November 29, 2018

Early Speech and Language Considerations for Infants and Toddlers with Cleft Palate

This week my PhD student Anna Cronin was in Auckland, New Zealand giving an invited presentation at the VPI Update Seminar IX, a two day professional development seminar on cleft palate speech and velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). The event included a number of high profile international invited speakers (including Lynn Marty Grames from St Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri, USA).
Anna's presentation was titled "Early Speech and Language Considerations in Infants and Toddlers with Cleft Palate". The organiser of the event, David Fitzsimons emailed me to say that Anna's presentation was:
A very well prepared presentation which included considerations for holistic (ICF-CY) approaches to care. Was a great contribution and very well-received. 
Congratulations Anna.

November 28, 2018

VietSpeech team meeting

Today our VietSpeech team had a face-to-face meeting in Sydney. VietSpeech is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant and details of the grant are here.

Today we welcomed Kate Margetson as our new project officer (to commence in 2019), as well as two younger team members: Patrick and Sadie. It was a productive meeting where we discussed progress and planning for the four VietSpeech studies, our recent and planned conference presentations, journal articles, and media (traditional and social). We celebrated Van Tran's PhD endorsement and Ben Pham's upcoming PhD graduation. Further details about our progress can be found here.
VietSpeech team: Sharynne McLeod, Van Tran, Ben Pham, Kate Margetson, Patrick (online Sarah Verdon, Sadie, Audrey Wang)
Yesterday I was fortunate to work with Ben Pham (who is visiting Australia for a few weeks) on her journal article revisions, PhD, and conference abstract submissions.
Working with Ben Pham on her journal article revisions

November 22, 2018

Visiting the Australian Catholic University

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with the speech pathology staff at the Australian Catholic University in North Sydney. I presented a seminar titled "Children's consonant acquisition: A cross-linguistic update" to staff in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. I also met with Jane McCormack about a journal article, book chapter and other research we are collaborating on. While there, Jane showed me her latest (excellent) book: Child Development and Learning - published by Oxford University Press - with a 2019 publication date.

Jane McCormack with her latest book
Michelle Donaghy, Jane McCormack, Sharynne, Nisrine El Choueifati

November 15, 2018

Presentation of the 2017 Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Editor's Award

Today the Sound Start Study team was presented the 2017 Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Editor's Award (Speech) at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention in Boston, MA. Dr Kate Crowe accepted the award during the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting (RATM) and it will be mentioned during the main awards ceremony at Convention.
"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." 
Kate receiving the award with Sharynne, Sue, Sarah and Yvonne online (Elise was online earlier)
At the ASHA Award ceremony in Boston: Bronwyn Hemsley, Helen Blake, Thora Masdottir, Karla Washington, Kate Crowe, Nicole McGill
We are able to celebrate the award in Sydney, Australia with Marc Fey, who received the 2017 Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Editor's Award (Language)
Jane McCormack, Sarah Masso, Sharynne, Sandy and Marc Fey
 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
Free download:

The CSU media release is here: 

All of the award winners are listed here:

Here are the other journal award winners (we know and collaborate with a number of these authors)
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (Editor-in-Chief: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer)
Investigating the Adequacy of Intervention Descriptions in Recent Speech-Language Pathology Literature: Is Evidence From Randomized Trials Useable?
Arabella LudemannEmma Power, and Tammy C. Hoffmann
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research–Speech Section (Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss)
Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness of Computer-Assisted Intervention Delivered by Educators for Children With Speech Sound Disorders
Sharynne McLeodElise BakerJane McCormackYvonne WrenSue RoulstoneKathryn CroweSarah MassoPaul White, and Charlotte Howland
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research–Language Section (Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond)
Do the Hard Things First: A Randomized Controlled Trial Testing the Effects of Exemplar Selection on Generalization Following Therapy for Grammatical Morphology
Amanda Jean Owen Van HorneMarc Fey, and Maura Curran
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research–Hearing Section (Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Gallun)
Speech Recognition in Adults With Cochlear Implants: The Effects of Working Memory, Phonological Sensitivity, and Aging
Aaron C. MoberlyMichael S. HarrisLauren Boyce, and Susan Nittrouer
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray)
Interactive Book Reading to Accelerate Word Learning by Kindergarten Children With Specific Language Impairment: Identifying an Adequate Intensity and Variation in Treatment Response
Holly L. StorkelKrista VoelmleVeronica FierroKelsey FlakeKandace K. Fleming, and Rebecca Swinburne Romine
American Journal of Audiology (Editor-in-Chief: Sumit Dhar)
The Effects of Service-Delivery Model and Purchase Price on Hearing-Aid Outcomes in Older Adults: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
Larry E. HumesSara E. RogersTera M. QuigleyAnna K. MainDana L. Kinney, and Christine Herring

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Boston, MA

My PhD students, Helen Blake and Nicole McGill, at the ASHA convention in Boston
 The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Boston, MA was held from 15-17 November. Over 19,000 people registered to attend.

