May 31, 2018

Enriching and encouraging time with our team in Adelaide

My team of PhD students, postdocs and graduated students all live in different cities (i.e., they undertake their studies and research by distance), so we have enjoyed meeting together at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference in Adelaide this week. Throughout the conference we have had many opportunities to support one another. Today, after the conference concluded, we met with the keynote speakers Professors Ron Gillam and Sandi Gillam from USA. During our meeting each PhD student outlined her research and there was a lot of enriching and encouraging discussion. Next week, we are back to seeing one another via videoconference.

Prof Sharynne McLeod, Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Jane McCormack, Helen Blake, Van Tran, Ben Pham, Nicole McGill, Michelle Brown
Dr Michelle Brown, Dr Van Tran, Ben Pham, Dr Sarah Verdon, Helen Blake, Dr Jane McCormack, Nicole McGill
Ben Pham, Van Tran, Dr Jane McCormack, Nicole McGill, Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Sarah Masso, Prof Ron Gillam, Prof Sandi Gillam, Helen Blake, Michelle Brown, Prof Sharynne McLeod
Sharynne, Nicole and Michelle at the conference dinner

May 30, 2018

Focus on Vietnam at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference

This week at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference there were many papers and events about Vietnamese and Vietnam. In the program were a number of papers presented by Vietnamese and Australian authors, including a paper by Ben Phạm and myself titled "Vietnamese children’s speech acquisition: A normative cross-sectional study." The Trinh Foundation held a fundraising stall and dinner, and there were many other opportunities to discuss our VietSpeech research.
Ben Pham, Sarah Verdon, Chyrisse Heine, Sharynne McLeod, Dien Le
Lindy McAllister, Dien Le, Ben Pham, Van Tran, Sharynne McLeod
Trinh Foundation Dinner: Cathy Easton, Sarah Verdon, Sarah Masso, Helen Blake, Gwendalyn Webb, Ben Pham
Dr Van Tran, Gaenor Dixon (SPA President), Ben Pham, Gail Mulcair (SPA CEO)

Speech Pathology Australia National Conference - Adelaide

This week the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference is in Adelaide.
Our team are presenting a number of papers and posters, including:
  1. Baker, E., Williams, A. L., McLeod, S. & McCauley, R. J. – There are so many different phonological intervention approaches: What’s the difference? 
  2. Blake, H. L., McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. – Multilingual university students’ perceptions of the impact of English proficiency and intelligibility on participation. (e-poster) 
  3. Blake, H. L., Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. – Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their English intelligibility. 
  4. McGill, N., McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018). ‘Wait’ lifting: Development of a website to facilitate active waiting for speech pathology. 
  5. McGill, N., & McLeod, S. (2018). The theory of preparative waiting: A framework for considering parents’ experiences of waiting for speech pathology services. (poster) 
  6. McLeod, S. – Communication rights: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  7. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C., & Verdon, S. – Academic outcomes for Indigenous Australian children whose parents were concerned about their speech and language in early childhood. 
  8. Phạm, B., & McLeod, S. – Vietnamese children’s speech acquisition: A normative cross-sectional study. 
  9. Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s access to and engagement in speech and language treatment. 
Past and present members of our team who are attending are: Helen Blake, Ben Phạm, Nicole McGill, Dr Van Tran, Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Sarah Masso and Dr Jane McCormack.
Nicole McGill presenting her paper
Dr Sarah Verdon presenting her paper
Dr Elise Baker, Dr Caroline Bowen, Prof Sharynne McLeod
Nicole McGill (3rd from left) presenting her poster with Dr Diane Jacobs, Dr Jane McCormack, Prof Sharynne McLeod
Prof Sharynne McLeod and Ben Pham
Dr Sarah Verdon, Prof Sharynne McLeod, Helen Blake

May 29, 2018

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference

Today at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference I presented a short plenary talk titled "Communication rights: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". At the conclusion of the talk, we took a photograph of the audience showing their support for communication rights by holding up postcards with #SpeakUp4CommRights and details of the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (volume 20, issue 1) that contains 31 open access papers discussing communication as a human right.

One of the papers in the special issue is by Dr Jane McCormack, Dr Elise Baker and Dr Kate Crowe who are presenting a paper at the SPA conference about their work and have written a blog post published by the Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE):
A/Prof Anne Whitworth, Prof Kirrie Ballard (Editors of IJSLP), Dr Elise Baker, Dr Jane McCormack, Prof Sharynne McLeod

May 25, 2018

CSU promotes the conclusion of Dr Kate Crowe's Fulbright Scholarship

Today, Charles Sturt University media have released a statement celebrating the end of Dr Kate Crowe's Fulbright Scholarship. The statement is here. Congratulations Kate.

