been a rich experience listening to and learning from outstanding people who are working across Australia and New Zealand. The keynote speakers were:
  • Lesley Rameka, University of Waikato
  • Maggie Walter, University of Tasmania
Some words that were repeated throughout the 2 days were:
  • respect, reframe, reclaim, revitalise, resist
  • language, law, land, look, listen, learn

Sarah Verdon at the Yarradamarra Centre in Dubbo

Our children and families

The work undertaken by our team focuses on the communication skills of children and families throughout the world. Every so often on my blog I mention the importance of our own families who underpin who we are and the work we do. Here are some recent photos of the mothers in our team.

Sharynne, Franklin and Sarah
Mothers - Ben, Sharynne, Sarah and Suzanne
holding Vietnamese turtle mothers with their babies on their backs
Suzanne and her family with her co-supervisor Sarah McDonagh and her family in Fiji

December 7, 2016

Ben's data collection in Hai Phong, Viet Nam

Ben Pham leaves Australia today to travel back to Viet Nam to undertake stage 2 of her data collection for her PhD. She is researching children's speech acquisition in Northern Viet Nam. Stage 1 was undertaken in Ha Noi at the end of last year/beginning of this year (see here) and stage 2 will be undertaken in Hai Phong. Best wishes Ben!

December 6, 2016

Changes in polysyllable speech accuracy of children with speech sound disorders

Sarah Masso is presenting the following poster this week:
Masso, S., McLeod, S., Baker, E., McCormack, J., & Wang, C. (2016, December). Changes in polysyllable speech accuracy of children with speech sound disorders. Poster presentation to Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Parramatta, Australia.
 Here is the content:
Polysyllables are words of three or more syllables. Children with speech sound disorders (SSD) find polysyllables difficult to say and poor polysyllable production may be one marker to identify children at risk of literacy difficulties . Although longitudinal studies are valuable to describe progressions of speech development in children with SSD, no studies have explored progressions in polysyllable development in children with SSD. A longitudinal study of polysyllables is required to determine the factors that impact children’s polysyllable maturity in the year before school.
1. To determine changes in consonant and vowel accuracy in polysyllables produced by children with SSD over time.
2. To identify child and family factors that may be associated with the progression of children’s polysyllable maturity.
Eighty children (50 male) with SSD (aged 4;0-5;4) who were participants of a community-based cluster randomized controlled trial were the participants for this study. All children had delayed phonological development based on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology, typical nonverbal intelligence, and no significant medical history. Children produced the 30 polysyllables of the Polysyllable Preschool Test at three time points (over 14-22 weeks) in the year before school. Percentage of consonants correct (PCC), percentage of vowels correct (PVC), and the seven categories of the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP) were calculated. Polysyllable maturity was analysed using the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity and children’s polysyllable maturity was classified in to one of five maturity levels (Levels A-E). For example, Level A was characterized by high frequency of deletion errors, alterations in phonotactics, and alterations in timing. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to determine changes in PCC and PVC over time. Binary logistic regression was used to identify child and family factors associated with whether children’s polysyllable maturity improved over time.
A model considering age, sex, receptive vocabulary, and starting level of polysyllable maturity (child factors), and SES and family history of speech, language, and literacy difficulties (family factors) significantly predicted whether children improved their polysyllable maturity over time χ2 (8) =24.62, p=.002. Family history and polysyllable maturity at time 1 were significant predictors of whether children improved polysyllable maturity over time. Children in the second lowest level of polysyllable maturity (Level B) were 11.87 times more likely to improve than children who demonstrated the least mature polysyllables (Level A) at time 1.
Children with SSD do demonstrate improved segmental accuracy (PCC and PVC) over time in the year before school. However, when considering polysyllable maturity, some children are less likely to improve. Specifically, children who realise all the syllables in polysyllabic words are more likely to improve than those children who have a high frequency of vowel deletions. This research provides empirical evidence for the use of polysyllables in assessment to identify children who may be at greatest risk of having ongoing difficulties saying polysyllables over time. Considering the possible relationship between polysyllable accuracy and risk of literacy difficulties, it is important to identify these children and provide effective early intervention for speech and emergent literacy.