Our team had eight presentations: 
3-hour short course
  • Farquharson, K., Storkel., H., & McLeod, S. (2018). Evolution of speech sound norms: Revolutionizing assessment (invited) 
1-hour seminars
  • Baker, E., Williams, A. L., McLeod, S., & McCauley, R. J. (2018). The Phonological Intervention Taxonomy: How do phonological interventions differ from one another? 
  • McLeod, S., Mulcair, G., Pietranton, A., Williams, C., Wofford, M., Tibi, S., Hemsley, B., Lyons, R., Carroll, C. & Hersh, D. (2018). The right to communicate: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (invited) 
Technical research papers
  • Blake, H., Verdon, S., & McLeod, S. (2018). Intelligibility in English: Multilingual speakers' perspectives
  • Crowe, K., Marschark, M., & McLeod, S. (2018). Intelligibility in American Sign Language
  • McGill, N. & McLeod, S. (2018). Designing a website to support children and families who are waiting for speech-language pathology services
  • Blake, H., Verdon, S., & McLeod, S. (2018). English proficiency, intelligibility and participation of multilingual university students
  • Deutenberg, C., Loebick, K. Wright, R., Washington, K. N., McLeod, S. (2018). Using drawings to understand Jamaican children's talking
UDHR Seminar: Bronwyn Hemsley, Claire Wofford, Deb Hersh, Rena Lyons, Arlene Pietranton

Also at the convention our Sound Start Study team received the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Editor's Award.

Additionally, Corrine Deutenberg was selected to receive a Student Research Travel Award to attend the ASHA Convention. She was selected for this award because she was the first author on our poster titled Using Drawings to Understand Jamaican Children’s Talking, which was the "highest-rated, student-authored paper in its Convention topic area”.  Congratulations Corrine!
Corrine Deutenberg, Dr Karla Washington, and co-authors on the award winning poster

Unfortunately I couldn't attend the convention, but had prepared videos for two of the sessions and am grateful to my students and colleagues for presenting the others.
Gina Olwoch (2nd from right) and the ASHA team (Ellen Shortill, Erinn Gorey, and Deena Thompson) who organize the entire convention
Australians at ASHA: Cori Williams, Kate Crowe, Helen Blake, Nicole McGill

November 14, 2018

Working from Macquarie University

Over the next month I have the opportunity to work from Macquarie University in Sydney (part time). It will be wonderful to be close to Prof Linda Harrison and to meet with other colleagues within the Department of Educational Studies and the university. Today we were able to discuss the digitisation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale on the Multilingual Children's Speech website with Anniek van Doornik who is visiting from Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
Anniek van Doornik, Sharynne and Linda Harrision

Welcome back to Australia Anniek

Today I met with Anniek van Doornik who is visiting Australia from The Netherlands. I am currently co-supervising her PhD. She is visiting Australia as part of a grant with colleagues from The University of Sydney titled "Tracking speech and language development of Dutch children migrating to Australia". We spent most of the day together discussing her latest journal article that addresses children's perceptions of their speech and other projects we have together. We also were able to visit Prof Linda Harrison at Macquarie University and discuss the digital version of the Intelligibility in Context Scale, that should be launched in 2019.

November 13, 2018

Congratulations Ben

Yesterday Ben Pham learned that her thesis was approved for graduation. This is a wonderful achievement. Here are the details of her PhD:
Her PhD title and synopsis are below:
Children's acquisition of consonants, semivowels, vowels, and tones in Northern Viet Nam 
The speech acquisition of 195 Northern Vietnamese preschool children was examined. Children acquired vowels and tones before they acquired semivowels and consonants. Next, 181  children were found to be usually intelligible, even to strangers. The Vietnamese Speech Assessment and Intelligibility in Context Scale were introduced and validated. This thesis provides emerging evidence for professionals to identify Vietnamese-speaking children with speech sound disorders.
Here is the link to her thesis:
Congratulations Ben!

November 9, 2018

Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech

I am an invited editorial board member of the Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech (JMBS) co-edited by Elena Babatsouli and Martin J. Ball and hosted by Equinox Publishing. The journal will begin in 2019. Information on the journal will soon be updated at the website of Equinox Publishing ( and the ISMBS website (

November 7, 2018

Children's Consonant Acquisition presentation

I have created an 18 minute video presentation titled "Children's Consonant Acquisition".
It can be downloaded here: (58.9MB .mp4 file)

The presentation profiles 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, 27, 1546–1571.
 The paper can be downloaded for free here:

The presentation will be played at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Boston next week.

Here is the link to the posters that outline English-speaking children's speech acquisition:

The posters can be downloaded for free here:

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

Communication Rights presentation

I have created a 13 minute video presentation titled "Communication rights: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". This presentation was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018.
It can be downloaded here: (note - 52MB file)
The presentation profiles papers from the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology that can be downloaded from
A summary of the special issue is presented in the following paper:
The presentation was played at the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association conference in Malta and will be played at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Boston next week.

