August 31, 2016

Kate begins her Fulbright Scholar program in the US

This week Kate Crowe began her Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Program working with Professor Marc Marschark at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. She is excited about the opportunity to combine her two passions: research with people with hearing loss and iceskating!
Kate with the RIT tiger
One of the on-campus ice skating rinks

August 29, 2016

About World Languages website

In a recent Speech Pathology Australia evidence alert the About World Languages website was profiled:
It includes details about the phonology, morphology and syntax of over 100 languages.

August 27, 2016

Free internet on the plane

I am currently on my long plane trip home from Ireland to Australia. Typically I spend plane trips working on presentations or papers that need long uninterrupted time. I am grateful that I can't access the internet. However, today is the first time I have been offered free internet on a plane - and I decided to use it to post my first blog entry 4,752km from Australia and 10,668 metres above sea level. Isn't the world amazing!

International Expert Panel meeting in Dublin

A few members of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech were available during the IALP congress in Dublin to continue discussions about writing a tutorial to support SLPs to provide speech intervention for children who do not speak the same languages as them. New ideas were added to the points that were raised at our meeting in Halifax during June. The next step is to collate the excellent suggestions and invite the online panel members to contribute to the discussion.
Dr Carol Westby (US), Dr Mirjam Blumenthal (The Netherlands) and Sharynne

PhD meeting in Ireland

While in Dublin, I was able to meet with Anniek van Doornik-van der Zee and Professor Ellen Gerrits from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. We are co-supervising Anniek’s PhD titled SpraakProductiestoornissen En de Ernst van de Communicatieve Handicap (Speech production disorders and severity of the communicative handicap). Anneik is planning to use the Intelligibility in Context Scale in her research and shared with me a language screening test that is commonly used in The Netherlands:
Ellen, Sharynne and Anniek

August 26, 2016

The relationship between spoken English proficiency and participation in higher education, employment, and income from two Australian censuses

The following paper has been accepted for publication and will be the first paper in Helen Blake’s PhD: Blake, H. L., McLeod, S., Verdon, S. & Fuller, G. (2016, in press August). The relationship between spoken English proficiency and participation in higher education, employment, and income from two Australian censuses. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
This paper was featured in a recent CSU news release here.
Here is the link to download the article: 
Here is the abstract:
Purpose: Proficiency in the language of the country of residence has implications for an individual’s level of education, employability, income and social integration. This paper explores the relationship between the spoken English proficiency of residents of Australia on census day and their educational level, employment and income to provide insight into multilingual speakers’ ability to participate in Australia as an English-dominant society. Method: Data presented are derived from the 2006 and 2011 Australian censuses of over 19 million people. Result: The proportion of Australians who reported speaking a language other than English at home was 21.5% in the 2006 census and 23.2% in the 2011 census. Multilingual speakers who also spoke English very well were more likely to have post-graduate qualifications, full-time employment and high income than monolingual English speaking Australians. However, multilingual speakers who reported speaking English not well were much less likely to have post-graduate qualifications or full-time employment than monolingual English speaking Australians. Conclusion: These findings provide insight into the socioeconomic and educational profiles of multilingual speakers which will inform the understanding of people such as speech-language pathologists who provide them with support. The results indicate spoken English proficiency may impact participation in Australian society. These findings challenge the “monolingual mind-set” by demonstrating that outcomes for multilingual speakers in education, employment and income are higher than for monolingual speakers.

August 25, 2016

30th World Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP)

This week over 1000 participants from 53 countries met in Dublin for the 30th World Congress of IALP.  The congress opened with a fantastic session including a presentation from Declan Murphy, a lecturer at NUI Galway who has Down Syndrome. He explained “speech is my Everest” and stated that “I believe that communication is a human right”. His speech was inspiring and received a standing ovation. Declan’s speech was followed by Move4 Parkinson’s, a choir made up of people with Parkinson’s disease, their friends and family. Their rendition of Roar again had people cheering on their feet.
Declan Murphy presenting his inspiring opening address

There has been an emphasis on the World Health Organization’s initiatives, and I was invited to present the first of eight 30 minute papers on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.

Presenters in the WHO sessions on the ICF sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Over the week, my students, colleagues and I have presented the following papers:

  • McLeod, S. - Description of the ICF Framework. Invited presentation.
  • McLeod, S., Verdon, S., & International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech -  Recommendations for the assessment of multilingual children’s speech.
  • McLeod, S., Baker, E., McCormack, J., Wren, Y., Roulstone, S., Crowe, K. & Masso, S. - Sound Start Study: A community-based randomized controlled trial of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter.
  • Crowe, K., Cumming, T., McCormack, J., McLeod, S., Masso, S., Baker, E., Wren, Y., Roulstone, S. - Sound Start Study: Early childhood educators' experiences of implementing Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter.
  • Verdon, S., McLeod, S. & Wong, S. - Six Principles of Culturally Competent Practice: Enhancing families’ engagement in speech and language therapy.
  • Wylie , K., Hopf, S. C., McAllister, L., Marshall, J., Davidson, B., McLeod, S., McDonagh, S., Amponsah, C., & Ohenewa Bampoe, J. - An exploration of the diversity of self‐ help and help‐seeking practices for communication disability in Ghana and Fiji.

