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".

November 12, 2019

CSU media: Device or advice? – online speech pathology solutions trialled in NSW

CSU has just issued a media release summarizing the outcomes of our NSW Health Grant:
"Device or advice? – online speech pathology solutions trialled in NSW"

Waiting lists in the Northern Territory

Last night Nicole McGill presented a workshop to the Northern Territory (NT) branch of Speech Pathology Australia. Her topic was "The Wait Lifting Study: Understanding and managing speech pathology waiting lists". She provided insights from her research to support the NT project on waiting lists. Congratulations Nicole - it's great to see the impact of your work even before you have submitted your PhD.

November 11, 2019

Elements in phonological intervention: A comparison of three approaches using the Phonological Intervention Taxonomy

The following book chapter has been accepted for publication:
Baker, E., McCauley, R. J., Williams, A. L., & McLeod, S. (2019, in press). 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.

Here is the final summary paragraph of our chapter
In summary, in this chapter, we have outlined the value of a carefully developed system for describing interventions, such as the Phonological Intervention Taxonomy, which builds on the rich history of Ingram’s work in child phonology. We did this primarily by illustrating how explicit, detailed descriptions of intervention structure can facilitate comparisons that can help the clinician make clearer decisions about what intervention may meet a child’s needs. In addition, we have presented thoughts about how such a taxonomy might be applied with the goals of increasing accuracy in the use of interventions, the clinician’s understanding of their own readiness to learn and use an intervention, and the field’s development of more rationally based curricula for beginning clinicians. Finally, we suggest research efforts that may lead to a better understanding of how interventions work and for whom they might work best.
The Phonological Intervention Taxonomy was originally described here:
Baker, E., Williams, A. L., McLeod, S., & McCauley, R. (2018). Elements of phonological interventions for children with speech sound disorders: The development of a taxonomy. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27(3), 906-935. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0127. 

Media release in the US about our research on parent-child book reading

Dr Michelle Brown has been contacted by the Public Relations Manager at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
"Each year, ASHA’s PR group selects roughly ten presentations to highlight to media in a press release about its annual Convention. I thought your research 4629: Parent-Child Book Reading Impacts Academic Achievement in Grade 3 sounded very interesting and I’d like to potentially include it in our press release."
The paper is written by Michelle Brown, Cen (Audrey) Wang, and myself as part of Michelle's postdoc on my CSU Senior Research Fellowship. There are over 3,000 presentations at the ASHA convention, so this is a huge honour! Here is the media release:

November 9, 2019

Charles Sturt University's 30th birthday celebrations

On Saturday night Charles Sturt University had a cocktail party to celebrate 30 years as a university (other CSU celebrations are here). It was an enjoyable evening talking with colleagues from across the university, including Emeritus Professor JoAnne Reid (photo above). I have been at CSU for 20 years - so have had lots of great opportunities to work with many great people.

November 6, 2019

Planning for the 2021 composium on multilingualism and children's speech

Tonight two IALP committees (Multilingualism and Multiculturalism; and Child Speech) had a meeting to plan a combined composium to be held in South Africa in August 2021. It is going to be an exciting event.
Yvonne Wren (UK), Sharon Moonsamy and Michelle Pascoe (South Africa)
and Sharynne McLeod (Australia)

Congratulations Helen on your PhD

Congratulations to Helen Blake on being approved to graduate with her PhD. Helen's thesis "English proficiency, intelligibility, and participation of multilingual speakers in Australia" included 7 articles + 1 encyclopaedia entry. Dr Sarah Verdon and I are proud supervisors.
Here is the blog post at the time she submitted her thesis:

Her PhD thesis is available here:

Helen met her PhD examiners at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Orlando, Florida who congratulated her on her success.
Prof Travis Threats with Helen
Helen with Prof Amber Franklin
Helen with Prof Lilly Cheng and Emeritus Prof Dolores Battle

Thank you for the celebratory morning tea

This morning we had a celebratory morning tea. Thank you so much to my colleagues and students (past and present) for this wonderful acknowledgment of our collaborative work over the years.
Colleagues from the School of Teacher Education (SOTE)
A/Prof Alan Bain, Carol Burgess (HOS), Prof Sharynne McLeod
From Carol Burgess (Head of School): The School of Teacher Education has had a lot to celebrate over the past few weeks so we would like to come together to take time out to recognise some wonderful achievements for the staff within our school.
These are some amazing achievements and SOTE are very proud of Sharynne and Alan. If staff in Bathurst are able to join us for a morning tea on Wednesday 6 November at 10 am, the school will provide some lovely treats to indulge in during our celebration.
Thank you to Donna Bateup and Carol Burgess for organising the event

November 4, 2019

VietSpeech team meeting in Sydney

Today, the VietSpeech team met in Sydney for a whole day of discussion of our progress to date and planning for 2020. We have almost finished the second year of our Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. We have completed study 1, made good progress on Study 2 and 3 and will undertake Study 4 next year. We have presented papers at a number of conferences, and have published a number of papers as well. It was such a pleasure to meet with our wonderful, enthusiastic, and hard-working team:
• Professor Sharynne McLeod (Chief Investigator)
• Dr Sarah Verdon (Chief Investigator)
• Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang (Project officer)
• Dr Van H. Tran (PhD student, 2018-2020)
• Kate Margetson (Project officer)
• Lily To (Research Assistant)
• Kylie Huynh (Research Assistant)
• Jake Sheader (Research Assistant)
Kate, Kylie, Lily, Sarah (video), Van, Audrey

Dr Van Tran, Kate Margetson, Sharynne McLeod, Kylie Huynh, Lily To, Dr Audrey Wang
 McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. (2018-2020). Vietnamese-Australian children’s speech and language competence. Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP180102848).