February 26, 2016

Australian-American Fulbright Commission Scholar Showcase and Presentation Dinner

Last night the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Scholar Showcase and Presentation Dinner was held in Melbourne. Dr Kate Crowe was presented as one of the 46 2016 Fulbright Australian Scholars by His Excellency John Berry, Ambassador of the USA to Australia and Professor Don DeBats, Chair of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Board. Charles Sturt University was a silver sponsor of the evening, and was represented by Vice Chancellor Andy Vann, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Development and Industry) Mary Kelly. Kate's family and friends were also in attendance to celebrate her accomplishment. More details are here and a video is here.

2016 Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholars with His Excellency John Berry,
the Ambassador of the USA to Australia and Professor Don DeBats

Kate with VC Andy Vann, DVC Mary Kelly, her family and friends

February 22, 2016

Charles Sturt University Commencement Ceremony 2016

The Charles Sturt University Commencement Ceremony was held on Monday 22nd February to begin the academic year for 2016. This photo is of Ben Phạm my PhD student, Ninh Dang Vu my new professorial research assistant, and Rev. 'Oto Faiva who prayed the prayer for the staff and students at the commencement ceremony.
Ben Pham, Sharynne, Ninh Dang Vu, Rev. 'Oto Faiva

February 21, 2016

Cyclone Winston's impact on Fiji

One of my PhD students, Suzanne Hopf, lives in Fiji (and undertakes her studies via distance education). It was devastating to learn of the impact of Cyclone Winston on Fiji this weekend described as "one of the southern hemisphere’s most powerful cyclones on record". The school Suzanne visited during her data collection was used as an evacuation centre, and it is likely that many of the children, families, and teachers who contributed to her PhD have been impacted. As well as rebuilding and cleaning up after the cyclone, electricity, internet, and daily supplies will be limited for some time.

February 20, 2016

Cross-cultural adaptation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for South Africa

The following article has just been accepted for publication.
Pascoe, M. & McLeod, S. (2016, in press February). Cross-cultural adaptation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for South Africa. Child Language Teaching and Therapy.
Here is the abstract
The Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS) (McLeod, Harrison, & McCormack, 2012a) is a screening questionnaire that focuses on parents’ perceptions of children’s speech in different contexts. Originally developed in English, it has been translated into 60 languages and the validity and clinical utility of the scale has been documented in a range of countries. In South Africa, there are eleven official languages yet few assessment materials available in languages other than English. In this paper we describe the cross-cultural adaptation of the ICS into a screening tool encompassing all South Africa’s official languages in addition to English. Objectives were: (1) To describe the linguistic and conceptual equivalence of the ten translated versions compared to the original ICS.  (2) To evaluate speech-language therapists’ (SLT) perceptions of the usability and value of the ICS translations in the languages of South Africa. Twenty-five participants translated the ICS into ten official languages of South Africa using forward and back translation and community checking. Next, a survey of 23 SLTs practicing in South Africa, and semi-structured interviews with five SLTs working in Cape Town, took place. The conceptual and linguistic equivalence of the adapted materials for each language was considered. Concepts that were challenging to translate from English into many of the Bantu languages included those relating to immediate/extended family, acquaintances, strangers and hearing/understanding. Linguistic challenges in translation related to dialectal differences and the use of pronouns. The SLTs in the sample found the ICS easy to use and saw it as a useful component of assessment especially when working with families who do not share a language with the SLT. Overall the study contributes to the development agenda of SLTs working in South Africa by creating and trialing the ICS in all the countries’ official languages to improve access and quality of services offered to all the families they serve.

February 19, 2016

Celebrating Lunar New Year

This Year of the Monkey, we held a picnic to celebrate Lunar New Year, sharing stories about the celebration from China and Vietnam.
Audrey Wang, Ben Pham, Sharynne, Helen Liu

February 11, 2016

Bathurst speech pathologists' dinner

In 2003 when I moved in Bathurst there were very few speech pathologists and most worked with adults rather than children. Now there are many more speech pathologists in Bathurst and they work in schools, early intervention settings, community health centres, hospitals and private practices. Ben Pham and I enjoyed catching up with everyone over dinner last night.
L-R: Katrina, Meredith, Emily, Esther, Ben, Sharynne,
Kathy, Angela, Christine, Jess, and Kate

February 10, 2016

Second Most Prevalent Disability Category in the US

An email was sent to ASHA members from Dr. Lemmietta G. McNeilly, Chief Staff Officer, Speech-Language Pathology containing the following information:

Speech or Language Impairments, Second Most Prevalent Disability Category
"According to the recently released, "37th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2015," speech or language impairments (17.9%) was the 2nd most prevalent disability category in 2013 for students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B. The most prevalent category continues to be specific learning disabilities at 39.5%. Other highlights of the report, data from reporting periods associated with fall 2013; include:
  • The most prevalent disability category of children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B, was speech or language impairments (44.2%). The next most common disability category was developmental delay (37.1%), followed by autism (8.4%).
  • Hispanic or Latino students ages 6 through 21 were 1.34, 1.21, 1.29, and 1.06 times more likely to be served under IDEA, Part B, for hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, specific learning disabilities, and speech and language impairments, respectively, than were students ages 6 through 21 in all other racial/ethnic groups combined.
  • Speech or language impairments were the second or third most prevalent category for students ages 6 through 21 in every racial/ethnic group.
  •  More than 8 in 10 students reported under the category of speech or language impairments (87.1%) were educated inside the regular class 80% or more of the day."
Lemmietta G. McNeilly, ASHA, 9 February 2016

Application of the ICF to communication

Last year I was invited to be a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association ad hoc committee on the application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health to communication. ASHA has subsequently developed a website that includes resources we developed on creating person-centered goals:
ICF and speech sound disorders
ICF and specific language impairment

Magdalena Janus' visit to CSU

This week Magdalena Janus has been visiting CSU sponsored by RIPPLE. She has been involved in the development of the Early Development Index (EDI) that has been adapted for use throughout Australia as the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). It has been exciting to discuss possibilities for future collaboration.
L-R: Jennifer Sumsion (Director of RIPPLE), Linda Harrison (Acting SubDean Research), Sue Walker (via Skype from Queensland University of Technology), Magdalena Janus, Fran Press, Sharynne McLeod (Kate Williams not in the photo).

February 8, 2016

Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship awarded to Kate Crowe

Kate Crowe has been awarded a prestigious  Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to study in the US with Professor Marc Marschark at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her project is titled Semantic network structure and use in Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners. Here is the Fulbright announcement and the CSU news release is here and Speech Pathology Australia's tweet is here. She is one of two Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship awardees (the four others received state awards).
Here is the abstract:
The purpose of this project is to investigate Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) learners’ semantic networks to improve the effectiveness of approaches to language and literacy learning. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to extend knowledge of semantic networks in DHH learners through three related studies to be undertaken at Rochester Institute of Technology. Specifically, the aims of this project are to (1) examine the within-category structure of semantic networks of DHH learners, (2) understand facilitators and barriers to DHH learners’ access to their semantic networks, and (3) observe the impact of instruction on DHH learners’ use of semantic networks.
Congratulations Kate!

February 5, 2016

Speech Pathology Australia 2015 highlights

It was great to see the work of members of our team listed in the 2015 Speech Pathology Australia highlights on pages 8 and 11 of February's SpeakOUT.