March 17, 2016

Happy St Patrick's Day

I love what I learn working amongst colleagues from different countries. Today is St Patrick's Day and one of my colleagues from Northern Ireland sent me this wish:
Mar a théann tú síos céimeanna an tsaoil, nach sínfeadh na sceilpe an treo mícheart.
“As we slide down the bannisters of life, may the splinters always point in the right direction”

March 16, 2016

Polysyllable productions in preschool children with speech sound disorders

The following article has been accepted for publication. It is a part of Sarah Masso's PhD:
Masso, S., McLeod, S., Baker, E., & McCormack, J. (2016, in press March). Polysyllable productions in preschool children with speech sound disorders: Error categories and the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Here is the abstract

Purpose: Children with speech sound disorders (SSD) find polysyllables difficult; however, routine methods of sampling and measuring speech accuracy are insufficient to describe polysyllable accuracy and maturity. This study had two aims: (1) to compare two speech production tasks and, (2) to describe polysyllable errors within the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity. Method: Ninety-three preschool children with SSD from the Sound Start Study (4;0-5;5 years) completed the Polysyllable Preschool Test (POP; Baker, 2013) and the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology (DEAP-Phonology; Dodd et al., 2002). Result: Consonant accuracy was similar, but vowel accuracy was significantly different between the POP and the DEAP-Phonology. Production errors were analysed according to the seven error categories of the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP): (1) substitution of consonants or vowels (97.8% of children demonstrated common use), (2) deletion of syllables, consonants or vowels (65.6%), (3) distortion of consonants or vowels (0.0%), (4) addition of consonants or vowels (0.0%), (5) alteration of phonotactics (77.4%), (6) alteration of timing (63.4%),  and (7) alteration of sequence (0.0%). The Framework of Polysyllable Maturity described five levels of maturity based on children’s errors. Conclusions: Polysyllable productions of preschool children with SSD can be analysed and categorised using the WAP, and interpreted using the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity.

Mehrsprachige Kinder mit Aussprachestörung: Internationales Positionspapier [Multilingual children with speech sound disorder: International position paper]

The following article has been accepted for publication and is a result of collaboration with Dr. Sandra Neumann from the Universität zu Köln (University of Cologne) in Germany.
Neumann, S., Meinusch, M., Verdon, S. & McLeod, S. (2016, in press) Mehrsprachige Kinder mit Aussprachestörung: Internationales Positionspapier [Multilingual children with speech sound disorder: International position paper], Logos. doi: 10.7345/prolog-1602084.

Here is the English version of the abstract:

Some children have speech sound disorders (SSD) regardless of whether they speak one, two, or multiple languages. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) across the world have indicated that they may not have adequate skills and resources to provide appropriate care for multilingual children with speech sound disorders.

This paper presents the first international position paper for working with multilingual children with SSD (IEPMCS, 2012). The position paper aims to provide direction and practical strategies for SLPs and related professionals working with children who are multilingual and/or multicultural, and to inform governments and policy makers in health care systems to provide optimal care internationally.

The position paper was developed in a five-step procedure by the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech/IEPMCS) comprising 57 researchers of speech-language pathology during face-to-face discussion (with 14 members) and additional online-discussions with additional participants.

A position paper of 5 pages was published, that incorporates the components of the ICF-CY and reflects the following contents: definitions, objectives in the framework of the ICF-CY (WHO, 2007), identified challenges to provide culturally competent and evidence-based services to multilingual children with speech sound disorders and recommended best practice.

The current position paper gives Germany guidance for best practice when working with children with SSD and their parents in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. To implement the paper in research and practice will be an important goal for the future.

Lecturing CSU's dentistry students

Today I provided a 2-hour lecture to the CSU dentistry students. I discussed the role of a speech pathologist, guidelines for typical speech and language development in children as well as reasons for referral, and showed them some electropalatography and ultrasound images of tongue/palate contact. The students attended the lecture via videoconference in locations across the state: Bathurst, Orange, Albury, Port Macquarie, Wagga, Dubbo, Sydney, and 13 were on the phone in these and other locations. I enjoy talking with dentistry students, since there are many synergies with our work as speech pathologists.

March 12, 2016

Sarah's SPSS PhD visit

This week Sarah Masso was in Bathurst to work with Audrey Wang and myself on her next PhD paper. Sarah currently is exploring change in preschoolers' polysyllable maturity over 3 time points. Audrey worked with Sarah on her data using SPSS, and together they imputed data and statistically described change over time. During the visit Sarah also supported Ben's data entry and analysis, and we celebrated Sarah's PhD birthday. It was a very productive week.
Sarah and Audrey
Sharynne, Sarah, and Ben

March 7, 2016

Planning for 2030

Speech Pathology Australia is hosting a series of events titled Speech Pathology 2030 - Making futures happen. The purpose is "to engage members of the profession in the development of a shared vision for how the profession will successfully respond to change over the next decade and beyond". Conversations are being held across Australia including at CSU. Last week Sarah Masso co-hosted an event at CSU Homebush, and this week Chris Plant has invited me to participate in an event at CSU Albury. The Border Mail news story is here. Last week I also participated in an event with Life Members and Fellows. It is exciting to listen to colleagues dreams and aspirations for the future.

SPA2030 conversation via Adobe Connect
between CSU Albury and Bathurst

March 5, 2016

Anna's Churchill Fellowship begins

Anna Cronin, my newest PhD student, will embark on her Churchill Fellowship in less than two weeks. She will be visiting sites in New Zealand (Auckland), Brazil (Bauru), US (Atlanta, St Louis, Laramie, Salt Lake City), and Denmark (Copenhagen). The topic of her Fellowship is "The optimal management of speech problems in toddlers with cleft palate". The announcement of Anna's award is here. Enjoy your Fellowship Anna, and we look forward to hearing about all you have learned.

March 2, 2016

Welcome Franklin!

Today I had the honour of meeting the newest member of our research community: Franklin. He was born last week and the whole family are doing really well. I passed on the congratulatory messages from our research student community, CSU, RIPPLE, SOTE, and the International Expert Panel. Congratulations! (Thanks Sarah for allowing me to hold him for so long and to share this photo.)
Sarah Verdon, 1 week old Franklin, and lucky Sharynne