September 28, 2018

Speech Pathology Australia's Nadia Verrall Memorial Research Grant

Congratulations to Nicole McGill who has just learned that she has been awarded the Speech Pathology Australia's Nadia Verrall Memorial Research Grant. Her grant is titled "Use of a website to facilitate active waiting for speech pathology"
"The Nadia Verrall Memorial Research Grant is coordinated by Speech Pathology Australia in the memory of Nadia Verrall who practised in paediatric speech pathology in Western Australia and New South Wales. The outcomes of the research must enhance the clinical practice of speech pathologists working with children with communication disorders and their families. The annual research grant is to a maximum of $5,000 each year." - Speech Pathology Australia

Here is her project summary
The 2014 Australian Government Senate Inquiry into speech pathology services highlighted “the long waiting lists in the public system” (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014, p. 5). This is problematic for children with speech and language difficulties, as they miss the benefits of early intervention. Until the availability of speech pathology services meet demand, it is important to provide appropriate home-based interim care while children are waiting. This randomised controlled trial (RCT; commenced in March 2018) aims to evaluate whether access to an evidence-based speech pathology website (active waiting condition) compared with passive waiting (control condition) improves: (a) children’s speech, language, emergent literacy, and participation outcomes, and (b) parents’ experiences of waiting (levels of empowerment, concern, and satisfaction). Up to 99 children aged 3-6 years and their parents aim to be recruited at a Victorian community health centre. Baseline assessments (stage 2) will be undertaken at referral and follow-up assessments (stage 4) will be undertaken after 6 months. One-way ANCOVA analyses will be undertaken to measure change between the two groups across various measures of child and parent outcomes. Groups will be compared on a ‘per protocol’ and ‘intention to treat’ basis. This study is also part of a larger multi-site RCT.

September 27, 2018

Australia’s Research Field Leaders in Audiology, Speech & Language Pathology

I have just learned that The Australian newspaper has named us “Australia’s Research Field Leaders” in the field of “Audiology, Speech & Language Pathology”

Australia’s Research Field Leaders Health & Medical Sciences
Field: Audiology, Speech & Language Pathology
Field leader: Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt
Leading institution: Charles Sturt
This is exciting because we are named as BOTH the field leader and the leading institution (in many fields the institution is different from the field leader).
The CSU media release is here:,-language-and-hearing-team
“Australia’s top researchers and research institutions are revealed in unprecedented detail in a new edition of The Australian’s Research magazine. The research leaders’ list, based on big data analysis of up-to-date publicly available information, shows Group of Eight universities are dominant in the more than 250 individual fields of research that are examined.”
Health & Medical Sciences “This is an area of strength for universities in Australia, where many institutions – including many outside of the research-intensive ones – do well. Universities such as Charles Sturt (in audiology, speech and language pathology), La Trobe (in child and adolescent psychology), Griffith (in nursing as well as pregnancy and childbirth) are field leaders...”
“For selecting researchers, we chose authors who had the most papers published in the top 20 journals in their field. (The top 20 journals are determined by their trailing five-year impact factor as measured by Google Scholar.) This recognises both their career output and, since it is limited to the top publication venues, the quality of their work as recognised by their peers worldwide. For institutions, we selected those with most impact, that is citations, from papers in the top 20 journals in each field in the past year.”
The CSU Speech-Language-Multilingualism team is listed here and some members are photographed below
Dr Audrey Wang, Dr Michelle Brown, Dr Van Tran, Anna Cronin, Prof Rebecca McCauley, Suzanne Hopf (online), Prof Sharynne McLeod, Helen Blake, Nicole McGill

Van Tran's PhD endorsement

Today was Van Tran's PhD endorsement at Charles Sturt University; an important milestone in every PhD student's journey. Van is a PhD scholar on our ARC Discovery grant, VietSpeech. Her proposed PhD title is "Promoting home language maintenance among Vietnamese-Australian children". Van's proud supervisors are Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang and myself. The session went extremely well and she was cheered on by members of the SLM team. Congratulations Van.
Here is the abstract of her endorsement.
Australia is a country of multiculturalism with nearly a half of the population being first- or second-generation migrants in Australia and one fifth of Australians speaking a language other than English (LOTE) at home. With more than 400 languages spoken, Australia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) countries in the world. While multilingualism is well-practiced in Australian society, there is an increasing risk of home languages becoming lost among speakers of later generations of migrants. 
With nearly 300,000 speakers, Vietnamese is in the top four most spoken languages other than English in Australia (after Mandarin, Arabic, and Cantonese). Like other ethnic groups, Vietnamese-Australian parents are concerned about their children not speaking Vietnamese and gradually losing their home language. The loss of home languages is not only the loss of opportunities to become multilingual, which has been proved to be highly beneficial to individuals as well as the community, but also the loss of cultural identity and relationships with relatives, who find language barriers one of the biggest challenges to build bonds with their children.
This PhD adopts the theoretical frameworks of Spolsky (2004)’s Language Policy Theory and Fishman (1972)’s Domains Conceptualisation and explores Vietnamese-Australian families’ language practices, language ideologies and language management. Specifically, this PhD draws on survey, interview and focus group data to map Vietnamese-Australian families’ language exposure, use and proficiency in different communicative situations and on different topics (language practices), examine parents’ attitudes towards and perceptions of home language maintenance (language ideologies), explore Vietnamese-Australian family language policies and rules and investigate the role of Vietnamese community language school in supporting home language maintenance (language management), as well as identify factors affecting home language maintenance.
The utmost aim of the study is to investigate the best ways to support Vietnamese-Australian families to maintain Vietnamese as their home language. The findings of this research will provide parents, educators, education consultants, speech pathologists as well as professionals working with Vietnamese children with knowledge of Vietnamese children’s language use and proficiency, their parents’ perceptions of and attitudes towards language learning and home language maintenance as well as the factors associated with home language maintenance. The results from this research will also contribute to informing policy and constructing programs promoting home language maintenance.
Van Tran, Sarah Verdon (online), Audrey Wang, Sharynne McLeod, Rebecca McCauley