November 5, 2018

VietSpeech grant update

Our VietSpeech grant (, funded by the Australian Research Council, is going well. It  consists of four studies:
Study 1: Vietnamese-Australian families’ linguistic multi-competence and language maintenance
Study 2: Australian Vietnamese-English-speaking children’s speech acquisition in Vietnamese and English
Study 3: Development of a multilingual speech program to be implemented by English-speaking professionals
Study 4: Feasibility and efficacy of a Vietnamese-Australian children’s speech maintenance program

Here is an update on our current progress:
  1. Data collection for Study 1 is complete with 271 eligible participants. Data analysis is almost complete and we are finalising manuscripts based on the data (led by Dr Audrey Wang).
  2. Data collection for the first manuscript for Study 3 is complete and insights from experts from around the world is being compiled (led by Dr Sarah Verdon and Prof Sharynne McLeod).
  3. The following paper has been published relating to Study 2:
    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
    Free download:
  4. Typical speech acquisition posters have been created based on McLeod and Crowe (2018) and are available here: There has been a huge amount of interest in these posters and our speech acquisition paper on social media (Twitter link).
  5. Van Tran's PhD is going well. Her endorsement session was presented in September. 
  6. Van Tran has been interviewed by the radio, newspaper and television in English and Vietnamese. 
  7. Conference presentations based on research within the VietSpeech grant have occurred at:
  • Current Issues in Child Bilingual Development conference at Macquarie University in Sydney (July)
  • International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association conference in Malta (October)
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Boston (November)

Commencement of my CSU Senior Research Fellowship

Today I commenced my Charles Sturt University (CSU) Senior Research Fellowship. Dr Michelle Brown is working with me on this Fellowship as a postdoctoral scholar. Initially I will be undertaking this 2-year fellowship on a part-time basis.
Dr Michelle Brown, Dr Audrey Wang and Sharynne
 The title of the Fellowship is "Resilient communicators" and here is the project description:
Communication is a fundamental feature of humanity. The ability to communicate is central to human interaction and participation. To understand and to be understood not only enables expression of basic needs and wants; but also supports interaction and participation at a family, community, national, and global level. The primary modes of communication privileged in many societies are speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Effective communication may be compromised for those who have reduced capacity to use these four privileged modes of communication, including multilingual speakers and children with communication disability. Our research has shown that people who have difficulty communicating across these four modes can experience social, educational, and occupational disadvantages within their communities. Communication support to promote resilience is required to overcome communication barriers. The aim of this research fellowship is to support researchers, higher degree research (HDR) students/postdocs, professionals, families and the general public to be effective communicators (by speaking, listening, reading, writing) to promote resilience and participation.

The Fellowship is based around four overarching themes:    
Resilient communicators
  • Aim: To promote communication as a human right celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
Communicating researchers
  • Aim: To support researchers’ ability to plan, implement, write, communicate, and promote research that makes a difference in people’s lives 
Communicating professionals
  • Aim: To support professionals to implement evidence-based practices for assessment and intervention. 
Communicating families 
  • Aim: To develop resources for families to support children’s communication 
  • Aim: To promote equality in service delivery for disadvantaged populations (e.g., multilingual, rural)

November 3, 2018

Screening children's speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position

The following article has just been published:
McLeod, S., & Masso, S. (2018). Screening children's speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Advance online publication doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0141
Here is the link:
 Here is the abstract:
Purpose: Diagnostic decision making is influenced by the attributes of assessments. In order to propose time-efficient protocols for screening children's speech, this study aimed to determine whether eliciting imitated responses and analyzing productions in different word positions resulted in different levels of consonant accuracy.
Method: Participants were 267 English-speaking preschool-age children in the Sound Start Study whose parents were concerned about their speech. They were assessed using the International Speech Screener: Research Version (ISS; McLeod, 2013) using either imitated or spontaneous elicitation. Productions were compared with an established diagnostic assessment of speech accuracy (Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology; Dodd, Hua, Crosbie, Holm, & Ozanne, 2002).
Results: Participants' performance on the ISS was significantly correlated with performance on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology. Eliciting imitated productions on the ISS (M = 2:18 min, SD = 0:59 min) took significantly less time than spontaneous productions (M = 6:32 min, SD = 2:34 min). There was no significant difference in accuracy of imitated versus spontaneous productions in word-initial position; however, consonants were significantly less accurate in spontaneous than imitated productions in other word positions. Overall, participants had significantly lower consonant accuracy in word-initial position than within-word or word-final positions. Examination of the influence of word position on test discrimination, using receiver operating characteristic analyses, revealed acceptable test discrimination for percentage of consonants correct across word positions.
Conclusion: This research supports using imitated elicitation and analysis of percentage of consonants correct in word-initial position as a time-efficient procedure when screening the speech of English-speaking preschool children.

November 1, 2018

SLM team meetings

Our Speech-Language-Multilingualism (SLM) Team meets virtually once a month for an informal catch up and sharing of ideas. The meeting is organised by Kate Crowe. Today's meeting had people from five countries: Denmark (Kate Crowe), Netherlands (Anniek van Doornik), Vietnam (Ben Pham), Fiji (Suzanne Hopf), Australia (Sharynne McLeod). Later I was able to talk with Helen Blake in Spain. What an amazing international team.
Sharynne (Australia), Kate (Denmark), Suzanne (Fiji), Ben (Vietnam), Anniek (Netherlands)
Helen (Spain) and Sharynne (Australia)