August 27, 2017

Papers selected for inclusion in ASHA self-study program

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association contacted us recently to indicate that two of our papers will be included in a self-study program about speech sound disorders. ASHA has indicated "self-studies are comprised of recent journal articles around a specific topic and allow ASHA members to earn CEs [continuing education units] while reading current research". The two selected articles are:

August 25, 2017

International Composium on Communication Disorders in Multilingual-Multicultural Populations

Between the 24th and 25th August 2017, the 5th International Composium on Communication Disorders in Multilingual-Multicultural Populations of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) is being held at the City University of Applied Sciences Bremen (HSB) in Bremen, Germany. Helen Blake, Sarah Verdon and Kate Crowe are attending.
Franklin, Sarah, Helen and Kate in Bremen

Their presentations are:
  • Blake, H. L., Bennetts-Kneebone, L., & McLeod, S. - Humanitarian Migrants’ English Language Proficiency, Self-sufficiency and Integration 
  • Crowe, K., McLeod, S. & Carty, B. - Multilingual Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Learners: Languages, Choices, and Outcomes 
  • Verdon, S. - Pathways towards Cultural Competence: The Efficacy of Professional Development Workshops in Creating Positive and Sustained Changes to Practice 
  • Verdon, S. & Zeidler, D. - Supporting Indigenous Children’s Early Communication Development through the Co-Creation of Community-Led Services

Speech Pathology Week 2017

This week is Speech Pathology Week, and the theme this year is communication access.

Here is a cartoon created by the Victorian branch of Speech Pathology Australia to explain communication access:
The Bathurst speech pathologists celebrated Speech Pathology Week by going out to dinner together.
Dinner with the Bathurst speech pathologists to celebrate Speech Pathology Week

August 23, 2017

Associate editor of Speech, Language and Hearing

Dr Kate Crowe will begin her term as associate editor of Speech, Language and Hearing on 1st September. Congratulations Kate.

Nicole's PhD endorsement session

Today Nicole McGill presented her PhD endorsement session (a week after Anna Cronin's endorsement session). Nicole's PhD topic is: ‘Wait’ lifting: Active waiting for services by children with speech and language difficulties and her abstract is below.

Kate Crowe and I were her proud supervisors as she presented her research to an expert panel. While Nicole and most of the panel were in Bathurst, Kate dialed in from Germany for the presentation and  other members of the audience dialed in from across Australia.
Abstract: Children with speech and language difficulties typically wait for up to 12 months for speech-language pathology services in Australia, meaning that they may miss out on the benefits of early intervention. One of three areas of concern highlighted in the 2014 Australian Government Senate Inquiry into speech-language pathology services was “the long waiting lists in the public system” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014, p. 5). In other areas of health care, individuals can experience feelings of stress, fear, and disempowerment while waiting. There is a lack of research around speech-language pathology waiting lists, including the experiences and impact that waiting has on children and families, how children are prioritised on waiting lists, and how to best support children and families on waiting lists. The proposed research comprises five studies aimed to address these gaps. Study 1 will explore experiences of waiting for speech-language pathology through analysing public submissions to the 2014 Australian Government Senate Inquiry. Study 2 will explore the experiences of parents/caregivers of children who have been on waiting lists for speech-language pathology. Study 3 will investigate how speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Australia prioritise and support children with speech and language difficulties and their families on waiting lists. Study 4 will involve the development of an evidence-based, parent-friendly active waiting website to provide practical strategies and support to those on speech-language pathology waiting lists. Study 5 will compare the effectiveness of providing the website to families (intervention condition: active waiting) and standard practice (control condition: passive waiting) using a randomised controlled trial design. The findings of this research will inform practice regarding appropriate care for children and their families who are waiting for services, and empower children and families to engage in active waiting.

Nicole practiced her endorsement session with the Bathurst and Dubbo speech pathologists

Achievement, language, and technology use among college-bound deaf learners

Today Kate Crowe's first publication from her Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship was published online. Congratulations Kate!