September 26, 2018

Professor Rebecca McCauley: Visiting Scholar at CSU

Over the past 2 weeks Professor Rebecca McCauley has been a visiting scholar at Charles Sturt University sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Education. Professor McCauley is an esteemed researcher from Ohio State University, who will be receiving the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association later this year (only 12 of 198,000+ members will receive this award in 2018). During Rebecca's visit she has:
  • presented a 3-hour seminar titled "Children with Complex Speech Sound Disorders" to over 20 speech pathologists who travelled from across NSW, Victoria and Queensland to attend
  • presented a 1-hour online lecture titled "Writing a Book – From Inspiration to Publication" to 56 people from across CSU, Australia and the world (Denmark, Nigeria, Fiji)
  • met with members of the School of Teacher Education
  • mentored members of the Speech-Language-Multilingualism Team
  • worked on the second edition of Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children
  • met CSU's kangaroos 
  • and many other activities
The CSU News release is here:
Participants at Prof McCauley's seminar titled "Children with Complex Speech Sound Disorders"
Prof McCauley with members of the Speech-Language-Multilingualism Team
(L-R: Anna Cronin, Helen Blake, Michelle Brown, Nicole McGill, Rebecca McCauley, Audrey Wang, Sharynne McLeod)
Prof McCauley with the SLM team
(Van Tran, Nicole McGill, Helen Blake, Anna Cronin, Rebecca McCauley, Michelle Brown)

Speech-Language-Multilingualism (SLM) Team launch

This week we have launched the Speech-Language-Multilingualism (SLM) Team. Previously our team has not had a name, despite the great work we have been doing. So, with the catalyst of Professor Rebecca McCauley visiting us - we now have a new name.

Members of our team are:
Dr Jane McCormack – Sydney
Dr Kate Crowe – Denmark
Dr Sarah Verdon – Albury
Dr Suzanne Hopf – Fiji/Albury
Dr Sarah Masso – Sydney
Dr Ben Pham – Vietnam
Dr Michelle Brown – Albury
Dr Audrey (Cen) Wang – Bathurst
Helen Blake – Newcastle/Sydney
Anna Cronin – Brisbane
Nicole McGill – Shepparton
Dr Van Tran – Sydney

*Affiliated members who are undertaking their PhDs in other universities
Anniek Van Doornik - University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Natalie Hegarty - University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

Anna Cronin, Helen Blake, Michelle Brown, Rebecca McCauley, Nicole McGill, Audrey Wang, Sharynne McLeod

September 24, 2018

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

It is Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival and Van Tran has been interviewed by:
The interviews are in Vietnamese. Van has summarized the content: "basically it's about what mid-autumn festival means to Vietnamese children and how we (Vietnamese-Australians) try to maintain that tradition of celebrating mid-autumn festival."

September 11, 2018

WINNER: Editor's Award for Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research–Speech Section

Our Sound Start Study team has just learned we have won an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Journal Award. Here is a portion of the email we received from the ASHA:
Congratulations! The editor-in-chief of the Speech section of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research has selected your article, “Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness of Computer-Assisted Intervention Delivered by Educators for Children With Speech Sound Disorders,” as the winner of the 2017 Editor’s Award.
An Editor’s Award is truly a high honor, with selection limited to the most impactful works that meet the highest quality standards in research design and presentation. The award will be presented during the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting (RATM) at the 2018 ASHA Convention in Boston, MA. It will also be mentioned during the main awards ceremony at Convention. 
Here are the details of our article:
Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness of Computer-Assisted Intervention Delivered by Educators for Children With Speech Sound Disorders
Sharynne McLeod, Elise Baker, Jane McCormack, Yvonne Wren, Sue Roulstone, Kathryn Crowe, Sarah Masso, Paul White, and Charlotte Howland 

All of the award winners are listed here: 

The CSU media release is here:

September 10, 2018

UTS seminar on communication rights

On 10 September, the University of Technology Sydney hosted a seminar to celebrate communication rights. Professor Bronwyn Hemsley organised the day, and it was attended by Alastair McEwan, the Disability Discrimination Officer from the Australian Human Rights Commission as well as speakers who had papers published in our special issue of IJSLP on communication rights. I was unable to attend, so my speech was presented via video. It was a very successful day.
Bronwyn Hemsley, Cate Madill, Gaenor Dixon, Alastair McEwan, Megan, Gail Mulcair, Jane McCormack
Sharynne presenting via video
There was a lot of Twitter activity during the event