December 29, 2016

Ben's data collection in Viet Nam

Congratulations to Ben Pham who has assessed 96 children (including 8 children under 3;0) using the Vietnamese Speech Assessment in Hai Phong during December. She is now in Ho Chi Minh City to lecture to the speech therapy students at Pham Ngoc Thach University and to assist Xuan Le set up her data collection for children who speak southern Vietnamese.

December 21, 2016

Charles Sturt University 2016

Here is a snapshot of some of the achievements of my university for 2016 that have not been mentioned on my blog:

December 20, 2016

Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services

The following research project, commissioned by Speech Pathology Australia has been approved to commence in 2017:
McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C. & Verdon, S. (2017). Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services.
We will analyse data from Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children to provide information that Speech Pathology Australia can use in their government submissions to support Indigenous Australian children to grow up strong.

December 16, 2016

Sarah Masso's PhD graduation

Today Sarah Masso graduated with her PhD. Her PhD supervisors and family all traveled to Bathurst to celebrate with her. Her PhD was titled: Polysyllable Maturity of Preschool Children with Speech Sound Disorders and the abstract is here. Congratulations Dr Masso! We are all very proud of you.

Dr Sarah Masso with her supervisory team: Dr Audrey Wang, Dr Elise Baker,
Dr Jane McCormack, and Sharynne
Dr Sarah Masso with her proud family and supervisors
It was also a very happy occasion because my son graduated with a BA(Hons) at the same ceremony.
Sharynne with her family, and her son's honours supervisor, Dr Ruth Bacchus

December 15, 2016

Writing grants and journal articles

Even though Christmas is next week, we are in full swing writing grants and journal articles. For example, Sarah Verdon has been visiting Bathurst this week, funded by the Faculty of Arts and Education, to continue writing a grant for submission early in the new year.
Suzanne Hopf met with her supervisors, Sarah McDonagh, Audrey Wang and myself to finalise a paper that she submitted to a journal soon after our meeting yesterday. This was our last meeting with Sarah McDonagh as a staff member of CSU.
Sharynne, Suzanne (Skype), Sarah and Audrey
Sharynne, Sarah and Franklin writing a grant

December 14, 2016

RIPPLE farewells

The Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education will close at the end of 2016. We have had cross-campus farewells to RIPPLE staff, and have celebrated the significant impact of RIPPLE research across the nation and the world.
RIPPLE researchers in Bathurst at the farewell
RIPPLE research fellows: Dr Sarah Verdon, Dr Audrey (Cen) Wang,  Dr Helen (Jinjin) Lu,
and early early career researcher Franklin
RIPPLE researchers and staff in Wagga Wagga
RIPPLE researchers in Bathurst: Dr Audrey Wang, Dr Helen Lu, Prof Fran Press,
Franklin, Dr Sarah Verdon, Prof Sharynne McLeod

December 12, 2016

Students' awards

Today I was invited to the CSU Faculty of Arts and Education Research and Graduate Studies Management Committee to discuss the awards success of my honours, PhD, and postdoctoral scholars. My students are outstanding, so it was great to share their success with members of the Faculty. Here are my students' awards (so far):

  • Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship (Crowe, 2016) 
  • Endeavour Research Fellowship (Verdon, 2014; Masso, 2016)
  • Charles Sturt University PhD Write Up Award (Masso, 2016)
  • Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship (Hopf, 2014) 
  • Australian Awards Scholarship (Phạm, 2014-2018) 
  • Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship (McCormack, 2010; Blake, 2016 – shortlisted) 
  • Churchill Fellowship (Cronin, 2015) 
  • Australasian Human Development Association Conference Travel Scholarship (Masso, 2015) 
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Student Travel Award (Crowe, 2013) 
  • Trinh Foundation Research Grant (Pham, 2016)
  • Australian Linguistic Society Gerhardt Laves Scholarship (Hopf, 2015)
  • Speech Pathology Australia Higher Degree Research Grant (Masso, 2015) 
  • Speech Pathology Australia Nadia Verrall Memorial Scholarship (Watts Pappas, 2006)
  • CSU Honours Scholarship (Wilkin, 2012; Limbrick, 2011)
  • CSU Honours Operating Grant (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Mitchellsearch Honours Scholarship (Barr, 2006; Holliday, 2008)
  • SCOPUS Young Researcher Award for Humanities and Social Sciences (McCormack, 2011) 
  • NSW/ACT Young Achievers Award for Science Leadership (Verdon, 2014) 
  • Pursuit Award for Childhood Disability Research (Canada) runner-up (McCormack, 2013; Verdon, 2015) 
  • Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology Editor’s Prize (Crowe, 2014)
  • Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award (Watts Pappas, 2007; McCormack, 2010; Verdon, 2015) 
  • Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Best Student Paper (Barr, 2008)
  • Speech Pathology Australia National Conference Best Student Paper (Verdon, 2014; Howland, 2016) and Best Student Poster (Masso, 2014) 
  • Speech Pathology Australia Student Award for Outstanding Academic and Clinical Performance in the Bachelor program (Limbrick,2012; Howland, 2016) 
  • CSU Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Australian Federation of University Women Most Meritorious Graduate (Barr, 2006)
  • CSU 3 Minute Thesis Competition runner-up (Verdon, 2014; Masso, 2015)
  • Inaugural Three Minute Honours Thesis Competition Winner, Charles Sturt University (Limbrick, 2012)
  • Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme (NAHSSS)--Allied Health Undergraduate Stream (Limbrick, 2010-2012)
  • CSU Excellence Scholarship (Limbrick, 2009-2012) 

December 9, 2016

Indigenous research summit

Over the past 2 days I have been on Wiradjuri land in Dubbo at the Charles Sturt University Indigenous Research Summit. It has been a rich experience listening to and learning from outstanding people who are working across Australia and New Zealand. The keynote speakers were:
  • Lesley Rameka, University of Waikato
  • Maggie Walter, University of Tasmania
Some words that were repeated throughout the 2 days were:
  • respect, reframe, reclaim, revitalise, resist
  • language, law, land, look, listen, learn

Sarah Verdon at the Yarradamarra Centre in Dubbo

Our children and families

The work undertaken by our team focuses on the communication skills of children and families throughout the world. Every so often on my blog I mention the importance of our own families who underpin who we are and the work we do. Here are some recent photos of the mothers in our team.

Sharynne, Franklin and Sarah
Mothers - Ben, Sharynne, Sarah and Suzanne
holding Vietnamese turtle mothers with their babies on their backs
Suzanne and her family with her co-supervisor Sarah McDonagh and her family in Fiji

December 7, 2016

Ben's data collection in Hai Phong, Viet Nam

Ben Pham leaves Australia today to travel back to Viet Nam to undertake stage 2 of her data collection for her PhD. She is researching children's speech acquisition in Northern Viet Nam. Stage 1 was undertaken in Ha Noi at the end of last year/beginning of this year (see here) and stage 2 will be undertaken in Hai Phong. Best wishes Ben!

