June 29, 2020

VietSpeech Study 2 Writing Retreat

This week the VietSpeech team are having a writing retreat to analyse and write up papers from Study 2. The VietSpeech grant was announced in 2017 (see here) and we have been working on it since 2018. We have finished Study 1 and are also working on Studies 3 and 4.

This week the following people are meeting together virtually:
  • Sharynne McLeod (Bathurst)
  • Sarah Verdon(Albury)
  • Van Tran (Sydney)
  • Audrey (Cen) Wang (Bathurst)
  • Ben Pham (Ha Noi, Vietnam)
  • Kate Margetson (Sydney)
  • Katherine White (Sydney)
  • Holly McAlister (Albury)
Some highlights:
  • The diversity of our team and the richness of discussions
  • Theoretical and clinical discussions about "What is correct speech?" 
  • Discussions about considering both directions of cross-linguistic transfer 
  • Cameo appearances from our children, pets, and others
Monday morning's meeting
Holly discussed similarities between Fiji English and Vietnamese English
(and shared Hopf, McLeod and Geraghty)
Van created venn diagrams during Tuesday's discussion about "what is correct speech
Wednesday morning's meeting
Van taught us how to cook chokos and to cut up oranges in a Vietnamese way
(and to eat them with salt and chilli)
Ben gave many insights from Vietnam - and told us of her successful national grant (congratulations!)
Kate and Katherine created a form that clinicians could use to compare cross-linguistic vs developmental mismatches
Thursday morning meeting
Writing, thinking, talking, writing...
Friday's meeting - with Sadie studying the figure very carefully
Friday's meeting

June 26, 2020

Health and Wellbeing in Childhood - Third Edition

My copy of Health and Wellbeing in Childhood - Third Edition has just arrived in the mail. It is so new it is not even on the Cambridge University Press website yet.

Here are the chapters I have co-authored with Jane McCormack:
  • McCormack, J. & McLeod, S. (2020). 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.) (pp. 20-34). Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press. 
  • McCormack, J. & McLeod, S. (2020). Communication development. In S. Garvis & D. Pendergast (Eds). Health and wellbeing in childhood (3rd ed.) (pp. 132-153). Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press. 
They have been substantially updated since the second edition - and the chapter on communication development includes case studies based around children's drawings.

Early Childhood Research Group planning meeting

Today Dr Tamara Cumming came over for an Early Childhood Research Group planning meeting (applying physical distancing during the COVID-19 restrictions). We had a brilliant brainstorming time inspired by our recent meeting with the Executive Dean who asked us to undertake "edgy, bolshy, noisy research that is not vanilla". We have been allocated 100 hours to work with Dr Nicola Ivory and Prof Philp Hider, our SubDean Research is supportive of our ideas. Watch this space.

Find an expert

Charles Sturt University has just added me as an expert on their website: https://news.csu.edu.au/experts/ It is an honour to be highlighed amongst my esteemed colleagues.

June 25, 2020

Highlights for the Annual Faculty of Arts and Education Research Report

I have been asked to provide some highlights from the past year for the Annual Faculty of Arts and Education Research Report. Here are my personal highlights (I haven't included working with my wonderful research students and SLM team or my publications):

 Presentation at the United Nations 
  • Professor Sharynne McLeod presented at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP12) at the United Nations in New York (June 2019) 
o People With Communication Disabilities Speak Up For Inclusion and Participation - UN Web TV (90 minutes) Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 8:15 am – 9:30 am http://webtv.un.org/watch/people-with-communication-disability-speak-up-for-inclusion-and-participation-how-the-implementation-of-the-crpd-and-the-sdgs-can-support-this-right-cosp12-side-event/6047514452001/
o CSU media release https://news.csu.edu.au/latest-news/charles-sturt-expert-advocates-at-un-for-communication-rights.
o Link to International Communication Project media release: According to the ASHA Director of Public Relations, the ICP media release was picked up by 160 outlets worldwide and had an audience reach of 73 million.
o The presentation was based on a special issue of guest edited by Professor Sharynne McLeod: Communication rights special issue of International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (IJSLP). Her introductory article "Communication rights: Fundamental human rights for all" has been viewed 14,806 times to date with an altmetric score of 169. 
  • Professor Sharynne McLeod and Dr Sarah Verdon (CSU) have been undertaking the following Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (2018-2020): Australian children's speech and language competence (DP180102848). https://www.csu.edu.au/research/vietspeech/overview 
  • Professor Sharynne McLeod and Nicole McGill (CSU) worked with local speech pathologists to complete the following NSW Health Translational Research Grant (2017-2019): Waiting for speech pathology: Device versus advice. The NSW Health investigators on the team were: Emily Davis, Katrina Rohr, Angela Roberts and Katherine Miller o They won the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference Best Research Poster Award, have published three journal articles, and have developed a free parent website as part of the grant: https://wnswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/our-services/speech-pathology