Crowe, K., Marschark, M., Dammeyer, J., & Lehane, C. (in press). Achievement, language, and technology use among college-bound deaf learners. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. doi:10.1093/deafed/enx029 
Here is the abstract:
Deaf learners are a highly heterogeneous group who demonstrate varied levels of academic achievement and attainment. Most prior research involving this population has focused on factors facilitating academic success in young deaf children, with less attention paid to older learners. Recent studies, however, have suggested that while factors such as early cochlear implantation and early sign language fluency are positively associated with academic achievement in younger deaf children, they no longer predict achievement once children reach high school age. This study, involving data from 980 college-bound high school students with hearing loss, examined relations between academic achievement, communication variables (audiological, language), and use of assistive technologies (e.g., cochlear implants [CIs], FM systems) and other support services (e.g., interpreting, real-time text) in the classroom. Spoken language skills were positively related to achievement in some domains, while better sign language skills were related to poorer achievement in others. Among these college-bound students, use of CIs and academic support services in high school accounted for little variability in their college entrance examination scores. 

August 22, 2017

Research meeting with colleagues from Bathurst, Dubbo and Victoria

Today our NSW Health Translational Research Grant team met at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst to plan our protocols, ethics application, and other aspects of the grant.
Our grant, titled Waiting for speech pathology: Device versus advice? was announced here and here and has two components.
1. Development of a website
2. Comparison between the advice, device, therapy, and control conditions.
This was the first time the whole team had met face-to-face (+ a video link with our colleagues in Victoria). It was a really productive day.
Sally Thornton, Katrina Rohr, Angela Roberts, Emily Davis, Kate Miller,
Nicole McGill and Sharynne
Cath Teskera, Nicole McGill, and Carolynne Winbanks in Victoria
The team hard at work

August 21, 2017

Assessment of Children as Effective Communicators in Early Childhood Education and Care

It has been great to work with a team from Charles Sturt University (led by Sarah Verdon) to submit the following government report:
Verdon, S., Mackenzie, N., McLeod, S., Davidson, C., Masso, S., Verdon, L., & Edwards-Groves, C. (2017). Assessment of children as effective communicators in early childhood education and care: Literature review. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

This resource for early childhood professionals and will be profiled on the VCAA website

Here is the executive summary
The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF, State of Victoria Department of Education, 2016) targets five key learning outcomes. This report contains a review of the fifth outcome: children are effective communicators. The development of communication skills begins at birth and is integral to a child’s self-expression, wellbeing, identity, sense of agency and capacity to make friends (State of Victoria Department of Education, 2016). Therefore, communication skills are essential for developing confident and creative individuals who can effectively navigate and participate in life in the twenty-first century and beyond. The following principles for assessing communicative competence have been identified in this review to inform practice:
1. Effective assessment of communication requires a clearly defined purpose.
2. A range of assessments may be required to develop a clear understanding of a child’s strengths and challenges since communication is multifaceted (including but not limited to speaking, listening, reading and writing).
3. Communication assessment can use both formal and informal methods.
4. Assessment of communication considers all languages and communication systems used by a child to gain a holistic understanding of a child’s communicative competence.
5. Effective assessment of communication is based on the input of multiple stakeholders including parents, early childhood professionals, health professionals and children.
6. Assessment of communication considers functionality and participation, not only competence in comparison to adult targets.
7. Assessment of communication is an opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration.
A range of tools available to support early childhood professionals in their assessment of children’s communication have been identified within this review. These tools were selected to address the each of the key components of children as competent communicators across the full range of communicative skills that children develop from birth to eight years. Nineteen following tools to support early childhood professionals’ assessment of children’s communication are reviewed in this report.
The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive resource for early childhood professionals seeking to assess the communication of the children they work with. The review identifies appropriate communication assessment tools for use by early childhood professionals and outlines the areas of communication development that are addressed by the tools. The review provides an overview of the purpose and features of each tool and a discussion of its usefulness in assessing children’s communication. Early identification of communication needs is essential to supporting children’s long-term social and educational outcomes. It is hoped that this document will empower early childhood professionals with the knowledge to identify areas of children’s communication in need of assessment and the resources to confidently undertake these assessments.