  • Sound Start Study team members, Yvonne Wren, Jane McCormack and Sharynne with Debbie Sell (UK)

    Friends at IALP

    Conferences are a great time to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Here are a few people I enjoyed talking with this week at the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics conference in Dublin.
    Lindy McAllister (Sydney), Sharynne, Jane McCormack (Sheffield, UK)
    Gaenor Dixon (President, Speech Pathology Australia), Helen Grech (President, IALP from Malta), Lilly Cheng (President Elect, IALP from USA), and Sharynne
    Israeli Speech Hearing and Language Association members
    Sharynne with Thomas Law from Hong Kong
    Dr Rangasayee Raghunath and Dr Krishna Yerraguntia from India
    Some of the Australian delegates at the IALP congress

    Board meeting of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics

    Sunday 21st August was my fourth meeting as an elected member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP). These annual meetings have been held in Turin - Italy (2013), Dublin - Ireland (2014), London - UK (2015), and now in Dublin again prior to the IALP conference. Helen Grech (Malta) concludes her role as President, and Lily Cheng (USA) commences her role as the new president for the next three years.
    In 2015 the Child Speech committee was formed and I was appointed the Chair. We had our first meeting this week, and Dr Yvonne Wren is now Chair and I am Deputy Chair of the committee.

    IALP Board meeting
    IALP Child Speech Committee: Helen Grech (Malta), Sharynne, Martin Ball (Sweden), Yvonne Wren (UK). Other committee members are: Barbara Hodson (US), Thora Masdottir (Iceland), Carol To (Hong Kong), Sarah Verdon (Australia)

    August 20, 2016

    Speaking Irish in Ireland

    The Irish language is spoken throughout Ireland, particularly in areas near Galway (such as South Connemara and the Aran Islands) where I have been visiting over the past week. Throughout Ireland children learn Irish in school and public sign posts are in both Irish and English. However, in these areas near Galway, the signs are only in Irish, Irish is the language of instruction in schools, and people can't build new homes unless they speak Irish. There are a few Irish-speaking speech and language therapists in this area, and two of them (Stephanie Brennan and Íde Ní Chonghaile) translated the Intelligibility in Context Scale (Scála Intuigtheachta i gComhthéacs: Gaeilge) into Irish in 2014. Here is a useful website about Irish:
    Signs written in Irish (Gaelige) on Inis Mór, the largest Aran Island
    Dr Rena Lyons at the NUI Galway Clinic Theiripe Urlabhra & Teanga
    (Speech and Language Therapy Clinic)

    August 19, 2016

    The stunning contrasts of Ireland

    Aran Island coastline
    Heather and gorse
    A Connemara pony on the Clifton Sky Road

    Visiting NUI Galway

    NUI Galway
    This week I have had the pleasure of visiting the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway. During my visit we  discussed research, ideas for writing a book, and the use of our research within their speech and language therapy curriculum. I have enjoyed my discussions with Dr Rena Lyons (head of the department), Dr Mary-Pat O'Malley, Clare Carroll, and summer research scholar Ciara McKay. We also went to the NUI television studio and recorded vodcasts to be used in the masters' teaching program on topics such as multilingualism, ICF, Intelligibility in Context Scale, and working with families. Dr Rena Lyons also took us on a tour of the Connemara, which included a spectacular walk on the Mám Éan trail through the Maumturk Mountains of Connemara.
    Clare Carroll, Rena Lyons, Mary-Pat O'Malley, and Sharynne at the NUI TV studio
    Sharynne and Ciara McKay discussing SSD definitions and intervention
    David, Sharynne and Rena visiting the Connemara

    RIPPLE Effect Winter 2016 edition

    The RIPPLE Effect profiles the work of researchers and PhD students within the Research Institute for Professional Practice Learning and Education. The Winter 2016 edition profiles the work of our team:
    • Kate Crowe - Fulbright Scholar and postdoctoral scholar
    • Anna Cronin - Churchill Scholar and commencing PhD student
    • Children's Speech - new book published by Pearson (USA)
    Read the stories here: (scroll down to ‘Newsletter’ to view the edition either as a magazine or PDF).

    August 13, 2016

    The beauty of Northern Ireland

    Over the weekend we took time out to enjoy the beauty of Northern Ireland and were fortunate enough to find some sunshine.
    The Giant's Causeway

    August 12, 2016

    Launch of the Specific Speech Impairment Clinical Excellence Network in Northern Ireland

    Today, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' (RCSLT) Specific Speech Impairment Clinical Excellence Network was launched in Northern Ireland by Dr Jill Titterington and colleagues. I was their invited speaker for the day. We discussed assessing children with speech sound disorders and supporting children who are multilingual. The 60+ participants were extremely enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy learning about the research and resources we have generated to enhance clinical practice when working with children. Congratulations to the SLTs of Northern Ireland.

