April 30, 2017

Hei! 你好! !مرحبا: Language acquisition in a multilingual world

Last week Kate Crowe was a keynote speaker at the European Cochlear Implant Users Symposium in Helsinki. Details of the conference are here: http://www.euro-ciu2017.fi/en/
The title of her presentation was: Hei! 你好! !مرحبا: Language acquisition in a multilingual world
The link to her presentation is: here
Here is the abstract:
The growing diversity of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) learners creates challenges for educators and clinicians. With close to 8,000 language spoken in the world and increasing levels of mobility, the linguistic diversity of DHH learners accessing education and therapy services has never been greater. This presentation will describe parental and professional perspectives on choices about communication mode and language use for DHH children. Current perspectives on multilingualism, focusing on spoken language multilingualism, will be described and related to DHH learners and their families, and the educators and clinicians who work with them. The available research describing the speech and language outcomes for DHH children living and learning in multilingual environments will also be summarized. The need for interdisciplinary collaboration for supporting, assessing, and monitoring the speech and language development of DHH multilingual learners will be discussed.
Papers were presented in either spoken Finnish, spoken English or Finnish Sign Language (there was also a short presentation in spoken Spanish). There was simultaneous interpreting into spoken Finnish, spoken English, Finnish Sign Language, with captioning in written Finnish and English!
Kate presenting her keynote speech
 Kate also met up with Sari Kunnari and Taina Välimaa at the University of Oulu.
Taina Välimaa, Sari Kunnari and Kate Crowe

April 29, 2017

Speech Intelligibility Clinic at The University of Newcastle

This week I visited Helen Blake who leads the Speech Intelligibility Clinic at the University of Newcastle. Helen is my PhD student and some of her PhD is based around her work in the clinic. She also works in the clinic one day per week supervising speech pathology students providing intelligibility enhancement to staff and students. They also support the students at ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students).

Helen brings a wide range of specialist skills to her role and studies. As well as being a speech pathologist, she has been an air traffic control standarization officer, and has learned  nine languages (Latin, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Polish, Mandarin, Hebrew). As part of her PhD Helen has already published two journal articles and has written an encyclopedia entry:
  • Blake, H. L. & McLeod, S. (2017, accepted for publication). Intelligibility enhancement. In M. J. Ball & J. S. Damico (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of human communication sciences and disorders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 
  • Blake, H. L., Bennetts Kneebone, L. & McLeod, S. (2017, in press). The effect of oral English proficiency on humanitarian migrants’ experiences of settling in Australia. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2017.1294557 
  • Blake, H. L., McLeod, S., Verdon, S. & Fuller, G. (2016, in press). The relationship between spoken English proficiency and participation in higher education, employment, and income from two Australian censuses. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi: 10.1080/17549507.2016.1229031
While I was visiting the University of Newcastle, I also gave a lecture to staff and students who were on campus and via video conference to clinical sites around Newcastle (and beyond). The attendees were enthusiastic about the free resources available on the Multilingual Children's Speech website.
Helen (at the far end of the table) with speech pathology students at the Speech Intelligibility Clinic
Some of the audience who attended my presentation at the University of Newcastle

April 25, 2017

Enjoying Sydney

While we were at the Speech Pathology Australia conference we had the opportunity to enjoy Luna Park for the Welcome Reception, Vivid, and the conference dinner.
Suzanne Hopf, Ben Pham, Sharynne, Anniek van Doornik, Pam Williams, Natasha at Vivid
Helen Blake at the Opera House
Gail Mulcair (CEO of Speech Pathology Australia), Sharynne, Ben Pham, Pam Williams, and Helen Blake at Luna Park

Defining authorship

I often have conversations with my students and colleagues about journal authorship. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors advice (below) is an updated version of the Vancouver Protocol and is found here: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/
"The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:
  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • 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."

April 24, 2017

Impact of our research: Use by Speech Pathology Australia and the Australian government

