August 29, 2020

Review of Crowe & McLeod (2020) in The Informed SLP

A few years ago, The Informed SLP described McLeod and Crowe (2018) as the article that broke the SLP internet. This month, they have reviewed our following up paper (Crowe & McLeod, 2020). Here is the article:

Supporting children with speech sound disorders during COVID-19 restrictions: Technological solutions

The following manuscript has just been accepted for publication 

McLeod, S., Ballard, K., Ahmed, B., McGill, N. & Brown, M. I. (2020, in press August). Supporting children with speech sound disorders during COVID-19 restrictions: Technological solutions. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups (SIG17: Global issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders).

Here is the abstract: 

“Children are the hidden victims of the COVID-19 pandemic” (UNICEF, 2020). Timely and effective speech intervention is important to reduce the impact on children’s school achievement, ability to make friends, mental health, future life opportunities, and government resources. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australian children did not receive sufficient speech-language pathology (SLP) services due to long waiting lists in the public health system. COVID-19 restrictions exacerbated this issue, as even children who were at the top of lengthy SLP waiting lists often received limited services, particularly in rural areas. To facilitate children receiving speech intervention remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic evidence from randomized controlled trials regarding three technological solutions are examined: (1) Sound Start Study (Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter), (2) Waiting for Speech Pathology website, and (3) Apraxia World. For the first two technological solutions, there were similar gains in speech production between the intervention and control groups; whereas, for the third solution the average magnitude of treatment effect was comparable to face-to-face SLP therapy. Automated therapy management systems may be able to accelerate speech development and support communication resilience to counteract the effects of the COVID-19 restrictions on children with speech sound disorders. Technology-based strategies may also provide a potential solution to the chronic shortage of SLP services in rural areas into the future.


August 28, 2020

Book chapter proposal submission "Supporting communication with underserved children: A case study of Viet Nam"

 Today Dr Ben Pham, Dr Sarah Verdon and I wrote a book chapter proposal titled "Supporting communication with underserved children: A case study of Viet Nam" to be considered for submission to a new book being organised by the Task Force on Underserved and Underserved Populations for IALP (International Association of Communication Sciences and Disorders).

Congratulations Holly on honours research presentation today

Today Holly McAlister presented her honours research to the Faculty of Science. This is a requirement of her honours degree. She did a great job - and her supervisors (Dr Suzanne Hopf and myself) were very proud of her. Next step - submission of her honours thesis in a few weeks' time!

August 27, 2020

Celebrating Speech Pathology Week

This week is Speech Pathology Week. Normally the Bathurst speech pathologists all meet for dinner. This year is not normal - so we met via zoom. It was fascinating to hear of how therapy with children has been via telehealth, telephone, posted home programs, and face-to-face while wearing masks!

The general consensus was:

Therapy via videoconference is better than wearing masks (except when there is no internet)!

August 25, 2020

Nicole's research is featured in SpeakOUT

This month Nicole McGill's PhD research has been featured in the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) magazine - SpeakOUT (August 2020) on pages 24-25. Nicole was the recipient of the Nadia Verall Memorial Research Grant during her PhD, and this article outlines the important research she completed regarding waiting lists. Even before submitting her PhD she has been invited by a number of different groups of speech pathologists to talk about her research (including the Northern Territory SPA branch. Most recently she is creating a Continuing Professional Development resource for SPA. Congratulations Nicole.

August 21, 2020

SDG Action Group

I am a member of the new Charles Sturt University Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Action Group. Here are two recent examples of integrating SDGs throughout CSU research that I have been involved in: 

Additionally, here are some CSU news releases about my research and alignment with SDGs (esp. 3, 4, and 10): 

The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings assess universities against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2020, Charles Sturt participated in THE’s Impact Rankings for the first time. We ranked 61st overall out of 766 global participants. We also achieved two top 10 rankings in the Reduced Inequalities and Gender Equality categories. To support Charles Sturt’s 2021 submission, a THE Impact Rankings ‘Action Group’ is being established. Action Group members will champion opportunities to strengthen institutional support for the SDGs and gather evidence for the 2021 submission. The Action Group will support Charles Sturt’s objectives to further integrate the SDGs in operations, curriculum, research and engagement with the wider community.

August 20, 2020

Our hard-working VietSpeech team

Members of our hard-working VietSpeech team meet each Monday and Tuesday to plan, analyse data, and write papers.  Our VietSpeech grant is funded by an ARC Discovery Grant. More details are here.

Study 1 papers have either been published or are in various stages of revision with international journals.

Study 2 data transcription will be finished next week. Data analysis is finished for the English data.

Study 3 interviews are going well.

Study 4 planning is well underway (and lots of fun!)

