October 30, 2018

Congratulations Bristol SLTRU - 30th anniversary

The Bristol Speech Language Therapy Research Unit recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. Our team has worked closely with Prof Sue Roulstone, Dr Yvonne Wren and other members of the team over many years. An article was published in the RCSLT Bulletin, and mentions our collaboration on pages 26-27: https://www.rcslt.org/members/publications/docs/bulletin_oct18

October 24, 2018

English language and literacy proficiency of students in an urban Fiji primary school

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication:
Hopf, S. C., McDonagh, S., Wang, C., & McLeod, S. (2018, in press October). English language and literacy proficiency of students in an urban Fiji primary school. Language, Culture, and Curriculum.
Here is the link to the paper: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/apqScP8QGkXz4BkEBrkU/full  

This is the final paper to be accepted from Suzanne Hopf's PhD thesis that considered multilingual Fijian children's communication. Congratulations Suzanne on this important milestone.

Here is the abstract:
Fiji is a multicultural and multilingual community and English is one language taught in Fiji schools. This study aimed to describe the English language proficiency of Fiji primary school students. Direct assessment measures of 75 students’ English language (listening and speaking) and literacy (reading and writing) skills were obtained (Year 1: n = 35; Year 4: n = 40). These were examined in relation to students’ academic performance and main language spoken at home. English home language status was correlated with better English language proficiency and academic performance for students in Year 1, but not for students in Year 4. Instead, use of Fiji Hindi at home in Year 4 was related to higher proficiency on English language tasks than for Standard Fijian speakers. The importance of obtaining information about home languages in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts is emphasised. The findings of this study have implications for assessing the English proficiency of linguistically multi-competent children learning in immersion education settings.
Suzanne with her PhD that consists of 1 book chapter and 8 journal articles!
Here is the final list of publications from Suzanne's PhD thesis:
  1. Hopf, S. C., & McLeod, S. (2015). Services for people with communication disability in Fiji: Barriers and drivers of change. Rural and Remote Health, 15, 2863. 
  2. Hopf, S. C. (2014). Services for people with communication disability in Fiji: Clinical insights. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 16(2), 81-86. 
  3. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., McDonagh, S., & Rakanace, E. (2017). Communication disability in Fiji: Community cultural beliefs and attitudes. Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development, 28(1), 114-143. doi:10.5463/DCID.v28i1.600 
  4. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., McDonagh, S. H., Wang, C., & Rakanace, E. R. (2017). Communication disability in Fiji: Community self-help and help-seeking support. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/17549507.2017.1337226 
  5. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., & McDonagh, S. H. (2017a). Linguistic multi-competence of Fiji school students and their conversational partners. International Journal of Multilingualism. 15(1), 72-91. doi:10.1080/14790718.2016.1241256 
  6. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., & McDonagh, S. H. (2017b). Fiji school children’s multilingual language choices when talking with friends. In M. Theobald (Ed.). Friendship and peer culture in multilingual settings. Sociological studies of children and youth (Vol. 22) (pp. 55-88). Bingley, UK: Emerald. 
  7. Hopf, S. C., McDonagh, S. H., Wang, C., & McLeod, S. (2018, in press). English language and literacy proficiency of students in an urban Fiji primary school. Language, Culture and Curriculum
  8. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., & Geraghty, P. (2016). A contrastive analysis of the phonologies of two Fiji English dialects: A diagnostic guide for speech-language pathologists. Speech, Language, Hearing, 19(2), 96-104. doi:10.1080/2050571X.2015.113303 
  9. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., & McDonagh, S. H. (2017c). Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale with school students in Fiji. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 31(7-9), 487-502. doi:10.1080/02699206.2016.1268208

October 23, 2018

International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association (ICPLA) Conference in Malta

The 17th International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association (ICPLA) Conference was held in Malta (23-25 October) https://www.um.edu.mt/events/icpla2018

