April 21, 2018

Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication:
McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018, in press April). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

We believe that this will be a landmark publication - providing the most comprehensive cross-linguistic account of consonant acquisition ever undertaken in the world.

Here is the abstract:
Purpose: To provide a cross-linguistic review of acquisition of consonant phonemes to inform speech-language pathologists’ expectations of children’s developmental capacity by (1) identifying characteristics of studies of consonant acquisition, (2) describing general principles of consonant acquisition, and (3) providing case studies for English, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Method: A cross-linguistic review was undertaken of 60 papers describing 64 studies of consonant acquisition by 26,007 children from 31 countries in 27 languages: Afrikaans, Arabic, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Jamaican Creole, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Maltese, Mandarin (Putonghua), Portuguese, Setswana (Tswana), Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, and Xhosa. Results: Most studies were cross-sectional and examined single word production. Combining data from 27 languages, the majority of the world’s consonants were acquired by 5;0 (years;months). By 5;0 children produced at least 93 percent of consonants correctly. Plosives, nasals, and non-pulmonic consonants (e.g., clicks) were acquired earlier than trills, flaps, fricatives, and affricates. Most labial, pharyngeal, and posterior lingual consonants were acquired earlier than consonants with anterior tongue placement. However, there was an interaction between place and manner where plosives and nasals produced with anterior tongue placement were acquired earlier than anterior trills, fricatives, and affricates. Conclusion: Children across the world acquire consonants at a young age. Five-year-old children have acquired most consonants within their ambient language; however, individual variability should be considered.
Here is a graphic we have created to summarize the English consonant acquisition data

April 17, 2018

Chatting with colleagues

This morning my colleague Dr Tamara Cumming organised a morning tea so that the people in our building (who work in different departments) all had a chance to chat with one another. It was a happy occasion where we shared our interests. Events such as this are so important for collegiality and wellbeing.

April 14, 2018

Media attention regarding our teacher-child relationships paper

The following journal article has been profiled by Charles Sturt University's media department this week:

Wang, C., Harrison, L. J., McLeod, S., Walker, S., & Spilt, J. L. (2018). Can teacher–child relationships support human rights to freedom of opinion and expression, education and participation? International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20(1), 133-141. doi:10.1080/17549507.2018.1408855

It is freely available (open access) here:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17549507.2018.1408855

The CSU media release is here: http://news.csu.edu.au/latest-news/education/teacher-education/early-teacher-child-relationships-vital-to-a-childs-ability-to-effectively-communicate-in-life

Cen (Audrey) has been interviewed about the journal article here:
The article and media release also has received attention on social media too:

Here is Audrey's summary of our findings that she presented on the radio (and available at Kudos https://goo.gl/uAZzMD):
Communication is a fundamental human right. We believe it is important for children, especially children with speech and language difficulties to have the ability to express themselves and debate in the public domain. Therefore, we wanted to study what factors are helpful for children with speech and language difficulties to overcome these challenges. In this particular research, we studied teacher-child relationships. We all remember or know teachers who made us feel valued, loved, warm and safe. We are more likely to share our feelings/experience with them and have a warm affectionate relationship. This positive relationship provides children a wonderful language context to freely express themselves and develop language skills. This can be especially important for children with speech language difficulties.

We analysed the data from a government collected dataset called Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. It is a study that spanned a number of years. In this study, we were able to examine teacher-child relationships when children were 4-5 years, then  6-7 years, then again 8-9 years and finally 10-11 years. The total number of participants is over 4000.

We found a few interesting findings:
  1. First of all, we have good news.  For both children with speech language difficulties and children without speech language difficulties, the majority had consistently higher levels of closeness and consistently lower levels of conflict with their teachers over time.
  2. However, children with speech and language difficulties tend to have slightly higher levels of conflict and lower levels of closeness with their teachers over time, compared to children without speech language difficulties.
  3. An important and interesting finding is that children with speech and language difficulties who had positive relationships with teachers did better on all the outcomes compared to children who had NO speech language difficulties but had negative relationships with their teachers. This suggests that teacher-child relationship quality matters and a positive relationship is an important buffer against the negative effects associated with speech and language difficulties. The outcomes we examined in this study include children’s literacy and language skills, their sense of school belongingness, their peer relationship quality and their school engagement.
There are a few suggestions for teachers, parents and schools:
  1. Forming positive relationships need to start early. This is because early close relationships with teachers can put children at a low conflict trajectory with their teachers; equally importantly, it helps children who started school with moderate/high initial levels of conflict to be on a trajectory of decreasing conflict.
  2. One aspect to note is that children with speech language difficulties may have difficulties expressing themselves, understanding concepts and social cues. They have also been shown to have reduced capacity to understand their emotional experiences, express their needs effectively, and regulate their behaviours. Therefore, some of these children may appear more disruptive and show behavioural issues in the school environment. It is important to look beyond the behaviour issues and investigate whether the underlying cause could be speech and language difficulties. There are certain tools out there for teachers and family to make this identification.  My colleagues Prof. Sharynne McLeod and Prof. Linda Harrison have developed a very short, easy to use checklist, called Intelligibility in Context scale to help with early identification. This scale can be found at CSU’s website: http://www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech/ics
  3. There are free speech pathology services provided at local hospitals and community health centres that families can access. Families and schools can also go to the Speech Pathology Australia website to type in their postcode to locate local speech pathology service.

