May 24, 2010

Hong Kong University

As part of my Future Fellowship I am travelling to a number of countries over the next 2 months.
The first place I visited was Hong Kong University. During my visit I presented two seminars for speech therapists across Hong Kong:
I learned about Cantonese, and worked with Dr Carol To and Pamela Cheung on children's speech acquisition. I also discussed research with Tara Whitehill, Anita Wong, Estella Ma, Brad McPherson, Brendan Weekes, Edwin Yiu, Manwa Ng, Lydia So, Diana Ho, Lorinda Kwan, and others from the department. I was also taken to many fantastic resturants, incluing the one pictured below where the whole deparment took me out to lunch! One delicacy that I was given was ducks' tongues (I am not sure if this was specially reserved for visiting speech therapists)!

Sharynne, Jessica and Tara Whitehill
visiting Lamma Island
Carol To, Sharynne, and Pamela Cheung at HKU
Lunch with the staff from HKU

May 21, 2010

Listening to children

One of the privileges of this Future Fellowship is listening to children. I am about to visit countries from Asia to Africa (via USA, Europe and UK) as part of the Future Fellowship and am looking forward to talking with children and people who devote their lives to children's speech and language.

May 20, 2010

Book: Children's speech

Dr Elise Baker (The University of Sydney) and I have been working together on a number of projects. While we were in Melbourne we co-presented a paper on evidence-based practice for intervention for children with speech sound disorders. We also worked on a book proposal and chapters outlined in my Future Fellowship for a book titled Children's speech.

Speech Pathology Australia National Conference

The Speech Pathology Australia National Conference was held in Melbourne this year.

Mr Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services opened the conference, and suggested that speech pathologists are "civil rights actors" (I completely agree!). I was invited by SPA to discuss our research into the prevalence and impact of childhood communication impairment with Mr Shorten at the end of the conference.

During the conference I co-presented the following studies:
  • The Sound Effects Study: A four-phased study examining speech impairment in a community-based sample of 4- to 5-year olds
  • The Sound Effects Study: Speech impairment in early childhood ascertained by direct assessment, speech pathologist, teacher, parent, and child report
  • The Sound Effects Study: Speech impairment in Indigenous and non Indigenous Australian children and co-occurrence with difficulties with language, hearing, oro-motor, and pre-literacy. 
  • The Sound Effects Study: The experience and impact of speech impairment in early childhood
  • The Sound Effects Study: Access to and participation in speech pathology services for children with speech impairment
  • Evidence-based intervention for children with speech sound disorders (Baker & McLeod)
  • Nonword repetition: A systematic review of purposes, populations, languages and variables (Crowe, McLeod & Ching)
Speech Pathology Australia and Charles Sturt University promoted the Sound Effects Study through their media releases. We were interviewed on a number of radio stations and our work was reported in online newspapers as a result.

 Dr. Gregg Lof from MIH, Boston was a keynote speaker. It was a great honour to have Gregg in Australia and for Australian speech pathologists to hear his dynamic presentations.

Sound Effects Study writing retreat

The Sound Effects Study was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant from 2007-2009. Linda Harrison, Lindy McAllister, Jane McCormack and I spent 3 productive days in Melbourne writing papers from the Sound Effects Study. We submitted 1 paper and have 4 almost ready to submit. We also prepared to present 5 papers at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference.

Sound Effects Study website
Chinese English People's News story
Iespider news

May 11, 2010

Vietnam’s first speech therapy degree

Australian Volunteers International and Trinh Foundation Australia is supporting Vietnam’s first speech therapy degree, to start at Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, in Ho Chi Minh City in September 2010. Students will undertake a two-year postgraduate diploma. I have been invited to be one of the first academics to teach in the course.

The agreement for the course to be established was signed by
  • Professor Lindy McAllister, The University of Queensland
  • Professor Nguyen Tan Binh, Rector of Pham Ngoc Thach University
  • Dr Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, Professor of the ENT Department of Pham Ngoc Thach University and Director of ENT Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City
I will be teaching one subject within the course and will be working with the student to establish protocols for the assessment of children's speech as part of my Future Fellowship.
L-R Sue Woodward, Marie Atherton, Lindy McAllister, Alison Winkworth
and Sharynne McLeod at the Trinh Foundation fundraising night

May 10, 2010

Multilingual children with hearing loss: Communication choices and outcomes

Kate Crowe (centre) with her supervisors
Prof. Sharynne McLeod and Dr. Teresa Ching
On Friday 7th May Kate Crowe, my PhD student presented her endorsement of candidature session at Australian Hearing in Chatswood, Sydney. Her PhD is titled Multilingual children with hearing loss: Communcation choices and outcomes.
Here is her synposis:
Children with hearing loss often have difficulty acquiring language due to their reduced ability to perceive spoken language (McConkey Robbins, Green, & Waltzman, 2004). Caregivers of children with a hearing loss must make decisions regarding their child’s communication mode (e.g., oral, manual or mixed communication) at very early stages in their child’s development, and re-evaluate these decisions as their child develops (Wheeler, Archbold, Hardie, & Watson, 2009). Caregivers from multilingual families or families where the preferred language is not the dominant community language, must also decide which language or languages they will use with their child (Waltzman, McConkey Robbins, Green, & Cohen, 2003). This situation leads to four areas of investigation explored in this thesis, all of which have been relatively unexplored in the literature to date. Firstly, what is the demography of communication mode and language use of children with hearing loss? Secondly, which factors do caregivers consider when making decisions about communication mode and language use for their child with a hearing loss? Thirdly, which factors do professionals consider important when advising the caregivers of children with hearing loss about communication mode and language use choices? Finally, what are the speech, language and participation outcomes of children with hearing loss in terms of the impact of different language use options? The information gained from these investigations will assist caregivers and professionals in understanding how decisions about communication mode and language use are made and the possible impact of these decisions on the speech, language and participation of children with hearing loss. Results will be discussed in the framework of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health - Children and Youth (ICF-CY, World Health Organization, 2007b), making findings accessible to health and education professionals internationally.

May 7, 2010

Occasional address at the CSU graduation

I was invited to give the occasional address at the Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education graduation ceremony today. My address was titled 'Every child is important'. It was wonderful to see the proud smiles of the graduating students.
With Chancellor Lawrie Willett
Presenting the occasional address

May 3, 2010

IJSLP accepted by Medline

I have just learned that IJSLP has been accepted for indexing by Medline. This is a very significant moment for the journal and will ensure that our work is seen by many more readers throughout the world. Our acceptance into Medline continues the exciting trend of the inclusion of IJSLP into the world's top databases. This continues the success of the journal over recent months: IJSLP has been accepted into PsychINFO, SCOPUS, and ISI (Spcial Sciences Citation Index) and now Medline!