December 5, 2016

Annual PhD and postdoc scholars meeting

Today all of my CSU students traveled to Sydney to meet for our annual face-to-face meeting. We traveled from Fiji, Newcastle, Brisbane, Shepparton, Albury, and Bathurst for the day. The day included presentations about postdoc progress from Kate Crowe (from USA) and Sarah Verdon,  plus PhD progress from Sarah Masso (her graduation is next week), Suzanne Hopf, Ben Pham, Helen Blake, Anna Cronin and Nicole Limbrick. What an impressive team undertaking important work throughout the world! Then we planned which future conferences we would attend, and grants and awards we would apply for. There was so much richness shared, I wish we had at least 2 days together. I am so privileged to work with such amazing women: today was a key highlight of my year.
Sarah Masso, Suzanne Hopf, Ben Pham, Helen Blake, Sarah Verdon, Nicole Limbrick, Anna Cronin, Sharynne McLeod
Sarah, Suzanne, Ben, Kate (in USA), Sarah, Anna, Helen, Nicole
The summary of our meetings in 2014 and 2015 are here and here.

December 3, 2016

Kate Crowe's Fulbright adventures

Kate Crowe has been updating her blog:
with all of her Fulbright adventures. It is a good read!

December 1, 2016

Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for school students in Fiji

Suzanne has just the following  manuscript accepted for publication and this will form part of her PhD:
Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S. & McDonagh, S. (2016, in press November). Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for school students in Fiji. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics.
Here is the abstract:
Fiji is a multilingual nation with few assessment tools addressing children’s communication. This paper describes the validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for Fiji English, Standard Fijian, and Fiji Hindi. Informants were caregivers of 65 typically-developing multilingual children (aged 5;3-10;5) attending a Fiji primary school. The students spoke an average of 2.9 languages (range=1-5). Their main language was Standard Fijian (41.5%), Fiji Hindi (23.1%), Fiji English (20.0%), or Fijian dialect (15.4%). An ICS mean score of 4.6 was obtained for main language (ICS-ML) and 4.4 for Fiji English (ICS-FE) indicating that students were usually to always intelligible. There were no significant differences between main language, number of languages spoken, gender, age, or socio-economic status. Both scales had good internal consistency but were not correlated with speech accuracy measures possibly due to ceiling effects. Further validation with younger children is recommended. The ICS may be a useful tool for Fiji with comparative results to other international studies.

November 30, 2016

Industry Engagement Workshop

Sarah Verdon and I were in Wagga Wagga again this week at an Industry Engagement Workshop run by Greg Spinks from Consulting and Implementation Services. The workshop aimed to support researchers to find ways to collaborate with industry (associations, companies, philanthropists, etc.) to find solutions to real world problems. We had a group task to pitch a research idea to a fictitious industry panel, and our idea about supporting bilingual children to maintain their home languages won (the competition was very tight).
The winning team: Sharynne, Lena Danaia, Sarah Verdon, Belinda Paulovich, Damian Candusso, (Chris Orchard)

November 27, 2016

Management of phonological speech sound disorders: A survey of current UK speech and language therapy practice

Last week, Natalie Hegarty  presented a poster titled: "The Management of Phonological Speech Sound Disorders: A Survey of Current UK Speech and Language Therapy Practice" at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Northern Ireland Hub Conference in Templepatrick, Northern Ireland. The poster included data based on a survey of 165 speech and language therapists conducted as part of her PhD. Natalie is supervised by Jill Titterington and Laurence Taggart from Ulster University, and myself. Here are some of her conclusions:
  • SLTs commonly employ speech discrimination, phonological awareness and the minimal pairs approach to remediate phonological SSD. They rarely use complexity approaches.
  • SLTs typically employ once weekly, 1:1 sessions lasting 21-30mins for 9-12 weeks. Most SLTs (70.8%) feel that this dose is sufficient to remediate moderate-severe consistent phonological SSD.