June 24, 2020

Cultural and linguistic diversity in NSW Department of Education schools (2019)

Here is some interesting information from the NSW Department of Education about linguistic diversity in schools in 2019
  • "In March 2019, 64.1% of students enrolled in NSW government schools came from homes where English was the only language spoken. More than a third (35.9%) of students came from homes where languages other than English were spoken" 
  • "There are 240 different language backgrounds of LBOTE [language backgrounds other than English] students at NSW government schools" 
  • "Government preschools enrolled 2,050 students from language backgrounds other than English in 2019, representing 51.3% of all government preschool enrolments" 
  • "In March 2019 68.9% of LBOTE students were from the nine largest languages and language groups. There were at least 5,000 students in each of these languages/language groups" 
  • "The largest single language of LBOTE students in March 2019 was Arabic (39,793 students), followed by Mandarin (27,396 students) and Vietnamese (16,854 students). Two European language backgrounds, Greek and Spanish, also featured in the largest language backgrounds, with 8,004 and 7,985 students enrolled respectively" 


Evaluating children in U.S. public schools with speech sound disorders: Considering federal and state laws, guidance, and research

The following manuscript was accepted for publication today:
Ireland, M., McLeod, S., Farquharson, K., & Crowe, K. (2020, in press June). Evaluating children in U.S. public schools with speech sound disorders: Considering federal and state laws, guidance, and research. Topics in Language Disorders.

This paper was a wonderful collaboration with colleagues in the US resulting from our discussions about how to apply the speech acquisition normative data published in McLeod and Crowe (2018) and Crowe and McLeod (2020) to the US context regarding eligibility for services.

Here is the abstract
More than half of U.S. speech-language pathologists (SLPs) currently practice in the school setting and 92.6% of SLPs who work in schools provide services focused on children’s speech sound production (articulation and/or phonology). This paper describes evaluation and eligibility requirements for children with speech sound disorders (SSDs) in the United States focusing on four sources of information: (1) federal requirements, specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), (2) state and local requirements and guidance, (3) other sources of guidance (e.g., from professional associations), and (4) research. To be eligible to receive services under IDEA, three conditions must be met: (1) the student has an impairment, (2) that impairment results in an educational impact, and (3) the student requires specially designed instruction to make progress. Civil rights and diversity (cultural, linguistic, and gender) within these contexts are also considered. Case examples are provided to highlight eligibility criteria and to guide SLP practice. The information and examples provided in this article will enable SLPs in the United States to navigate IDEA evaluation and eligibility requirements to ensure children with speech sound disorders who are eligible under IDEA receive appropriate services.

Digital Photography for Researchers

Today I attended an interesting workshop run by Paul Willis from Charles Sturt University titled "Digital Photography for Researchers". Paul has worked for 10 years on the ABC Catalyst program, and is an adjunct Associate Professor in paleontology at Flinders University.

June 20, 2020

The German Intelligibility in Context Scale: First ICF-CY based assessment of intelligibility in children with speech-sound disorder in Germany

The following paper has just been published:

Neumann, S., Schäuble, L., & McLeod, S. (2020). Skala zur Verständlichkeit im Kontext (ICS-G) - Erstes deutsches ICF-CY-basiertes Assessment zur Verständlichkeit von Kindern mit Aussprachestörungen [The German Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS-G) - First ICF-CY based assessment of intelligibility in children with speech-sound disorder in Germany]. Forum Logopädie, 34(4), 24-28.


