December 19, 2019

ASHA awards ceremony: Official photos

The official photos from our ASHA awards ceremony have just arrived. It was a very special night shared with very special people. Here is the CSU media release.
Dr Kate Crowe and Prof Sharynne McLeod receiving the AJSLP editor's award from Prof Mabel Rice
Sharynne and Kate
ASHA journal award winners
Prof Sharynne McLeod (CSU, Australia), Dr Karla Washington (US), Dr Kate Crowe (CSU and Iceland), Dr Thora Masdottir (Iceland), Dr Helen Blake (CSU and UTS Australia), Dr Michelle Brown (CSU, Australia)
Prof Lilly Cheng, Prof Sharynne McLeod, Dr Helen Blake, Prof Dolores Battle

December 17, 2019

Thank you to the SLM team for your support in 2019

Thank you so much to the following 20 people who have been part of the SLM team and have provided magnificent support throughout 2019
  • Helen Blake - PhD student 
  • Dr Michelle Brown - Postdoc 
  • Anna Cronin - PhD student 
  • Dr Kate Crowe - Research fellow 
  • Dr Suzanne Hopf - Colleague
  • Kylie Huynh - VietSpeech Research assistant 
  • Kate Margetson - VietSpeech Project officer
  • Dr Sarah Masso - Colleague 
  • Holly McAlister - Honours student 
  • A/Prof Jane McCormack - Colleague
  • Nicole McGill - PhD student 
  • Dr Ben Pham - Research fellow 
  • Olivia Richards - StoryBabies Research assistant 
  • Jake Sheader - Research assistant 
  • Lily To - VietSpeech Research assistant 
  • Dr Van Tran - PhD student 
  • Dr Sarah Verdon - VietSpeech Co-investigator 
  • Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang - VietSpeech Project officer
and special thanks to:
  • Donna Bateup - SOTE Admin 
  • David McLeod - Super supporter 
  • and all of my colleagues across the world
Our work together means we have to trust each other in many ways as we grow to be better researchers, better people, and to create new knowledge that will benefit the world.

Finally, thanks to the Faculty of Arts and Education, Charles Sturt University, NSW Health, and the Australian Research Council for funding our research in 2019.

2019 Christmas tree filled with memories from around the world

December 16, 2019

Fifth Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages Symposium

Last week the VietSpeech team presented two papers at the Fifth Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages Symposium (ITML5), an international online symposium accessible here: The theme this year was "Language, Culture and Ethnicity in Indigenous and Migrant Languages" Our papers are available here:
There was another presentation about Vietnamese as well:

December 13, 2019

Book chapters currently in press

Over the past few weeks I have learned that the following book chapters are now in press:
  1. McLeod, S., McCormack, J., & Blake, H. L. (2019, in press December). Communication, participation and cohort studies. In J. Law, S. Reilly & C. McKean (Eds.). Handbook of language development in a social context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  2. McCormack, J. & McLeod, S. (2019, in press December). Classifying health and wellbeing: Applying the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health to early years learners. In S. Garvis & D. Pendergast (Eds). Health and wellbeing in childhood (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  3. McCormack, J. & McLeod, S. (2019, in press December). Communication development. In S. Garvis & D. Pendergast (Eds). Health and wellbeing in childhood (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Baker, E., McCauley, R. J., Williams, A. L., & McLeod, S. (2019, in press November). Elements in phonological intervention: A comparison of three approaches using the Phonological Intervention Taxonomy. In E. Babatsouli & M. J. Ball (Eds.) On under-reported monolingual child phonology. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. 
It has been a pleasure to work with my colleagues on these chapters.

World Health Organization International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI) beta tester

I have volunteered to be a World Health Organization International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI) beta tester and today we had our online briefing/training session from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Recently I finished a 2-stage review as a member of a Delphi panel for the World Health Organization Rehabilitation Competency Framework where there were many opportunities to provide a non-medical perspective about communication.

Many years ago, I provided feedback on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY) and my contribution is acknowledged in the opening pages. 

I believe it is important to provide insight from the perspective of a speech-language pathologist into  WHO's development of classification systems.

December 12, 2019

Congratulations Dr Blake!

Today Helen Blake graduated with her PhD.
Charles Sturt University published a media release about her success: An interesting career led to PhD for significant multilingual speech research

Dr Sarah Verdon and I are her proud supervisors.

More information about Dr Blake’s PhD research is here:

Dr Helen Blake with her proud supervisors Dr Sarah Verdon and Prof Sharynne McLeod
Dr Helen Blake
Faculty of Arts and Education PhD graduates
Dr Helen Blake and her father are related to ex-CSU Vice Chancellor CD Blake

Congratulations Grear

Today Grear McAdam graduated with a Bachelor of Communications (Radio) from CSU. Grear has been our research assistant over many years - so it was wonderful to be there to congratulate her.