November 25, 2016

Creating sustainable services: Minority world SLPs in majority world contexts

Congratulations to Bea Staley and Suzanne Hopf for editing a special issue of the Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology titled: Creating sustainable services: Minority world SLPs in majority world contexts
The special issue included the following papers
  • 106 Special issue: A diverse global network of speech-language pathologists – Bea Staley and Suzanne C. Hopf
  • 108 Building collaboration: A participatory research initiative with Vietnam’s first speech-language pathologists – Marie Atherton, Bronwyn Davidson, and Lindy McAllister
  • 116 Sustainable partnerships for communication disability rehabilitation in majority world countries: A message from the inside – Karen Wylie, Clement Amponsah, Josephine Ohenewa Bampoe, and Nana Akua Owusu
  • 121 Professional and personal benefits of volunteering: Perspectives of International clinical educators of Vietnamese speech-language pathology students in Vietnam – Lindy McAllister, Sue Woodward, and Srivalli Nagarajan
  • 126 Development of the Vietnamese Speech Assessment – Ben Pham, Sharynne McLeod, and Xuan Thi Thanh Le
  • 131 Practice innovations from the emerging speech-language pathology profession in Vietnam: Vignettes illustrating indigenised and sustainable approaches – Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, Le Khanh Dien, Christine Sheard, Le Thi Thanh Xuan, Trà Thanh Tâm, Hoàng Văn Quyên, Le Thi Dao, and Lindy McAllister
  • 137 Building speech-language pathology capacity and colleagues across continents – Abbie Olszewski and Erica Frank
  • 139 Applying theories of cultural competence to speech-language pathology practice in east Africa – Helen Barrett
  • 145 Ethical conversations: “I can’t believe you want to leave at lunch time” – A reflection on how narrative ethics may inform ethical practice in cross-cultural and majority-world contexts – Helen Smith
  • 148 Webwords 56: Minority-world SLPs/SLTs in majority-world contexts – Caroline Bowen

November 24, 2016

University of Newcastle Speech Pathology Showcase

Helen Blake has presented two papers at the University of Newcastle (UON) Speech Pathology Showcase today. The topics she presented were:
  • Speech Intelligibility Clinic 
  • Multilingual speakers' participation in Australia 
Her papers showcased work from her PhD and her work as the clinical educator overseeing the Speech Intelligibility Clinic for multilingual staff, students and community members.

There were 29 presentations and nearly 70 attendees across the day including UON speech pathology staff, colleagues (local speech pathologists working in public and private systems), higher degree by research students, undergraduate UON speech pathology students, undergraduate UON students from different faculties, UON staff from different faculties and services (e.g., UON Global), UON Alumni and members of the community.

November 23, 2016

Thanks to the RIPPLE staff

On my way home from attending the ASHA convention in Philadelphia I traveled to Wagga Wagga to attend the final CSU Academic Senate meeting for the year. I took the opportunity to meet with the fantastic staff at the Research Institute for Professional Practice Learning and Education (RIPPLE). Jo Masters, Kim Woodland and Andrew Stockman have provided outstanding support for my research, particularly my research grants and my research students for many years. I am so grateful for their professionalism, enthusiasm and encouragement. (Happy birthday Jo!)
Kim Woodland, Sharynne, Jo Masters, Andrew Stockman

ASHA's changes to their scholarly publications

At the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention last week (16 November) I was invited as a panelist at the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting  to respond to Ray D. Kent's presentation regarding the new report: Planning for the Future of the ASHA Scholarly Journals. Here is the text of my presentation:
Thank you for the invitation to speak on behalf of the rest of the world at the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting this evening.
Congratulations to ASHA for your
  • 80 year history of scholarly publications
  • over 2 million downloads of articles per year (ASHA, 2015) - disseminating translational research to inform research and practice world-wide
  • innovations and response to the rapidly changing climate of research publications
Dr. Kent outlined the “Global base of contributors and readers for the ASHA journals”. To contextualize:
  • There are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world. 
  • There are 381 languages spoken in the US with 20.8% speaking a language other than English at home (Ryan, 2013). 
In preparing for this presentation I analysed the authorship of the 190 articles published within Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research in 2015:
  • 73% (72.6%) of manuscripts were written by authors who provided a US affiliation 
  • 7% (6.8%) of manuscripts were written by authors from the US who collaborated with authors from other countries o predominantly English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK o But also: China, Japan, Norway, and Taiwan 
  • TOTAL = 80% written by/with US authors 
  • 20% (20.5%) of manuscripts were written by authors from other countries: Australia (4), Belgium (5), Canada (6), China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands (7), Turkey, and UK 
The majority of papers reported that their participants spoke English; however, there were some papers where the participants spoke Cantonese, Catalan, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Turkish.

So while Dr. Kent described the “Global base of contributors and readers for the ASHA journals”, there is more to be done with only 20% of papers published in JSLHR in 2015 being written by authors outside of the US.