August 18, 2020

The rights of children with speech, language and communication needs in early childhood education and care

The following book chapter has been accepted for publication: Cronin, A., McLeod, S., & Wren, Y. (2020, in press). The rights of children with speech, language and communication needs in early childhood education and care. In F. Press & S. Cheeseman (Eds.). (Re)conceptualising children’s rights in infant-toddler early childhood care and education: Transnational conversations. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. 

Here is the abstract 

This chapter reviews international literature on communication rights and applies it to young children particularly in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. Communication rights within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child encompass: freedom of expression and opinion (Articles 12 and 13) and the language(s) in which children communicate (Articles 2, 29, 30 and 40). Accommodating and upholding communicative rights for children may require flexibility and creativity, depending on the modality of the children’s communication, and the language that they use. Thought and consideration to children’s right to communicate is imperative given communication is necessary for protection of many other rights. The second part of the chapter expands the discussion to specific considerations relating to communication rights for young children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), in particular, those with cleft lip and palate. A commentary is presented by Dr Yvonne Wren focusing on the rights of children with SLCN (including those with cleft lip and palate) in the United Kingdom (UK). Dr Wren draws on information from the Cleft Collective Cohort Studies, a large-scale national cohort study of over 2,000 children born with cleft lip and/or palate in the UK, with a particular focus on the early childhood experiences of education and care for children in the cohort.

The Informed SLP reviews our paper on assessments for toddlers with cleft lip and palate

The Informed SLP has just published a review that includes our LSHSS paper on assessments for toddlers with cleft lip and palate. Their review is titled Under pressure: Looking beyond oral pressure consonants in children with cleft palate

Our paper that they reviewed is here:

Cronin, A., Mcleod, S., & Verdon, S. (2020). Holistic Communication Assessment for Young Children With Cleft Palate Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health:Children and Youth. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.

2020 Speech Pathology Week

In 2020, Speech Pathology Week is from 23-29 August and the theme is: Communicating with confidence. The Speech Pathology Australia  website is here.



August 16, 2020

Invited presentations at the SLP2B 2020 conference

This week the SLP2B 2020 Conference  is being run by the Speech Pathology Australia Student Association at LaTrobe University, Australian Catholic University, and Melbourne University. 

I was invited to be a keynote speaker (here.). First I was invited to prepare at 10 minute presentation. My topic was "Speaking up for communication rights at the United Nations" and the presentation is here.

Additionally, I was interviewed by Bridgett James and Danielle Vidoni who asked some fabulous questions on behalf of speech pathology students. Our interview is here

The students also invited other researchers (including A/Prof Jane McCormack, Prof Pamela Snow), speech pathologists and a consumer to provide their insights. It was great to see their initiative in transitioning from a face-to-face conference to an online conference. As a result it was available for many more speech pathology students than they had originally planned to reach. Congratulations to the organisers and best wishes to all of the SLP2Bs as they navigate an extremely unusual year of their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that they will be more resiliant, creative and responsive as a result.

Bridgett James, Sharynne McLeod and Danielle Vidoni

Here is the description of the conference by Speech Pathology Australia

SLP2B 2020
SLP2B is back for another year but this year with a twist - we are going online! The Victorian Branch Student Reps have outdone themselves and thought innovatively to organise SLP2B 2020. Speech-Language Pathologist 2 Be is a student seminar organised by students, for students. The Victoria Branch SPA reps have been working hard to bring this event back against the odds (thanks a bunch 2020) and managed to organise a star lineup of speakers to share their wealth of knowledge with you. What’s even better is that you can access their expertise at your leisure! Speech Pathologists from different sectors will talk about their career pathways, and a consumer will share their personal SP therapy experiences. Because it's online this year, participants can access the event at their leisure from 17 August until 17 September. Please find details online.

August 14, 2020

Speech pathologists and COVID-19

Today Speech Pathology Australia posted the following request (which is similar to what is happening for speech pathologists around the world):

Expressions of Interest from Speech Pathologists – NSW COVID Testing Clinics
The NSW Ministry of Health is seeking assistance from qualified speech pathologists with CPSP status to provide support for NSW COVID testing sites. COVID testing sites are located across NSW including metropolitan, regional and rural locations. In the event of outbreaks, testing sites may be opened at short notice and may operate for extended hours. Specific tasks may include the taking of oropharyngeal and/or nasopharyngeal swabs and general duties. These will be paid positions. Register interest by completing a survey…

Speech pathologists routinely conduct oromusculature assessments (OMAs), so have good knowledge of the anatomy that is tested using the nasal and throat swabs.

Early Childhood Research Group - new website

 Today we launched Charles Sturt University Early Childhood Research Group website:

We also have a new Twitter account: @CSU_ECRG

We will be advertising the Early Childhood Voices 2020 Conference very soon!