December 2, 2019

CSU Media: "Another international award for leading Charles Sturt researchers"

Thanks CSU Media for so eloquently celebrating this award with us:
Campus Review story: "The award-winning Charles Sturt paper that 'broke' the internet"

November 30, 2019

Supporting students' critical thinking about developmental norms

While at the ASHA 2019 convention in Orlando, FL Dr Kate Crowe and I met Dr. Alyssa Boucher from Boston University and were inspired by her innovative way to support her students' critical thinking using our recent journal article about children's speech acquisition across 27 languages.
She asked her students to
**(All of these resources are free to download)
She then gave her students the following exam question:
“A fellow SLP in your school district stops by one day to ask you about the “new norms.” She’s in a panic and worries this will increase her caseload. Using McLeod and Crowe (2018) and the other related resources, (kindly) debunk the “new norms” hysteria and help your colleague to interpret the results of the study and the implications for determining special education eligibility.”
What a great way to support students' critical thinking.

Extra information:
  1. Chapter 6 in Children's Speech (McLeod & Baker, 2017) provides a clinically-oriented overview of children's speech acquisition and available evidence. (Currently available for free to US and Canadian students during COVID-19 shutdown at
  2. We were thrilled that this paper won the Editor's Award from the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology that was presented at the 2019 ASHA convention in Orlando, FL. Some photos are here and some associated media is here.
  3. Dr. Kate Crowe and I recently have analysed speech acquisition data from children in the US (excluding the rest of the world). The paper is currently under revision in a journal - and we are hoping that it may be published in 2020.
Dr. Kate Crowe, Dr. Alyssa Boucher, Prof Sharynne McLeod
@SLPToolkit Podcast
InformedSLP blogpost
McLeod & Crowe (2018) infographic poster

November 28, 2019

Indigenous languages across the world

I have recently learned about the following extremely informative map of indigenous languages across the world created by Native Land Digital, a Canadian not-for-profit organization.

SIG 17 Perspectives Editorial Board member: Dr Helen Blake

As a result of meetings at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention last week, Dr Helen Blake became an Editorial Board member of Perspectives SIG 17: Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders. Congratulations Helen!

Here is the link to the journal Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups:

CSU Early Career Researcher Mentoring Grant for Dr Michelle Brown

Dr Michelle Brown (my postdoc) received a CSU Faculty of Arts and Education Early Career Researcher Mentoring Funding Scheme to attend the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention (ASHA) in Orlando, FL with me over the past week. There were over 15,000 people in attendance. While in Orlando,  Michelle and I:
  • presented seminars to staff and students in the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Central Florida as a guest of Professor Jack Ryalls
  • presented two papers on parent-child book reading, one of which was profiled by ASHA in their US media release
  • attended the Academic Researcher Meeting on Wednesday evening, where Dr Kate Crowe and I received the Editors’ Award for our article in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
  • attended the opening session, awards ceremony
  • attended presentations on research (e.g., grant writing)
  • networked with many influential people including 2021 ASHA president Professor Lynn Williams, ASHA CEO Dr Arlene Pietranton, ex-ASHA president Tommy Robinson, etc.
I believe that networking at the ASHA convention was a significant step to launch Michelle's international career as a key researcher in our field.
Michelle with Prof Jack Ryalls at University of Central Florida
Mark Guiberson, Kate Crowe, Michelle Brown, Sheila Degotadi, Sharynne McLeod
Michelle presented two papers, one that was profiled in the US media
Michelle chatting with ASHA CEO Dr Arlene Pietranton about her experience at the ASHA convention
Sharynne, Dr. Silvia Martinez, Dr. Tommy Robinson, Dr Michelle Brown, Dr Helen Blake

November 24, 2019

Working on the second edition of Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children

Over the past two years we (Lynn Williams, Rebecca McCauley and I) have been working on the second edition of Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children with Paul H. Brookes Publishing. We are getting closer to submitting the manuscript and enjoyed chatting with Liz Gildea and Astrid Zuckerman about the fact that they plan to have it published for the 2020 ASHA convention in San Diego.
Liz Gildea (Brookes), Steve Camarata (chapter author), Sharynne McLeod, Rebecca McCauley, Lynn Williams, Astrid Zuckerman (Brookes)