There is a welcome emphasis in the ASHA Scholarly Publications innovations on being more global.
  • Resources for authors: including online resources about Quality of a manuscript’s English-language and the possible development of a Chinese language toggle for ScholarOne (ASHA, 2015, p. 42) 
  • Abstracts available in a range of languages including Spanish 
  • Peer review help desk, knowledgebase, academy 
  • Increase of strategic content development 
  • Journals Board that includes one international member 

These changes will support us to move beyond the monolingual English or bilingual English-Spanish mindset. We are in a profession that values communication as a human right, and support Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right includes the freedom “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas” – and this call is for all people and all languages. ASHA innovations to scholarly publications will support knowledge translation and dissemination from research to practice that will benefit Americans with speech, language, hearing, and communication needs, as well as those throughout the world. 

November 22, 2016

Fantastic Philladelphia

I had a really enjoyable time in Philadelphia. Here are a few photos from my stay (see previous blogs for my collaborations and presentations while at the ASHA convention in Philly).
Independence Hall - where the Declaration of Independence was signed

Defining the role of authors and contributors (Vancouver protocol - updated)

My university (and many others around the world) use the recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ("Vancouver Protocol") for defining the role of authors on publications. It has been updated to contain 4 criteria
"The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:
1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors..."
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. (2016). Defining the role of authors and contributors. Retrieved from

November 20, 2016

ASHA convention update

The 2016 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention was the largest on record with over 16,000 attendees! Here are some more interesting statistics:
  • 4000+ first time attendees
  • 3268 proposals submitted from 5918 authors (30% of presenters were first timers)
  • 37 short courses presented
  • 147 invited sessions presented
  • 1072 podium sessions (including technical sessions) presented
  • 1740 poster sessions presented
  • 32 topic chairs + 519 committee members
My students, colleagues and I presented 6 papers during the convention (1 panel, 1 2-hour seminar, 4 technical sessions) and learned a lot from the other presentations we attended. We also valued the networking opportunities with friends and colleagues from all over the world.
Closing party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with friends from Turkey and NZ:
Sharynne, Seyhun and Oya Topbas, Kate, Gina Tillard, Brenda
Ellie Sugdon, Elise Baker, John Bernthal, Sharynne McLeod, Steph, Kate Crowe
Joanne Cleland (Scotland), Elise Baker and Sharynne at the "meet the author" session at the Pearson booth
One small section of the expansive ASHA Exhibits hall!
The booths were numbered from 100-1400.
Topic chair Danai Fannin and some members of the 2017 ASHA
Cultural and linguistic diversity committee planning next year's convention

November 16, 2016

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Philadelphia, PA

This week I am attending the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Philadelphia, PA. There are going to be over 15,000 attendees at the convention, the largest on record.
I have been invited to present the following sessions:
  1. McLeod, S. - Responding to changes in scholarly publishing. Invited panelist - Researcher and Academic Town Meeting (1 hour).
  2. Hustad, K. & McLeod, S. Measuring children’s intelligibility. Invited seminar (2 hours).
Katie Hustad (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Sharynne after the 2-hour invited sesssion
Sharynne, Kate, Karla, Lynn, Elise and Ellie
My colleagues, students, and I are also presenting the following technical papers:
  1. Crowe, K., McLeod, S., & Carty, B. - Raising children with hearing loss in multilingual environments: Understanding the perspectives of professionals. Technical paper (30 mins).
  2. Crowe, K., Cumming, T., McCormack, J., Baker, E., McLeod, S., Wren, Y., Roulstone, S. & Masso, S. - Implementing computer-based intervention for children with speech sound disorder in early childhood settings: Educators’ perspectives. Technical paper (30 mins).
  3. Howland, C., Baker, E., McLeod, S., & Munro, N. - Grammatical morpheme realization by children with phonological impairment disorders. Technical paper (30 mins).
  4. McLeod, S., Baker, E., McCormack, J., Wren, Y., Roulstone, S. Crowe, K. & Masso, S. - Giving preschool children a Sound Start: A randomized controlled trial of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter. Technical paper (30 mins).
Ron Gillam, Kate Crowe, Karla Washington, Ray Kent, Sharynne
after the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting

Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for Jamaican Creole-speaking preschoolers