The work of the Charles Sturt University’s speech research team has been used by Speech Pathology Australia and in three Australian Government Senate Committees and Reports, one NSW Government Briefing paper, and one Australian Broadcasting Commmission site:
  1. Senate Community Affairs References Committee: Prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia Report (12/03/2015). Our research is identified in points 3.20, 3.21, 3.22, 3.31. 3.33 in Chapter 3 (also points 5.31 (McCormack et al.), 4.20 (Verdon et al.) in subsequent chapters) here. For example
    3.21 There have been some significant studies in Australia into the prevalence of speech and language disorders among children. In one of her submissions to the inquiry, Professor Sharynne McLeod of Charles Sturt University, summarised the findings of her study of 14 514 children across 44 schools in New South Wales.
  2. Education and Employment References Senate Committee (25/09/2015): Students with disability in the school system. Professor McLeod and Speech Pathology Australia President Dixon were invited to be interviewed and recorded in Hansard here 
    Subsequently, Speech Pathology Australia’s submission was identified in points 2.22, 2.35 of the Senate Education and Employment References Committee: Access to real learning: The impact of policy, funding and culture on students with disability—Report (January 2016) here
  3. Speech Pathology Australia also used the CSU research regarding prevalence and impact of communication difficulties in their submission to the Productivity Commission's Education Evidence Base Inquiry – Submission 35 here
    Speech Pathology Australia’s full submission is here
  4. Speech Pathology Australia also used our CSU research regarding prevalence and impact of communication difficulties in their submission to the NSW Parliamentary Committee addressing Students with a disability or special needs in New South Wales schools (2016-2017) here - Submission 125 is here
  5.  NSW Parliamentary Research Service Briefing Paper No 12/2015 NSW School Education: NAPLAN, Measurement and Performance here
    Point 9.8 Children with Speech and Language Problems (pp. 26-27) describes research undertaken by CSU researchers (Professor McLeod, Professor Harrison and Dr Wang) into the identification of children with speech and language and their academic outcomes on NAPLAN testing. 
  6. ABC Life at 7 Resources here include Risk factors associated with speech and language impairment at 4–5 years of age - Linda Harrison and Sharynne McLeod here

April 23, 2017

Literacy and citizenship: Learning to be literate in adulthood

The Island is a literary magazine that has teemed up with Rosie Martin (finalist for the 2017 Australian of the Year) to publish stories written by adults who have learned to read and write in adulthood (and many while in prison).
The link to The Island is here
The January 2017 issue containing the adults' stories is here.
Rosie's powerful opening article describes the importance of literacy for citizenship.

April 22, 2017

Reviewing ASHA convention submissions

My PhD students, postdocs and I are on different committees for the 2017 ASHA convention. Thc Convention Program Committees are listed here. Here are the committees we are on:
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity - Helen Blake, Sharynne McLeod, Ben Pham 
  • Speech Sound Disorders - Anna Cronin, Sarah Masso 
  • Global Issues - Suzanne Hopf 
This year 3,132 abstracts were submitted, and the review process commenced this week. It is interesting to see the papers that have been proposed.

April 21, 2017

Assessment in early childhood education and care settings: How, what and why?

Last night, a panel of presenters from the University of Waikato and Charles Sturt University spoke about their research and invited discussion about current directions in the assessment of young children’s learning and wellbeing in Australia, New Zealand and internationally. It was well attended by early childhood educators and speech pathologists from across the region.

L-R: Linda Harrison, Sharynne McLeod, Sandie Wong, Linda Mitchell, Audrey Wang, Tamara Cumming, Jayne White

Here are the details of the panelists and presentations:

Chair: Linda Harrison, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University

Linda Mitchell, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Waikato 
Supporting competence and continuity through democratic assessment practices 
Assessment is a value-laden activity that has both constructive and destructive potential. Linda will draw on a recent research study on continuity of early learning, to argue that assessment practices that have democracy in mind will include the views of those being assessed, build a culture of success, and be open to contribution from children, families and community.

Jayne White, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Waikato 
"If it don't fit don't force it": Disrupting assessment discourse with under threes 
In the absence of a well-defined pedagogy, and in consideration of the unique developmental needs for this age group, this presentation argues that contemporary assessment practices may not serve under three year olds well. Based on a series of studies undertaken over the past five years Jayne will highlight some challenges NZ teachers face in this regard. She will pose an argument for a more disruptive engagement with learning where infants and toddlers are involved; and its potential contribution (and challenge) to contemporary assessment practice.

Sharynne McLeod, Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition, Charles Sturt University 
Giving children a sound start: Assessing children's speech and language 
Identification of speech and language difficulties in early childhood facilitates early intervention that may prevent long-term difficulties with communication, literacy, numeracy, and socialisation. This presentation will draw on three large-scale Australian studies (Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Sound Effects Study, and Sound Start Study) to demonstrate that parent and teacher concern regarding children’s speech and language competence is correlated with clinical assessments by speech pathologists and links to children’s academic and socio-emotional outcomes at school.

Audrey Wang, Research Fellow, and Tamara Cummings, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University 
Tracking progress towards school readiness. How do educators make a difference to children’s learning? What difference can educators’ practice make? 
Early childhood educators’ practice is key to children’s learning in preschool settings. But, how do educators make a difference to children’s learning? And, what difference does their practice make to children’s learning? In this presentation Audrey and Tamara discuss the benefits of using a mixed methods approach to illuminate these questions. With reference to a recently-completed study with preschools in Orange, NSW, Audrey will discuss the use of standardised assessment tools to generate evidence for what difference educators’ practice can make to children’s learning. Tamara will discuss how practitioner inquiry helped make visible some of the ways educators believed they were contributing to what was learned.