November 23, 2019

Giant Steps Conference, Safer Care Victoria

Nicole McGill attended the Giant Steps Conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 21-22 November 2019 to present research from her PhD. The conference was run by Safer Care Victoria and focused on the themes of leadership, health challenges, and delivering high-quality health care. Over 500 delegates were in attendance, including health care leaders and executives, researchers, clinicians, and consumers. Nicole presented a poster about the Active/Passive Waiting Study, a randomised controlled trial conducted in a community health centre in Victoria. The research was supported by a NSW Health Translational Research grant and conducted in collaboration with CSU researchers and NSW Health speech-language pathologists. 
 The abstract is here:
Randomised controlled trial evaluating provision of a website to promote active waiting for speech pathology
Authors: Nicole McGill (presenting), Sharynne McLeod, Emily Davis, Katrina Rohr, Katherine Miller, Nicola Ivory
Theme: Delivering high quality care
Background: Children with communication difficulties sometimes wait over 12 months for speech pathology, missing the benefits of early intervention. Websites may encourage active waiting and improve children’s and families’ outcomes.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an active-waiting website on children’s outcomes and caregivers’ perceptions.
Method: Preschool-aged children (n = 97) referred to community health speech pathology were screened. Eligible children (n = 42) with speech/language concerns were randomly allocated to active waiting (provision of website; n = 20) or control (n = 22). Pre- and post-intervention outcomes were measured.
Results: One-way ANCOVA intention-to-treat and per protocol analyses were conducted, controlling for pre-intervention scores. There were no significant differences in children’s speech, intelligibility, language, and literacy, and caregivers’ empowerment and satisfaction between groups*.
Conclusion: All children received face-to-face speech pathology assessments following referral. Provision of a website in addition to assessment did not change children's outcomes or caregivers' perceptions.
*These results will be compared with another randomised controlled trial comparing access to either the active-waiting website, advice, or 12 sessions of therapy (McLeod et al., 2019).
Acknowledgements: The active-waiting website was funded by a NSW Translational Research Grant (2017/38). This research was supported by a Nadia Verrall Memorial Research grant awarded by Speech Pathology Australia in 2018. Support from Catherine Teskera, Carolynne Winbanks, Angela Roberts, Sally Thornton, and Nina Ahio is acknow

November 22, 2019

Speech Pathology Australia celebrates its 70th anniversary

Speech Pathology Australia celebrated its 70th anniversary today. Currently there are over 9,000 members. I have been honoured to play a role in some of the events highlighted in their history poster (available here).
  • 2008 The Association’s journal was re-designed and the new title International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology was launched in recognition of its increasing international standing. 
  •  2014 The Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Reference Committee tabled its report into the Prevalence of different types of speech language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia.
  •  2019 Having secured non-government organisation accreditation status with the United Nations, the Association co-hosted a side event at the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
Speech Pathology Australia's social media image
Australians at ASHA in Orlando on SPA's 70th birthday: Sharynne, Tim Kittel (President of SPA), Helen Blake, Sheila Degotardi, Sarah Masso, Michelle Brown

November 21, 2019

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Orlando, FL

This week, members of the SLM team are attending the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, in Orlando, FL. There were almost 3,000 papers and posters presented over the 3 days and 15,000+ attendees.
Here are the seminars/papers we are presenting:
  • McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. - Children’s consonant acquisition across languages. Invited 1-hour seminar. 
  • Baker, E., Williams, A. L., McCauley, R. J. & McLeod, S. - A taxonomy of phonological intervention to guide and teach clinical decision-making and fidelity of implementation. 1-hour seminar. 
  • Blake, H. L., McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. - Intelligibility Enhancement assessment and intervention for multilingual university students. Technical paper. 
  • Brown, M. I., Wang, C., & McLeod, S. - Parent-child book reading impacts academic achievement in Grade 3. Technical paper. 
Alyssa Boucher (Boston University), Sharynne McLeod (CSU), Kate Crowe (CSU/Iceland University), Michelle Brown (CSU), Sheila Deogtardi (Macquarie Uni) at ASHA
Sharynne, Karla Washington, Kate Crowe, Thora Masdottir, Helen Blake and Michelle Brown at the Researcher Academic Town Meeting (Wednesday night)
Sharynne, Rebecca McCauley and Lynn Williams about to present their 1-hour seminar
(Elise Baker presented via voice-over)
Speech Sound Disorders Researchers: Sharynne, Rebecca McCauley, Shelley Velleman, Greg Lof, Kelly Farquharson, Francois Brosseau Lapre, SLP, Brian Goldstein, Katy Cabbage, Jill Hoover, Sarah Masso
Sharynne and Kate Crowe presented an invited 1-hour seminar (and gave out free handouts)
Helen Blake about to present her paper
Dr Michelle Brown about to present her second paper
Michelle Brown, Sheila Degotadi, Sharynne, Lynn Williams (2021 ASHA President), Kate Crowe
John Bernthal and Sharynne catch up every year at the ASHA convention.
Sharynne is currently updating a book chapter in the 9th edition of John's book
Sharynne, Shelley Velleman, Amy Glaspey, Brian Goldstein
Sharynne, Michelle, Kate and Helen sampling Harry Potter's butter beer (100% sugar!)
Helen, Sharynne, Lynn, Michelle, Kate and Marie Ireland at the Harry Potter World ASHA closing party