The following article has just been accepted for publication:
Washington, K. N., McDonald, M. M., McLeod, S., Crowe, K., & Devonish, H. (2016, in press November). Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for Jamaican Creole-speaking preschoolers. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Within the acceptance letter, the editor wrote: "I am quite excited to see manuscripts on languages such as this being submitted (and published) in AJSLP because these illustrate the beauty of language variation but also the challenges that such variation presents for practicing clinicians.  I believe that this contribution will be of great interest to the readership."
Here is the abstract
Purpose: To describe validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS; McLeod et al., 2012a) and ICS-Jamaican Creole (ICS-JC; McLeod et al., 2012b; Washington & Devonish Trans.) in a sample of typically-developing 3-to-6-year-old Jamaicans.
Method: One-hundred and forty-five preschooler-parent dyads participated. Parents completed the 7-item ICS (n=145) and ICS-JC (n=98) to rate children’s speech intelligibility (5-point scale) across communication-partners (parents, immediate-family, extended-family, friends, acquaintances, strangers). Preschoolers completed the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology (DEAP; Dodd et al., 2006) in English and JC to establish speech-sound competency. For this sample, we examined validity and reliability (inter-rater, test-rest, internal-consistency) evidence using measures of speech-sound production: (1) percentage-of-consonants-correct (PCC); (2) percentage-of-vowels-correct (PVC); and (3) percentage-of-phonemes-correct (PPC).
Results: ICS and ICS-JC ratings showed preschoolers were always-(5) to usually-(4) understood across communication-partners (ICS-mean=4.43; ICS-JC mean=4.50). Both tools demonstrated excellent internal consistency (α=.91), high inter-rater and test-retest reliability. Significant correlations between the two tools and between each measure and language-specific PCC, PVC, and PPC provided/demonstrated criterion-validity evidence. A positive correlation between the ICS and age further strengthened validity evidence for that measure.
Conclusions: Both tools show promising evidence of reliability and validity in describing functional speech-intelligibility for this group of typically-developing Jamaican preschoolers.

Meeting with colleagues in Philadelphia

Today I had meetings with colleagues in Philadelphia. I spent the morning with Dr. Carol Scheffner-Hammer who specialises in Spanish-English bilingual language acquisition and disorder and currently works at Teachers College Columbia University in New York.
Then I visited La Salle University, spending a short time with my co-author and colleague Dr. Brian Goldstein (who is the Provost), and the Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Dr. Barbara Amster. While I was there, I felt that La Salle's ethos resonates with Charles Sturt University's motto: For the public good.
Carol Scheffner-Hammer and Sharynne
Provost Brian Goldstein, La Salle University
St Benilde Tower, La Salle University

November 15, 2016

Meeting with Kate Crowe in Philadelphia

Over the past 2 days Kate Crowe and I have enjoyed each others' company in Philadelphia. Kate lives in the US while she is on her Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship and I am visiting her prior to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention. We have worked together on revisions to a paper titled "A cross-linguistic review of consonant acquisition across 27 languages", discussed data from pilot projects she is undertaking in order to write a new grant next year, and visited some of Philadelphia's famous landmarks.
Kate and Sharynne at the famous LOVE statue in Philadelphia
Sharynne and Kate at the Liberty Bell
Sharynne and Kate working on the 29th floor looking at William Penn's statue on top of City Hall
Squirrels are exciting for people who live in Australia!