Discussant: Sandie Wong, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University and Industry Fellow, National Lead Practice Research, Goodstart Early Learning

April 13, 2017

Bathurst speech pathologists' dinner

Last night some of the local speech pathologists met for dinner. I really enjoyed chatting with my colleagues, including our newest Bathurst speech pathologists, Ally Barrett and Chris Ferrito (who began working in Bathurst two days ago).
Autumn has arrived in Bathurst

April 12, 2017

PhDs via distance education

All but one of my PhD students are undertaking their PhDs full time via distance education. This is possible with the use of technology - and a level of creativity. I meet virtually with each of my students for 2 hours per week - plus we send numerous emails in between. Below are some photos of student meetings today. Nicole (in rural Victoria) met with her co-supervisor Kate Crowe (in USA) and myself. Then Helen (in Newcastle) met with her co-supervisor Sarah Verdon (in Albury) and myself. Isn't technology fantastic!

April 11, 2017

The typical Australian in 2016: First data from the latest Australian census

In my work on multilingual Australia I often quote the census data. The first data from the 2016 Australian census has been released and has been presented by the ABC here:
According to the article:
The typical Australian "is a 38-year-old woman who was born in Australia, has English ancestry, is married with two kids, lives in a home she owns and has finished Year 12"
"The profile of the typical Indigenous Australian is younger again — just 23 years of age"
"According to the ABS, the typical Australian migrant was born in England and is 44 years old — but that varies when examined on a state-by-state basis.

The typical migrant in Victoria is from India, while in Queensland they are from New Zealand and in New South Wales he or she is from China.

While the typical Australian has two parents born in Australia, in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia at least one parent was born overseas."
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics "Most data from the 2016 Census will be available in QuickStats on 27 June 2017"

Children drawing talking in Jamaica

This morning I had a video conference with Dr Karla Washington and Corrine Dutenberg from the University of Cincinnati. Corrine has received a summer scholarship to work with Karla to analyze over 200 drawings from Jamaican preschool children. The children were asked to draw themselves talking to someone. They were also asked to complete the Speech Participation and Activity Assessment - Children (SPAA-C, McLeod, 2004). Their research will be informed by Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I look forward to seeing the results from their research.
Corrine Dutenberg and Dr Karla Washington

April 7, 2017

IJSLP special issue titled Communication is a human right: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I am editing a special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology to be published in 2018. The issue will be titled: "Communication is a human right: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
The call for expressions of interest has gone out this week and is here
Here is the summary
In 2018 the world will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/). Article 19 supports communication as a human right and states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology will join the world in celebrating the 70th anniversary of this important document by publishing a special issue acknowledging that communication is a human right and exploring issues surrounding this claim.

Expressions of interest are sought from authors across the world in a variety of disciplines including (but not restricted to) speech-language pathology, linguistics, disability, multilingualism, law, journalism, literature, and communications.
The email conversations I have had to date with potential authors has been very exciting.

April 5, 2017

Who reads our papers?

When a journal article is published online, the journals track the views, downloads and social media attention generated from the article. During March, Graham Daniel and I had the following article published:
Daniel, G. R. & McLeod, S. (2017). Children with speech sound disorders at school: Challenges for children, parents and teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(2), 81-101. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol42/iss2/6 
In the past month it has been downloaded 91 times in the following locations across the world (even in Kazakhstan!).

Lecturing dentistry students

This morning I lectured year 5 Charles Sturt University dentistry students: Considering speech, language and communication: An overview for dentists. The lecture was in two parts:
1. People with speech, language, and communication needs
2. Oromusculature for speech
The students were located across five CSU campuses and attended the class via videoconference. I enjoyed talking with this dedicated group of students who will be practicing dentists by the end of the year.

April 4, 2017

Children with speech sound disorders are in the news

The Age newspaper has just published a story titled: "Nearly a third of preschool teachers overlook common speech disorder, study finds" based on our recent journal article titled: "Speech sound disorders in preschool children: correspondence between clinical diagnosis and teacher and parent report" published in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties.
Our journal article is here
The Age story is here
It has been repeated in a number of other Australian papers:
The Sydney Morning Herald story is here
The Canberra Times story is here
The Courier story is here
The Early Learning Review interviewed me for a related story here
The Education Today story is here
The Parent Hub story is here
Dr Caroline Bowen's tweet about the story is here
The Charles Sturt University news release is here