Here is the abstract in German and English:
Die Implementierung der ICF-CY nimmt kontinuierlichen Einzug in die sprachtherapeutische Forschung und Praxis. In diesem Rahmen werden ICF-CY-basierte Diagnostikmaterialien und Therapiekonzepte benötigt. Für Kinder mit Aussprachestörungen spielt dabei insbesondere die Einschätzung deren Verständlichkeit eine wichtige Rolle, da diese in direktem Zusammenhang mit erfolgreicher Interaktion sowie kommunikativer Partizipation steht. Die ins Deutsche übersetzte Skala zur Verständlichkeit im Kontext (ICS-G) ist ein Fragebogen für Sorgeberechtigte, der die Verständlichkeit von Kindern mit Aussprachestörungen im sozial-interaktiven Kontext im Kindergarten- bzw. Vorschulalter einzuschätzen vermag. Der vorliegende Beitrag stellt die autorisiert übersetzte und validierte deutsche Version ICS-G ausführlich dar.
The ICF-CY is implemented more and more in speech and language research and therapy. In this framework, ICF-CY based diagnostic tools and therapy concepts are needed. Especially the assessment of intelligibility is very important regarding children with speech-sound disorder (SSD) given that it is directly associated with successful interaction and communicative participation. The German Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS-G) is a proxy report questionnaire for caregivers rating the intelligibility in context of preschool children with SSD. The present paper presents the authorized translated and validated German version of the ICS in a detailed manner.

June 17, 2020

CSU Sustainable Futures

Charles Sturt University has been running a number of Town Hall meetings - attended by >600 staff to work through the impact on the university sector of bushfires, COVID-19, and other issues. Today's meeting outlined the: (1) change management proposal, (2) course and subject optimisation process as well as the (3) the organisational review to develop a "financially and academically sustainable future" to "deliver excellence".

June 16, 2020

Learning Communities at Speech Pathology Australia

Today I discussed the new Learning Communities hub with Maree Brown from Speech Pathology Australia (SPA). Some of the new Learning Communities platforms are:
  • Live Online: A site where learners meet over 3 weeks with a preworkshop activity then two live 2-hour workshops
  • Communities of Practice
I look forward to working with SPA on these initiatives.

Faculty research group leaders meeting

Today I attended the Faculty of Arts and Education Research Group Leaders Meeting.
Dr Tamara Cumming and I are the leaders of the Early Childhood Research Group. The Faculty has the following research groups:
  1. Early Childhood  Research Group
  2. STEM Education Research Group
  3. Professional Practice, Learning and Education Group
  4. Libraries Research Group
  5. Environmental & Social Justice Research Group
  6. Critical Indigenous Studies Group

June 15, 2020

International meeting on partnerships between low- and middle-income and high-income countries

This afternoon I attended a meeting with 16 participants from across the world on the topic of collaboration between low- and middle-income and high-income countries to develop communication disability services. The conversation was led by Julie Marshall (UK/Uganda), Karen Wylie (Australia/Ghana), and Shakalia Dada (South Africa). The meeting was attended by people who live and work in countries as diverse as Australia, Fiji, Ghana, Malaysia, South Africa, Uganda, UK, and Vietnam.

Congratulations Audrey!

Congratulations to Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang who has just learned that she passed the National Psychology Exam which is one of the steps to becoming an accredited psychologist.