 Our team presented the following papers:
  • Blake, H. L. & McLeod, S. - Intelligibility Enhancement in English in a multilingual university student 
  • Crowe, K., Marshark, M. & McLeod, S. - More than a matter of skill: Exploring the concept of intelligibility in sign language 
  • Hegarty, N., Titterington, J., McLeod, S. & Taggart, L. - The research-practice gap when working with children with phonological impairment 
  • McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. - A cross-linguistic review of children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages 
  • Van Doornik, A., Gerritts, E., McLeod, S., & Terband, H. - Self-evaluation of the communicative attitude of children with speech sound disorders 
Dr Kate Crowe
Natalie Hegarty
Additionally, I organised a special seminar titled: "The right to communicate: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" that included the following presentations:
  • Communication as a fundamental human right for all – Sharynne McLeod, Australia (via video)
  • Citizenship, politics, coffeeshops, restaurants, and the role of the speech-language pathologist in supporting human rights – Rena Lyons and Clare Carroll, Ireland
  • Human rights and aphasia – Deborah Hersh, Australia
  • Creating human rights-driven guidelines for South African speech-language pathologists – Michelle Pascoe, Mikateko Ndhambi, Daleen Klop, and Thandeka Mdlalo, South Africa
  • Listening to people with a history of childhood communication disorder regarding their human right to communicate – Kathryn Crowe, Jane McCormack and Elise Baker, Australia/USA/Denmark
  • Bilingualism: Lessons from California about communication as a human right – Gabriela Simon-Cereijido, USA
  • Human rights in a communicative exchange: Discussing the stakeholder model of voice research – Catherine Madill, Australia 
Panel presenters: Michelle Pascoe, Mikateko Ndhambi, Gabriella Simon-Cereijido, Kate Crowe, Sharynne McLeod (video), Antonia Chacon (for Cate Madill), Rena Lyons, Deborah Hersh

Members of our team attending ICPLA in Malta (with friends)

October 16, 2018

Speech acquisition posters

We have just created some speech acquisition posters that graphically present findings from our recent outlined in the following paper:
McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100
The journal article can be downloaded for free here:

The posters can be downloaded for free here:

More information and resources about speech acquisition is available from our Multilingual Children's Speech website:

October 14, 2018

Online course about Intelligibility Enhancement for multilingual speakers

Helen Blake has just presented a continuing professional development (CPD) course for Speech Pathology Australia titled: "Updating accent modification practice: Intelligibility Enhancement for multilingual speakers". It was presented as a live online course, but is available until October 2020: https://www.cpdlive.com/speechpath/seminars4/7633/9242/Intelligibility-Enhancement-in-English-for-multilingual-speakers.html&Display__this=Y
Here is the abstract:
This event aims to support speech-language pathologists working with multilingual adults to enhance their intelligibility in English. As in any area of clinical practice, clinicians working in Intelligibility Enhancement (also known as accent modification or pronunciation training) need information not only to make appropriate clinical decisions, but also to better understand the needs of clients in order to advocate for and empower them. This webinar will review the literature and terminology relating to Intelligibility Enhancement and multilingual speakers in Australia. Presentation of principles for assessment and intervention will be supplemented with specific examples from different languages.
Here is Helen's author bio:
Helen L Blake is an associate lecturer in speech pathology at University of Technology, Sydney. A certified practicing speech pathologist, she is a member of the working party that developed Speech Pathology Australia’s national position paper and clinical guidelines "working in a culturally and linguistically diverse society" and a member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech. Helen is finalising her PhD at Charles Sturt University supported by an Australian Post-Graduate Award Scholarship where she is researching English proficiency, intelligibility, and participation of multilingual speakers in Australia. Helen has previously lead the Speech Intelligibility Clinic, University of Newcastle. Helen’s work in Intelligibility Enhancement in multilingual speakers is informed by her previous role as a standardisation officer in Air Traffic Control.

October 8, 2018

In the news

As a result of our recent awards, Charles Sturt University have issued the following media releases:

1. National double acclaim for CSU speech, language and hearing team

2. International award for ‘Best Paper’ in top speech pathology journal
The original article is here: https://jslhr.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2643351

3. Additionally The University of Sydney issued a media release about a recent research paper about dummies, bottles and breastfeeding:
Dummies not to blame for common speech disorder in kids
The original article is here: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/492469

There has been a lot of national media interest and our colleagues Dr Elise Baker and Dr Sarah Masso have had many interviews including:
The University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences Bulletin (8 Nov 2018) summarized the media attention as follows:
    Daily Telegraph reported on University of Sydney research that found dummies do not cause or worsen the most common speech disorder in children. The article quoted lead author Dr Elise Baker and was syndicated across News Corp Australia online. Essential Baby, ABC Online, Kidspot, Parenthub, RACGP.org.au, 2GB Sydney, 3AW Melbourne 2CC Canberra, 6PR Perth, Magic 2CH Sydney, 98.5 Sonshine FM Perth, Hot 100 Darwin, 2CA Canberra, Triple M Townsville and Curtin FM, Ditek (Indonesia), Tribune News (Indonesia), Liputan6 (Indonesia) and Viva (Indonesia) also reported on the research. Kinderling and ABC (Sydney, RN Drive) interviewed Dr Baker and co-author Dr Sarah Masso was interviewed on 2SM Sydney and ABC Radio North and West SA.