November 20, 2019

30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

November 20 marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. To celebrate Dr Maryanne Theobald was the guest editor of a special issue:

AJSLP Editor's Award

The American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology has awarded Dr Kate Crowe and myself the prestigious Editor's Award for 2018 for the following article:
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. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100
Freely available here :
The free images for English consonant acquisition are here:

Here is the ASHA website announcing all of the award winners:
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has over 204,000 members, and over 15,000 people attended the convention. They publish 4 journals, so it was a great honour to receive this award. We also received an Editor's Award last year for another ASHA journal (details here).

Our paper not only won the Editor's Award, but has been described as the paper that "broke" the speech-language pathology (SLP) internet due to the discussion about the impact it would have on SLPs' daily practices:

Here is the news release from the University of Iceland about our award:
In English:
In Icelandic:
ASHA Awards Ceremony announcement of our award
Dr Kate Crowe and Prof Sharynne McLeod
All of the ASHA journal editors' awardees
Sharynne and Kate with Dr Lemmietta McNeilly (ASHA Chief of Staff)

November 19, 2019

Presentations at the University of Central Florida

Professor Jack Ryalls invited Dr Michelle Brown and I to visit the speech-language pathology program at the University of Central Florida. While there we gave two presentations at the NSSLHA seminar:
  • Michelle I. Brown: "Book reading during infancy impacts academic achievement in later primary school years"
  • Sharynne McLeod: "The right to communicate"

UCF: Sharynne, Prof Martine Vanryckeghem, Prof Jack Ryalls, Dr Michelle Brown

November 15, 2019

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) for Dr Sarah Masso

CONGRATULATIONS Dr Sarah Masso who has just learned she has received a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) titled "Polysyllables and Emerging Early Literacy" worth $424,999. The success rate was 16%. The Australian Research Council announcement is here:

Summary: The aims of this research are to determine trajectories of polysyllabic word development in children with and without typical speech sound development, and examine the relationship between polysyllabic word accuracy and early literacy development. This research is significant as it will utilise innovative speech analysis techniques to identify the skills of children during a critical period of development, their transition to school. The expected outcomes of this research include: (1) to establish new methods to identify children who are at risk of finding it hard to learn to read, and (2) creating the first longitudinal corpus of polysyllabic words from Australian English-speaking children with and without speech sound disorder.
We are so proud of you Sarah!
Dr Sarah Masso, Dr Kate Crowe, and Sharynne at the ASHA convention

Analysing Fijian children's speech

Today Holly McAlister and I spent almost 3 hours working on our data frameworks and coding systems for analysing Fijian children's speech (data from Dr Suzanne Hopf's PhD). We have permission from Dr Elise Baker to adapt the CHIRPA and are using the following paper for advice on dialects

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, and Hearing, 19(2), 96-104. doi:10.1080/2050571X.2015.1133037

We are also using protocols from my work in the VietSpeech study and the Jamaican study.

Holly's honours is supervised by Dr Suzanne Hopf and myself. I am looking forward to finding out the results (next year after the transcriptions and analyses are complete).

November 14, 2019

World Health Organization Rehabilitation Competency Framework Delphi Panel

I have just completed stage 2 providing comments on the World Health Organization Rehabilitation Competency Framework as part of their Delphi Panel. It has been a privilege to represent the perspectives of people with communication disability and communication specialists (including speech-language pathologists).

Analysing social media for better public policy

Today I was honoured to open the Charles Sturt University one day symposium titled "Analysing social media for better public policy". Speakers and participants came from across the country, and I was invited to open the event. Details about the symposium are here:
The aims of the symposium were to:
  • Share cases where social media has been used to inform or guide public policy and decisions 
  • Share research highlighting the application of social media to important policy matters 
  • Bring together people working and researching in this developing field 
  • Explore challenges of social media data use such as ethics, geolocation, sample representativeness, access to data 
  • Consider systems and processes for gathering and analysing social media for public policy and decisions.
 The symposium included discussion about kangaroos, cervical screening, obesity, e-cigarettes, sharks, carp, policymakers, ethics, and concluded with "workshopping the wicked".