Sarah M approved to graduate

Congratulations to Sarah Masso. Yesterday she was approved to graduate with a PhD. Her graduation ceremony will be on 16th December. Sarah has been a valuable member of the Sound Start Study (SSS) team and has analysed data from the SSS for her PhD. Her PhD was titled: Polysyllable Maturity of Preschool Children with Speech Sound Disorders. Here is the abstract:
Polysyllables are words of three or more syllables and contain multiple consonants and vowels as well as complex syllable shapes and stress patterns. Polysyllables may provide a more comprehensive view of preschool children’s phonological representations than mono- or di-syllabic words because they are complex and more prone to error. Children with speech sound disorders (SSD) find polysyllables challenging but there is little consensus about the best methods for analysing and interpreting children’s productions. Early SSD can have a long-lasting impact on speech production, phonological processing, and literacy into adulthood so there is a need to refine assessment and analysis methods for children with SSD to identify those children who may require additional support.
The purpose of this thesis is to inform the clinical practice of speech-language pathologists through a multi-faceted investigation of polysyllables in preschool children with SSD. To achieve this purpose, five aims were addressed: (1) to develop a method of analysing polysyllables suitable for children with SSD, (2) to present a framework for interpreting polysyllable maturity of children with SSD, (3) to describe polysyllable errors made by preschool children with SSD using three measures of polysyllables: segmental accuracy (PCC, PVC, and PPC), frequency of errors, and polysyllable maturity, (4) to investigate of the progression of polysyllable maturity in children with SSD over time, including factors that influence improvements in maturity, and (5) to explore the relationship between polysyllable speech accuracy and emergent literacy skills in preschool children with SSD. To achieve these aims, data were collected from 93 preschool children with SSD who participated in the Sound Start Study, a cluster randomized controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of an input-based computer intervention for children with SSD. The children were aged 4;0-5;5 at the beginning of the research and presented with a phonologically-based SSD of unknown origin. All participants completed speech production, phonological processing, and emergent literacy tasks. Eighty of the participating children completed the polysyllable speech production task (POP, Baker, 2013) on three occasions over a 14-22 week period.
This thesis includes six published or submitted papers that present reviews and research studies. The first paper is a book chapter that provides an overview of phonology. The second paper presents a systematic search and review of literature that has examined polysyllable assessment and analysis of young children aged 7;11 years or under. This second paper describes the development of (1) the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a) including seven categories of error; and (2) the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity (Framework, Masso, 2016b) including 5-levels (A-E) of maturity.
The third and subsequent papers focus specifically on children of preschool age. The third paper applies the WAP and the Framework to speech samples from 93 preschool children with SSD and documents that preschool children with SSD have difficulty saying polysyllables accurately. The findings also highlight that vowels are less likely to be accurate on a polysyllable task than a primarily mono- and di-syllabic speech task.
The fourth paper describes preschool children’s longitudinal progression of polysyllable maturity (from Levels A to E) across three points in time and highlights that preschool children who demonstrate the second lowest level of polysyllable maturity (Framework Level B) on initial assessment are 13.85 times more likely to improve polysyllable maturity than preschool children who demonstrate the least mature polysyllables (Framework Level A).
The later chapters of this thesis explore the relationship between SSD, phonological processing, and emergent literacy skills. The fifth paper reports a systematic overview investigating the assessment and analysis of phonological awareness, a key component of emergent literacy, in preschool children with SSD. Data from 12 studies were extracted using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) protocol. In this fifth paper, recommendations for the assessment of phonological awareness in preschool children with SSD are outlined.
Following on from the review of phonological awareness assessment in preschool children with SSD, the sixth and final paper explores the relationship between polysyllable speech accuracy and measures of phonological processing and emergent literacy in children with SSD. This final paper uses cluster analysis and ANCOVA procedures to highlight that preschool children’s risk of literacy difficulties is increased by poor performance on a polysyllable task and associated poor phonological processing tasks.
This thesis presents a clinically useful analysis of polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a), and provides evidence for the use of polysyllables in assessment to identify children who may demonstrate minimal spontaneous change in polysyllable accuracy over time and who may demonstrate poor emergent literacy skills.

November 14, 2016

Nicole's first day of her PhD

Today is Nicole Limbrick's first day of her PhD, so Kate Crowe and I (her supervisors) had an impromptu meeting via Facetime from Philadelphia (9am Monday her time, 5pm Sunday our time!).
Nicole and I had a long meeting last week - so she has plenty to do while we are at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention. We are so pleased to be working with you Nicole!

November 10, 2016

Ben Phạm's consultancy with Viet Nam Television

Ben Phạm (Phạm Thị Bền) has been a content consultant (Cố vấn nội dung) for the ABC program on Viet Nam Television. She has provided advice on:
  • letter forms
  • letter sounds
  • letters in words (word choices, word order)
  • writing directions for each letter
Here is a link to one of the programs about "o":
Ben's acknowledgment at the end of the TV program

November 4, 2016

Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) National Conference

Last week Sarah Masso attended the Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) National Conference in Port Lincoln, Adelaide, South Australia. She presented the following paper based on data from the Sound Start Study.
Masso, S., Baker, E., McLeod, S., Crowe, K., McCormack, J., Wren, Y. & Roulstone, S. (2016, October). Emergent literacy and digital experiences: Exploring the literacy environment of preschool children with speech sound disorders. SARRAH National Conference for Rural and Remote Allied Health Professionals, Adelaide, Australia.
Sarah's poster

Sarah Masso (CSU), Lisa Deeth (Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service), Gerry Gannon (MC for SARRAH 2016), and Cathryn Carboon (The Carevan Foundation, Victoria).

Port Lincoln Pier

CSU media release: Prestigious fellowship for CSU PhD researcher

CSU has just published a media release regarding Sarah Masso's Endeavour Research Fellowship.
The news has been shared and tweeted throughout the world. Congratulations again Sarah!