May 22, 2018

Welcoming more visitors

Today we had two more visitors in Bathurst. First, Professor Linda Harrison, who has moved to Macquarie University, was back in Bathurst to work with her PhD students and research assistants. Later in the day David Fitzsimons, the head speech pathologist in the cleft palate clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead popped in unexpectedly. It has been great to catch up.
Sharynne, Ben Pham, Linda Harrison, Audrey Wang, Wendy Alexander
David Fitzsimons

May 10, 2018

VietSpeech project update

Over the past few months have been working hard on our VietSpeech project. We have:
  • Created a new website
  • Submitted our ethics application to the Charles Sturt University Human Ethics Committee
  • Undertaken a systematic literature review to consider factors related to language maintenance
  • Created a questionnaire to consider Vietnamese-Australian families’ linguistic multi-competence and language maintenance
  • Discussed our research with the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech
  • Undertaken recruitment for our VietSpeech postdoc position
  • Had a paper accepted about children's speech acquisition in 27 languages 
  •  ... and lots more.
Dr Sarah Verdon and Sharynne meeting in Albury in May

May 7, 2018

Teaching students to work with children with speech sound disorders

This semester I am teaching year 2 speech pathology students at Charles Sturt University the subject SPH201: Speech Impairment in Children and Dr Michelle Brown is running the tutorials. Most weeks I am in Bathurst and teach the class via video conference while they are 5.5 hours away in Albury. Today, I spent 5 hours with the class face-to-face in Albury. We covered phonological and motor speech interventions. We drew on chapters 13 and 14 of Children's Speech (McLeod & Baker, 2017) as well as the chapters and videos from Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children (Williams, McLeod & McCauley, 2010). I was so impressed at the interest and committment of the class.

May 5, 2018

Visitors from Germany

Yesterday Irmhild Preisinger and Eiko visited Charles Sturt University and Bathurst during their 8-day visit to Australia. Irmhild has studied a Masters degree in speech-language pathology with my colleague Professor Annette Fox-Boyer at Europäische Fachhochschule Rhein/European University of Applied Sciences EUAS, Rostock, Germany. It was great to show them around the campus and city.
Irmhild and Sharynne with German speech assessments
Irmhild and Eiko enjoying meeting the kangaroos behind the university

May 3, 2018

Impact of listener familiarity and speech competence on parent ratings using the Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication.
van Doornik, A., Gerrits, E., McLeod, S., & Terband, H. (2018, in press April). Impact of listener familiarity and speech competence on parent ratings using the Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Online access is here: 

It forms a part of Anniek van Doornik's PhD studied through Utrecht University in the Netherlands (I am a co-supervisor). She presented this work at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference last May in Sydney.

Here is the abstract
Purpose: This study investigated the effect of listeners’ familiarity on parents’ judgements of intelligibility of children with and without speech sound disorders (SSD).
Method: Participants were 67 Dutch-speaking children (48-84 months), 48 children with typically-developing speech (TD), and 19 with SSD. Item scores on the parent-rated Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch (ICS-NL) were compared between groups and related to naive listeners’ measurement of intelligibility (Intelligibility Rating, IR), and percentage of consonants correct-adjusted (PCC-A).
Result: Statistical analysis yielded a significant Group x Familiarity interaction on the ICS-NL items. Familiarity influenced the judgment of items representing close relationships in the SSD group more than in the TD group, resulting in relatively higher ratings in the SSD group. In the SSD group, stronger correlations were found between IR and the ICS-NL item scores that represented less familiarity. In contrast, PCC-A was only correlated with the item reflecting the least familiarity (strangers).
Conclusion: Children are more intelligible with people in close relationships due to familiarity with their child’s speech, so children’s relationships should be considered in clinical practice with respect to communicative participation. Since PCC-A was not influenced by familiarity, it may not be a reliable predictor of participation in family and community life.

May 1, 2018

Teaching ESS419: Principles of Inclusive Education

Today I had the opportunity to give a lecture about children with speech, language and communication needs to the Charles Sturt University teacher education students (K-12) in their subject ESS419: Principles of Inclusive Education.
Two of the resources we discussed were:
  • Speech Pathology Australia (2017). Speech pathology in schools. Melbourne, Australia: Author. Retrieved from
  • Sutherland, D. (2017). Developing communication skills. In Foreman, P. & Arthur-Kelly, M. (Eds.) Inclusion in action (4th ed.). (pp. 300-345). Melbourne, Australia: Cengage.  
Dr Rachael Hutchesson and ESS419 students after our lecture

Visiting Uluru

Last week Ben Pham and I had the opportunity to visit Uluru and Kata Tjuta in central Australia. It is such a special place cared for by Indigenous people for millennia.