June 10, 2020

Congratulations Anna on your PhD submission

Today Anna Cronin submitted her PhD. Her thesis is titled: "Toddlers with Cleft Palate: Enhancing Communication through Holistic Child- and Family-Centred Practice". It was submitted as a series of two encyclopaedia entries, one book chapter, four journal articles and an exegesis. Anna was in Brisbane and was cheered on by her supervisory team: myself in Bathurst, Dr Sarah Verdon in Albury, members of the Speech-Language-Multilingualism team (in Shepparton, Sydney, Newcastle), her family and friends and received congratulatory messages from Sydney, Iceland, and Fiji. Her PhD scholarship was from Charles Sturt University.
The moment of submission
Congratulations Anna and best wishes for your examination!
Here is Anna's abstract:
Cleft palate with or without cleft lip (CP±L) is one of the most common congenital conditions affecting children across the world. Although high quality surgical and specialist multidisciplinary intervention for children with CP±L is available in many countries, this condition continues to impact children’s speech, early expressive language, feeding, middle ear function, appearance, and daily life. This thesis considered the views of international specialist speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working with toddlers with CP±L primarily in medical settings, as well as educators, families and toddlers with CP±L using a holistic child- and family-centred model. Demands resulting from diagnosis and intervention often have a significant impact, so families were given control and agency over their stories with the goal of informing and ultimately transforming SLPs’ practice. The thesis is innovative, theoretically driven, purposeful and sequential in its approach to recommending a shift in the way SLPs approach practice with children with CP±L.
The research presented in this thesis, known as the Toddlers with Cleft Palate Study, consisted of two parts presented as a series of seven publications: two encyclopaedia entries, one book chapter and four journal articles. Three theoretical frameworks underpinned the thesis: International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF-CY; WHO, 2007), Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), and family-centred practice (Dunst, 2002; Espe-Sherwindt, 2008). Combining these lenses provided unique insights and enabled holistic consideration of toddlers with CP±L, their rights, and their families’ experiences. Part One of the thesis provided definitions and outlined current practices with toddlers with CP±L. Drawing on the literature, the encyclopaedia entries outlined common craniofacial conditions and the impact of CP±L on speech. In the Toddlers with Cleft Palate Study 1: Specialist SLPs’ Perspectives, semi-structured interview data from the author’s Churchill Fellowship visits with six international specialist SLPs were analysed using directed content analysis framed by the ICF-CY. The findings indicated the ICF-CY had utility in describing specialist SLPs’ practice and that specialist SLPs do consider all components and contextual factors of the ICF-CY. However, there was less focus on Activities and Participation than on Body Structures and Functions and Environmental Factors (e.g., health services and geographic location).
Part Two of the thesis examined toddlers with CP±L and their families’ lived experiences, and how SLPs could best support them in the early years of life. A literature review outlined recommendations for supporting young children’s speech, language and communication to uphold their human rights in transnational early childhood education and care contexts. An innovative, ethnographic methodology was taken in the Toddlers with Cleft Palate Study 2: Toddlers’ and Families’ Experiences. This study involved observation, collection of speech and language data, interviews, photos, video data, and researcher reflection with seven toddlers with CP±L, 13 parents, and 12 significant others (e.g., educators and grandparents) around Australia. Speech and language data were evaluated to present a tutorial outlining a holistic communication protocol for SLPs to use with toddlers with CP±L. Interview data and 84 artefacts from the study (18 interviews, 29 videos, one extended audio recording of a mealtime, seven photos contributed by families, seven case history questionnaires, 18 field notes, four research reflections) were analysed inductively and revealed three themes in families’ experiences of raising toddlers with CP±L: the impact on the whole child, family strength and support, and family isolation and trauma.
The findings of the two parts of the study were synthesised to present how generalist SLPs working with toddlers with CP±L could learn from clients and their families and best support them in their early years, representing a shift away from the traditional professional-centred medical model of treatment. Overall, there were three main findings from the thesis: (1) having CP±L affects many aspects of toddlers’ lives and development, not just their speech, (2) children and families’ voices should be privileged in co-creating the intervention journey in collaboration with professionals, and (3) non-specialist medical, allied health, and education professionals need to understand that the impact of CP±L extends beyond speech, and know how to support toddlers and families holistically. The thesis contributes to the literature on the impact of CP±L on toddlers and their families and is significant in terms of its ethnographic methodology and shift towards a collaborative, family-centred approach to speech-language pathology practice. 
The following papers have been published to date (more to come):
  • Cronin, A., & McLeod, S. (2019). Craniofacial anomalies. In M. J. Ball & J. S. Damico (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of human communication sciences and disorders (pp. 515-519). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 
  • Cronin, A., & McLeod, S. (2019). Cleft lip and palate: Speech effects. In M. J. Ball & J. S. Damico (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of human communication sciences and disorders (pp. 348-351). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 
  • Cronin, A., McLeod, S., & Verdon, S. (2020). Applying the ICF-CY to specialist speech-language pathologists’ practice with toddlers with cleft palate speech. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal. Advance online publication.doi:10.1177/1055665620918799 
  • Cronin, A., McLeod, S., & Verdon, S. (in press). Holistic communication assessment for young children with cleft palate using the ICF-CY. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.

CSU Research Fellows and our alignment with SDGs

I am one of six CSU Senior Research Fellows and there are also nine CSU Research Fellows (2018-2020). This week we launched a website documenting our research and its alignment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Here is some more information about our Research Fellowships: https://www.csu.edu.au/division/deputyvc/rdi/strategic-funding