December 6, 2016

Changes in polysyllable speech accuracy of children with speech sound disorders

Sarah Masso is presenting the following poster this week:
Masso, S., McLeod, S., Baker, E., McCormack, J., & Wang, C. (2016, December). Changes in polysyllable speech accuracy of children with speech sound disorders. Poster presentation to Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Parramatta, Australia.
 Here is the content:
Polysyllables are words of three or more syllables. Children with speech sound disorders (SSD) find polysyllables difficult to say and poor polysyllable production may be one marker to identify children at risk of literacy difficulties . Although longitudinal studies are valuable to describe progressions of speech development in children with SSD, no studies have explored progressions in polysyllable development in children with SSD. A longitudinal study of polysyllables is required to determine the factors that impact children’s polysyllable maturity in the year before school.
1. To determine changes in consonant and vowel accuracy in polysyllables produced by children with SSD over time.
2. To identify child and family factors that may be associated with the progression of children’s polysyllable maturity.
Eighty children (50 male) with SSD (aged 4;0-5;4) who were participants of a community-based cluster randomized controlled trial were the participants for this study. All children had delayed phonological development based on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology, typical nonverbal intelligence, and no significant medical history. Children produced the 30 polysyllables of the Polysyllable Preschool Test at three time points (over 14-22 weeks) in the year before school. Percentage of consonants correct (PCC), percentage of vowels correct (PVC), and the seven categories of the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP) were calculated. Polysyllable maturity was analysed using the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity and children’s polysyllable maturity was classified in to one of five maturity levels (Levels A-E). For example, Level A was characterized by high frequency of deletion errors, alterations in phonotactics, and alterations in timing. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to determine changes in PCC and PVC over time. Binary logistic regression was used to identify child and family factors associated with whether children’s polysyllable maturity improved over time.
A model considering age, sex, receptive vocabulary, and starting level of polysyllable maturity (child factors), and SES and family history of speech, language, and literacy difficulties (family factors) significantly predicted whether children improved their polysyllable maturity over time χ2 (8) =24.62, p=.002. Family history and polysyllable maturity at time 1 were significant predictors of whether children improved polysyllable maturity over time. Children in the second lowest level of polysyllable maturity (Level B) were 11.87 times more likely to improve than children who demonstrated the least mature polysyllables (Level A) at time 1.
Children with SSD do demonstrate improved segmental accuracy (PCC and PVC) over time in the year before school. However, when considering polysyllable maturity, some children are less likely to improve. Specifically, children who realise all the syllables in polysyllabic words are more likely to improve than those children who have a high frequency of vowel deletions. This research provides empirical evidence for the use of polysyllables in assessment to identify children who may be at greatest risk of having ongoing difficulties saying polysyllables over time. Considering the possible relationship between polysyllable accuracy and risk of literacy difficulties, it is important to identify these children and provide effective early intervention for speech and emergent literacy.

December 5, 2016

Annual PhD and postdoc scholars meeting

Today all of my CSU students traveled to Sydney to meet for our annual face-to-face meeting. We traveled from Fiji, Newcastle, Brisbane, Shepparton, Albury, and Bathurst for the day. The day included presentations about postdoc progress from Kate Crowe (from USA) and Sarah Verdon,  plus PhD progress from Sarah Masso (her graduation is next week), Suzanne Hopf, Ben Pham, Helen Blake, Anna Cronin and Nicole Limbrick. What an impressive team undertaking important work throughout the world! Then we planned which future conferences we would attend, and grants and awards we would apply for. There was so much richness shared, I wish we had at least 2 days together. I am so privileged to work with such amazing women: today was a key highlight of my year.
Sarah Masso, Suzanne Hopf, Ben Pham, Helen Blake, Sarah Verdon, Nicole Limbrick, Anna Cronin, Sharynne McLeod
Sarah, Suzanne, Ben, Kate (in USA), Sarah, Anna, Helen, Nicole
The summary of our meetings in 2014 and 2015 are here and here.

December 3, 2016

Kate Crowe's Fulbright adventures

Kate Crowe has been updating her blog:
with all of her Fulbright adventures. It is a good read!

December 1, 2016

Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for school students in Fiji

Suzanne has just the following  manuscript accepted for publication and this will form part of her PhD:
Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S. & McDonagh, S. (2016, in press November). Validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for school students in Fiji. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics.
Here is the abstract:
Fiji is a multilingual nation with few assessment tools addressing children’s communication. This paper describes the validation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for Fiji English, Standard Fijian, and Fiji Hindi. Informants were caregivers of 65 typically-developing multilingual children (aged 5;3-10;5) attending a Fiji primary school. The students spoke an average of 2.9 languages (range=1-5). Their main language was Standard Fijian (41.5%), Fiji Hindi (23.1%), Fiji English (20.0%), or Fijian dialect (15.4%). An ICS mean score of 4.6 was obtained for main language (ICS-ML) and 4.4 for Fiji English (ICS-FE) indicating that students were usually to always intelligible. There were no significant differences between main language, number of languages spoken, gender, age, or socio-economic status. Both scales had good internal consistency but were not correlated with speech accuracy measures possibly due to ceiling effects. Further validation with younger children is recommended. The ICS may be a useful tool for Fiji with comparative results to other international studies.