Here is our overview:

The Early Childhood Research Group (ECRG) promotes social justice for children, families and practitioners working with the early childhood sector (generally birth-8 years). We do this by using innovative methods, theories and partnerships with children, families, practitioners and the early childhood sector to co-produce, translate and implement research, and to generate evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence. Our research emphasises sustainability, children’s rights, enhancing children’s access to, participation in and outcomes from equitable, quality early childhood programs and services, workforce sustainability, and transformation of the social, policy and organisational conditions that enable social justice. We seek opportunities to bridge gaps and promote holistic approaches between settings (early childhood education and care, schools, homes, health and disability services), and bodies (government departments, international and national organisations). We build capacity for engaging in transformative research within our group and with other researchers. 

We are guided by Charles Sturt University’s ethos: Yindyamarra winhanganha "The wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in" and Charles Sturt University’s motto: "For the public good". We also align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals  3, 4, 8, 10

 More information 

Website (CSU-FOAE) 

Our research (CRO) 

Our impact (PlumX) 

Please contact us if you would like to join our research group, partner with us, or participate in our research.We welcome comments and inquiries from professionals, researchers, research partners, and aspiring PhD students. Dr Tamara Cumming and Professor Sharynne McLeod 

We have purchased some fantastic new iStock images to use on the website.

 Photo credit:

Grant to study speech acquisition of 1,000 Vietnamese-speaking children in Vietnam

Congratulations to Dr Ben Pham who has just received a grant from the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED). 

The project is titled "Speech acquisition of Vietnamese-speaking children" (August 2020 - August 2022) 

Here is the summary:

Studying children’s speech acquisition has attracted researchers for a long time, across languages and countries. Theoretical and clinical importance of understanding the typical course of children’s speech acquisition has been well explained in many studies. In addition to reviewing previous studies and creating theoretical foundation, the overarching aim of this project is to describe speech acquisition of Vietnamese-speaking children aged 2;0-5;11 (years; months) and will be achieved through following aims: children’s intelligibility scores, percentage of phoneme correct; age of acquisition; phoneme inventory; common phonological processes; clinical markers to identify children with speech sound disorders from typically developing children; and factors associated with Vietnamese-speaking children’s speech acquisition. Systematic review will be used through searching, collecting, and selecting relevant references to the research then applying content analysis to draw a systematic review on speech acquisition studies across the world and in Vietnam. In order to achieve the overarching aim, quantitative methodology will be applied through cross-sectional design using different data collection methods (including Questionnaire, Delphi method, and Testing or direct speech assessment). Children’s speech samples will be analyzed by Phon software and the project's data will be analyzed by using SPSS including descriptive and inferential statistics. 

Here is link of the annoucement: 

The grant is for 990 million VND to collect data from 1,000 children including children with speech sound disorders in Bac Giang, Hai Phong and Ninh Binh provinces (three regions representative for three sub-dialects of the northern dialect).

This grant will extend the work that Ben began during her PhD. Congratulations Ben!

August 11, 2020

Our productive VietSpeech team

 We are having an extremely productive time at the moment in our ARC Discovery grant. The VietSpeech team have been working on the following:

  • Study 1
    • one paper has been published 
    • manuscript revisions for two journal articles are almost completed
    • other papers are in submission awaiting feedback from the journals
  • Study 2
    • data entry for English (children and adults) has been completed and analysed. 
    • data entry for Vietnamese (adults) is complete and the children's data are almost entered ready for analysis
    • a case study paper is being circulated to the team before submission to a journal
    • four more papers are in draft form
  •  Study 3
    • one paper is in draft form
    • interviews of experts are underway
  • Study 4
    •  our intervention is being planned
    • Vietnamese-English books and resources are being created and purchased
    • dates have been set
  • Overall
    • a number of papers have been/are being written that have informed/summarize our work (e.g., we have been invited to write a book chapter in a Portuguese book).

What a great team to work with.

VietSpeech team members: Sarah Verdon, Sharynne McLeod, Kate Margetson, Van Tran

August 7, 2020

Peer review

 Over the past few years I have reviewed for the following journals (some of them numerous times): 

  • Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics 
  • Developmental Neurorehabilitation 
  • Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 
  • International Journal of Early Childhood 
  • International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 
  • Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 
  • Language and Speech 
  • Language Learning and Development 
  • Speech Communication 
  • Speech, Language and Hearing 
  • The Heritage Language Journal

When I am not available I always try to recommend someone else who may be in a position to review the manuscript.

 I conduct peer reviews, because like my colleague Sarah Verdon (see tweets below), I believe that reviewers strengthen our work. They have lots of insights that our team have not thought of - and we appreciate thoughtful reviews.