September 28, 2017

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' (RCSLT) Conference in Glasgow

The 2017 RCSLT conference is in Glasgow over the next two days. There are over 500 attendees from 6 countries, 4 keynotes, 71 presentations, 14 workshops, and 110 posters.

I really enjoyed the presentation from  Rt Hon John Bercow MP where he said that the Bercow Review (2008) was "the most stimulating and rewarding project" he has undertaken prior to becoming Speaker of the House of Commons.
Rt Hon John Bercow MP

I am co-presenting the following papers:
  1. Sound Start Study: A Community-based Randomized Controlled Trial of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter • Yvonne Wren (Speech and Language Research Unit, Bristol) • Sharynne McLeod (Charles Sturt University) • Elise Baker (The University of Sydney) • Jane McCormack (Charles Sturt University) • Kate Crowe (Charles Sturt University) • Sarah Masso (Charles Sturt University) • Sue Roulstone (University of the West of England) 
  2. The Current Practices of UK Speech and Language Therapists: Phonological Intervention Approaches and Dosages• Natalie Hegarty (Ulster University) • Jill Titterington (Ulster University) • Sharynne McLeod (Charles Sturt University) • Laurence Taggart (Ulster University)
 It has been a great opportunity for networking with colleagues from the UK and around the world.
Yvonne Wren presenting our paper on the Sound Start Study
Prof Julie Marshall (Manchester Metropolitan University), Helen Barrett (Rwanda),
Sharynne, Prof Sue Roulstone (Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit)
Natalie Hegarty, Dr Jill Titterington (University of Ulster), and Sharynne

Visiting Scotland

I have Scottish ancestry, so I really enjoy visiting Scotland.
I  have enjoyed the soaking up the architecture and design of Glasgow, particularly the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Willow Tea Rooms
The RCSLT conference was held at the SEC - and the view each morning was quite spectacular.
While in Scotland I have benefited from the hospitality of colleagues including Professor Jim Scobbie and Professor Alan Wrench from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Dr Joanne Cleland from University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Kirsty, Joanne, Sharynne, Jim and Alan

RCSLT Child Speech Disorder Research Network

I was invited to join the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Child Speech Disorder Research Network meeting at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.  It was a dynamic meeting of researchers from across the UK who are passionate about working in the field of children's speech.

Twitter post from CSDR Network
Child Speech Disorder Research Network

September 27, 2017

Anna's presentation at the Early Start Conference

Anna Cronin attended the Early Start Conference in Wollongong in September. She presented a poster titled: Optimising the Communication and Wellbeing of Toddlers with Cleft Palate: Practices Across Four Continents.
Here is the abstract:
Children born with a cleft palate (+/- cleft lip) can have difficulties communicating, eating, and participating in environments such as early childhood education. Cleft palate is a congenital condition that results from the segments of the face failing to fuse during early embryological development. Surgery to repair the cleft generally occurs in the first year of life; however, it can impact on children’s psychological and social functioning, and that of their family, for many years after. Having a cleft palate may impact a child’s speech sound acquisition (i.e., reduced speech intelligibility), velopharyngeal function (i.e., reduced speech acceptability), or both. Over the past decade, research has been undertaken to examine the early speech development of children with cleft palate. Given that children with cleft palate are at increased risk of speech sound disorders, and that these patterns/sound preferences emerge before their first words, there is continued interest in early intervention for toddlers and pre-schoolers with cleft palate. This project was undertaken to gather resources and strategies to support toddlers with cleft palate and their families. This was done with a view to maximising their speech outcomes, and in turn their well-being and social inclusion.
METHOD The first author received a Churchill Fellowship, and arranged visits to twelve experts working with children with cleft palate and their families. Sites were chosen based on the experts’ experience, published research, and/or interest in early speech intervention. The experts worked in six sites in Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand, and US. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a topic guide developed after consultation of the literature, and discussion with colleagues and team members. Artefacts were collected to gain a greater understanding of the centres’ practices. Data were also collected through the observation of intervention sessions and multidisciplinary clinics. The interviews were then transcribed verbatim. The interviews, artefacts and observations were analysed qualitatively using inductive and deductive analysis based on a priori categories/themes identified during the planning of the research.
RESULTS There were consistent findings/recommendations across settings, despite the varied languages spoken, access to services, type of surgical repair, and approaches to intervention. Assessment: Monitor early language development, track speech over time (audio recordings), use consistent stimuli for speech samples, and use a developmental screener (track across developmental domains). Intervention: Provide parents with early speech and language development information, use principles and knowledge of typical speech acquisition norms when interpreting speech assessment data for young children with cleft palate, apply innovative models of care (e.g., speech therapy camps, collaborative care with primary SLPs and video feedback of parents in sessions)
DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION Cross-cultural similarities and differences regarding support for toddlers with cleft palate were found. These practices advocated by 12 international experts can be used to generate future research questions and provide expert evidence regarding service delivery for toddlers with cleft palate from around the world, to ensure the best speech outcomes for them, and as a result improved participation and social inclusion.