    August 11, 2016

    Interesting discussions in Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Over the past few days I have had the pleasure of spending time with Dr Jill Titterington and Natalie Hegarty from the University of Ulster. During the first day Jill and Natalie showed me around Belfast, highlighting important aspects of the city and its rich and complex history. We visited some sites that celebrated the work of John Hewitt and James Larkin who promoted social justice within the city. We then spent time together discussing Natalie's PhD that is considering speech-language therapists' intervention practices and knowledge when working with children with speech sound disorders.
    Jill Titterington, Natalie Hegarty, Sharynne (with Tim Tams)
    discussing Natalie's PhD research
    Sharynne, Jill and Natalie near the James Larkin mural
    Jill, Natalie, David and Sharynne at The John Hewitt, a famous pub in Belfast

    August 9, 2016

    Usefulness of the Australian Census

    The Australian Census is collected every 5 years - and tonight is census night.
    Charles Sturt University has published a media release about  analysing the Australian Census titled: Census insights into multilingual Australians that profiles the work undertaken by Helen Blake, Sarah Verdon, Gail Fuller and myself.

    August 6, 2016

    ASHA online conference

    The ASHA online conference that was held in April was repeated in August due to popular demand and this time there were over 600 delegates. It was titled Improving Intelligibility in Children with Speech Sound Disorders. My presentation was titled Measuring Intelligibility with Different Listeners: The Intelligibility in Context Scale. This morning (Saturday at 8am; US Friday 6pm) I answered attendees questions about my paper during a rapid online chat session. It was a lot of fun - and some interesting questions were asked (and hopefully answered).

    August 5, 2016

    Sarah submitted her PhD today

    Today Sarah Masso submitted her PhD titled: Polysyllable Maturity of Preschool Children with Speech Sound Disorders. It was submitted as a series of publications (1 book chapter and 5 journal articles). Sarah's research was based on data collected from 93 children within the Sound Start Study. Within her PhD she invented the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a) and the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity (Masso, 2016b). Her co-supervisors were Elise Baker, Jane McCormack (and unofficially Yvonne Wren, Sue Roulstone, and Kate Crowe). Congratulations Sarah on this HUGE milestone in your life.
    Lisa McLean (research office), Sarah Masso with her thesis, and Sharynne
    Lisa McLean, Ben Pham, Sarah Masso, Audrey Wang and Sharynne

    ASHA convention statistics

    Recently we have found out that all of our abstracts for the upcoming ASHA convention have been accepted. This is great news as there were 3,265 papers submitted (>8% more than last year). ASHA are anticipating that the 2016 convention in Philadelphia "will break the Chicago attendance records – topping 15,000 attendees"* Here are the previously highest attended ASHA conventions:
    Top attendance
    2013 - Chicago - 14,794
    2015 - Denver - 14,059
    1997 - Boston - 13,532
    2010 - Philadelphia - 13,210
    1988 - Boston - 13,010
    1994 - New Orleans - 12,954
    2014 - Orlando - 12,359
    2008 - Chicago - 12,031

    *Jaynee Handelsman, President, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1 August 2016

    August 4, 2016

    Vietnamese Speech Assessment: Planning the next phase of data collection

    Today Xuan Le, Ben Pham and I had a meeting between Vietnam and Australia to continue our work on the Vietnamese Speech Assessment. We are planning the next phase of normative data collection in Vietnam, including our ethical approval and the logistics for assessing the next group of preschool-aged children.

    Multilingual Children's Speech website: Launch of new pages

    This week we launched two new pages on the Multilingual Children's Speech website:

    August 2, 2016

    Churchill Scholar: Early intervention for children with speech difficulties

    Suzanne Churcher is visiting Charles Sturt University this week as part of her Winston Churchill Fellowship. She is from the University of Portsmouth, UK. While in Bathurst she is presenting a Brown Bag seminar to CSU staff and community members and visiting speech pathologists at the Bathurst and Orange Community Health Centres. She has discussed her work with my PhD students and colleagues including Ben Pham, Anna Cronin, A/Prof Fran Press, and Dr Loraine Fordham
    Here is a portion of her abstract:
    I applied to the Winston Churchill Trust to investigate early intervention for children with speech difficulties. As a speech and language therapist with many years of experience, across the UK, particularly within early years and early intervention, I was curious as to why direct therapy for children targeting the remediation of speech difficulties appeared to be inconsistently offered. Some service providers offered a specific pathway without barriers in terms of age, as long as the presenting features of the child suggested a potential disorder, others had either a minimum referral age to services and or offered a broad often 'language' based intervention or 'watchful waiting' approach to input, almost irrespective of how the child presented. Arguably Australia leads the English-speaking world in its knowledge and evidence base in the approach to treatment for children with speech disorder. Certainly a large body of the contemporary academic works and research articles that have influenced professional knowledge in the last ten years were conducted in collaboration with Australian researchers. I therefore developed the proposed investigation: What do Australian speech pathologists do in terms of therapeutic delivery to young children with speech sound difficulties?
    Suzanne on Wattle Day (1st August)
    Sharynne and Suzanne
    Suzanne and Ben with the Bathurst speech pathologists