September 22, 2017

Languages spoken in the UK

The participants in yesterday's seminar at the University of Sheffield shared two websites from the 2011 census outlining languages spoken in the UK:
 Some key points:
"English (or Welsh in Wales) was the main language for 92% of UK residents. Of the remaining 8% who had a different main language, the majority could speak English "well" or "very well". People who couldn’t speak English "well" or "at all" had a lower proportion of "good" general health than those with English as their main language."
  • The top 10 languages spoken are: Polish, Panjabi, Urdu, Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya), Gujarati, Arabic, French, All other Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish
  • The top 10 languages spoken by people who are proficient in English are: Afrikaans, Welsh (in England only), Swedish, Danish, Northern European language (non EU), Shona, Finnish, German, Dutch, Tagalog/Filipino
  • The top 10 languages spoken by people who are less proficient in English are: Gypsy/Traveller languages, Pakistani Pahari (with Mirpuri and Potwari), Vietnamese, Cantonese Chinese, Yiddish, Panjabi, Romani language (any), Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya), Turkish, Latvian

Visiting the University of Sheffield

I am visiting the University of Sheffield in the UK at the moment. Today I presented a seminar titled: "Multilingual children's speech: A world tour" and met with colleagues (including Blanca Schaefer, Silke Fricke and Jenny Thomson). Tomorrow I will examine a PhD.
Dr Blanca Schaefer and Sharynne at The University of Sheffield
Some of the audience after my presentation

September 21, 2017

International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics website

The International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics website recently has been updated and includes a link to the Powerpoint presentation I made about the history of ICPLA:
The next ICPLA conference will be held in Malta in October 2018.

September 20, 2017

Tutorial: Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in young children

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication. This is the last paper to be published from Sarah Masso's PhD. Congratulations Sarah!

Masso, S., McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2017, in press). Tutorial: Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in young children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Here is the abstract:
Purpose: Polysyllables, words of three or more syllables, represent almost 30% of words used in American English. The purpose of this tutorial is to support speech-language pathologists’ assessment and analysis of polysyllables extending the focus of published assessment tools that focus on sampling and analysing children’s segmental accuracy and/or the presence of phonological patterns.
Method: This tutorial will guide SLPs through a review of 53 research papers that have explored the use of polysyllables in assessment, including the sampling and analysis procedures used in different research studies. The tutorial will also introduce two new tools to analyse and interpret polysyllable speech samples: the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a) and the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity (Framework, Masso, 2016b).
Results: Connected speech and single-word sampling tasks were used across the 53 studies to elicit polysyllables and a number of analysis methods were reported including measures of segmental accuracy and measures of structural and suprasegmental accuracy. The WAP and the Framework extend SLPs’ depth of analysis of polysyllables.
Conclusion: SLPs need a range of clinical tools to support the assessment and analysis of polysyllables. A case study comparing different speech analysis methods demonstrates the clinical value in utilizing the WAP and the Framework to interpret children’s polysyllable productions in addition to traditional methods of speech sampling and analysis.

September 19, 2017

Children's speech acquisition in Vietnamese and Cantonese

Today Ben Pham presented a paper titled "Acquisition of consonants, vowels and tones by children in Northern Viet Nam" at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference of Speech, Language, and Hearing (APCSLH) in Narita, Japan.
Sharynne, Ben Pham and A/Prof Kathy Lee from Chinese University of Hong Kong
Ben's work has been informed by a paper by A/Prof Carol To from the University of Hong Kong published in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research in 2013. Ben and Carol have had a number of opportunities to discuss their work while in Japan. Such collaboration and sharing strengthens research quality.
A/Prof Carol To (University of Hong Kong) and Ben Pham discussing
Cantonese and Vietnamese children's speech acquisition

September 17, 2017

Asia Pacific Conference of Speech, Language, and Hearing

The 10th Asia Pacific Conference of Speech, Language, and Hearing (APCSLH) is being held in Narita, Japan on 17-19 September.  There are 450+ attendees from 18 countries and 82 papers and 174 posters are being presented. I am presenting an invited paper and Ben Phạm is presenting two papers:
  • McLeod, S. - Identifying children with speech sound disorders across languages (invited)
  • Phạm, B., McLeod, S. & Harrison, L. J. - Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale with preschool children in Ha Noi, Viet Nam 
  • Phạm, B. & McLeod, S. - Acquisition of consonants, vowels and tones by children in Northern Viet Nam 
Keynote speakers include Dr Lilly Cheng,  Dr Loraine Ramig (LSVT),
and Dr Patty Prelock from USA
We are having a wonderful time networking with people from across the Asia Pacific region.
Vietnamese colleagues: Dr Sally Hewat, Sharynne, Mrs Loan, Ms Thanh,
Ben Pham, Sarah Day, Dr Cuong
Hong Kong colleagues: A/Prof Carol To, A/Prof Kathy Lee (with her new
Cantonese Spoken Word Recognition Test), Sharynne and Ben Pham
Taiwan/USA colleague: Sharynne, Prof. Lilly Cheng, Ben Pham
Thai colleagues: A/Prof Sumalai Maroonroge and Prof. Benjamas Prathanee
Ben Pham and I had fun at the Japanese cultural centre organised by the conference

September 16, 2017

Enjoying traditional Japanese culture

Ben Pham and I are in Japan to attend the conference for the Asia Pacific Society for the Study of Speech, Language and Hearing. Today we enjoyed the culture of Japan before the conference began and we were fortunate that the Narita Traditional Performing Arts Festival was on. What a spectacle of colour and sound, with people of all ages celebrating Japanese culture.

September 10, 2017

Sarah M's Endeavour Postdoctoral Scholarship in Newfoundland, Canada

Sarah Masso is currently in Newfoundland, Canada on her Endeavour Postdoctoral Scholarship. She is working with A/Prof Yvan Rose at Memorial University of Newfoundland for 4 months. Her project is titled: Developing innovative technology for speech pathologists. Here are her aims:
This Endeavour postdoctoral program will make the comprehensive analysis software (Phon) available for speech pathologists to save them time, money, and resources. A user-friendly interface for Phon will reduce technology barriers hindering speech pathologists’ engagement with this technology. The two key aims for this research are to work with Associate Professor Yvan Rose (linguist and Phon author) to: (1) design an interface for Phon appropriate for speech pathologists internationally, (2) incorporate clinically-useful features, including the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (Masso, 2016), within Phon.
Sarah's first day
Sarah picked local blueberries
Jellybean houses

September 8, 2017

NZSTA homepage

The current NZSTA homepage photo ( was taken immediately after my masterclass workshop last year at the NZSTA conference (I am at the back on the right). It's lovely to be reminded of this dynamic group of participants.

September 6, 2017

Research Roundtables at the ASHA Convention

I have been invited (and have accepted) to host a table on International Research Collaborations at the 20th annual Research Roundtables at the 2017 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Los Angeles in November. Here is what ASHA says it entails:
ASHA invites early-career and experienced researchers to network and discuss research career topics at the Annual Research Roundtables at the ASHA Convention. Researchers, including students interested in research careers, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty, will have the opportunity to meet and learn from experienced researchers and funding agency staff.
Well-established researchers will facilitate discussions on numerous topics related to starting, maintaining, and managing research careers. Researchers at all career stages will find topics of interest ranging from pursuing a PhD, to securing research funding, to interdisciplinary research.

September 5, 2017

Research collaborations

Charles Sturt University has new software to document and compile our research. One fascinating tool displays collaborations. It is great to see how many people I have been able to collaborate with over the past few years to write research! I have a number of papers currently in press - so the line thickness will change for some of my collaborators soon.

September 4, 2017

Cultural immersion field trip to Wahluu (Mt Panorama)

Today Ben Phạm and I joined Charles Sturt University teacher education students on their the cultural immersion field trip to Wahluu (Mt Panorama). Local Wiradjuri Elders, Uncle Brian and Uncle Bill, and other Wiradjuri knowledge holders explained the significance of Wahluu, songlines, and ceremonies. They showed us the V trees that indicate significant areas and the stones showing the pathways. They also showed us other important stones for grinding, using as plates, and sacred customs that were gathered up without permission and made into a cottage in 1939. The women's sacred area has now been fenced off for new construction. It was sobering to see the impact our community has had on Wiradjuri customs and history. Here is an extract from a local history website:
"Bora rings were located on key sites like Wahlu (Mount Panorama) where initiations and other important ceremonies were held. The caretaker’s cottage in McPhillamy Park is believed to be constructed from the stones of three bora rings where, for thousands of years, the Wiradjuri held initiations and corroborees." (
V tree
The women's area is no longer accessable
Wiradjuri plates for ceremonial feasts were used as a vent in the cottage wall
Ceremonial stones were gathered up and made into the caretaker’s cottage in McPhillamy Park in 1939

International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech

The International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech​ is being held on 4-7 September 2017 in Chania [xa'ɲa] on the island of Crete, Greece.
Sarah Verdon and Helen Blake are presenting the following papers:
  • Blake, H. L., McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. - A retrospective record review of multilingual speakers seeking intelligibility enhancement in Australia 
  • Verdon, S. - The longitudinal relationship between speech disorders and children’s global development.
I am a member of the 2017 ISMBS International Scientific Committee.
Sarah Verdon and Helen Blake at the ISMBS conference
Helen Blake, Elena Babatsouli (ISMBS conference chair), Sarah Verdon
Helen Blake's presentation

September 2, 2017

Multilingual Children's Speech website visitors for August

Last month (August) there were 2,852 page views for the Multilingual Children's Speech website and 26.1% were new users. The most popular page was the Intelligibility in Context Scale followed by the Speech Assessments page. People from 73 different countries viewed the site during the month, with the top 10 countries being:
  • United States - 43.05%
  • Australia - 25.43%
  • Canada - 4.23%
  • United Kingdom - 3.20%
  • India - 2.95%
  • Netherlands - 2.37%
  • Germany - 1.79%
  • Philippines - 1.15%
  • Singapore - 1.02%
  • New Zealand - 0.96% 
I have no idea how Google analytics works this out, but 88.4% were female. The most common age group was 25-34 (35%) with 1.8% being over 65 years.
Since November 2012 the site has had 117,409 page views.