April 11, 2018

PhD meetings via Skype

Tonight I met with Anniek van Doornik and her supervisors Prof Ellen Gerrits and A/Prof Hayo Terband from HU University of Applied Sciences and Utrecht University (via Skype). I am a co-supervisor for her thesis. We were discussing Anniek's first publication from her PhD. She has worked very hard on this paper and it was a pleasure to meet and discuss her work.

April 10, 2018

Special issue of IJSLP has been published in hard copy

Today I received my copy of the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (volume 20, issue 1) on the topic of Communication Rights. I was the guest editor for the special issue, and it was published to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 31 articles are published across 190 pages, and are also available as open access articles online here: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/iasl20/20/1


March 23, 2018

Welcome Van

Last week Van Tran commenced her PhD at CSU. She will be supervised by Dr Sarah Verdon and myself and is studying via distance education. This week was her first visit to Bathurst. Van is part of our VietSpeech team and comes with a wealth of experience. She already has been awarded a PhD in linguistics from the University of Wollongong and is a NAATI accredited Vietnamese-English interpreter. Welcome Van!
Dr Van Tran with her PhD supervisors Dr Sarah Verdon and Prof Sharynne McLeod
Ben Pham, Vice Chancellor Andy Vann, Dr Van Tran
Van at the Carillion in Bathurst

March 22, 2018

First VietSpeech team meeting

Last year we were awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery grant titled "Vietnamese-Australian children's speech and language competence" (for 2018-2020). Since this time we have been recruiting project officers and a PhD student and preparing our ethics application. Our team live in Bathurst, Sydney and Albury, so today (and tomorrow) marks our first face-to-face team meeting. We have enjoyed meeting one another and planning the studies. Van Tran, our VietSpeech PhD student, met the Vice Chancellor on her first day on campus at CSU! He wished us well in our project (along with members of Academic Senate and Faculty Board who applauded during the respective meetings over the past 2 weeks when our project was announced). We hope that our work will have an impact on Vietnamese language maintenance in Australia, and will support Vietnamese-English children's speech and language competence. 

Van Tran, Vice Chancellor Andy Vann, Sarah Verdon, Ben Pham, Audrey Wang, Sharynne McLeod
Audrey, Ben, Sharynne, Van and Sarah

March 14, 2018

Farewell Professor Linda Harrison

Professor Linda Harrison has worked at Charles Sturt University for 25 years in the field of early childhood education. She developed the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) with Prof Jennifer Sumsion and was on the advisory group for the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). She has has a strong influence on researchers and research at CSU, including in her role as the inaugural Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts and Education. We have worked together for 14 years (see here). She is moving to Macquarie University and tonight was her farewell party. It was a wonderful time of celebration. We will miss her greatly.
Some of the people celebrating Linda's contribution to CSU
Carol Burgess (Head, School of Teacher Education), Dr Peter Wilson, Prof Linda Harrison, Prof Sharynne McLeod
Prof Linda Harrison, Emeritus Prof Bob Meyenn (previous Dean of Education), Prof Sharynne McLeod
Dr Shuka Sikder, Dr Audrey Wang, Prof Linda Harrison, Mark Situ

March 13, 2018

Reviewing ICPLA abstracts

Over the past few days I have been reviewing abstracts submitted to be considered for presentation at the upcoming conference of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association. I have reviewed them in my role as vice president and member of the scientific committee. Over 180 abstracts have been submitted - and the ones I have reviewed have been excellent. I am looking forward to seeing the final program and to hearing them presented at the conference in Malta in October.

March 10, 2018

Teaching year 2 students about working with children with speech sound disorders

I have been invited to teach SPH201: Speech Impairment in Children to the year 2 students at Charles Sturt University in Albury due to the illness of their allocated lecturer. They were using the textbook that Elise Baker and I had written titled "Children's Speech", so it seemed sensible that I teach them when the vacancy arose. I met some of the class while I was in Albury last week (they are great!) and will teach them via distance from Bathurst. I look forward to working with them to unpack the evidence underpinning clinical practice for working with children with speech sound disorders.

Visiting Albury

Last week I visited the Albury campus of Charles Sturt University. While there I
  • attended Academic Senate as the Professorial Representative, 
  • worked with Dr Sarah Verdon on the ethics for our VietSpeech Australian Research Council Grant, 
  • gave a public lecture to celebrate 20 years of the speech pathology program at CSU
  • worked with my PhD student Nicole McGill on data protocols, 
  • met with Dr Jane McCormack and discussed our invited journal article on children's perspectives on their speech,
  • visited the staff and students in the School of Community Health, 
  • and drove 5.5 hours each way between Bathurst and Albury. 
It was a busy but fulfilling few days.
Meeting with Nicole McGill
(before we got our computers out and started typing into spreadsheets!)

March 8, 2018

Public lecture to celebrate 20 years of speech pathology at Charles Sturt University

I was honoured to be invited to present a public lecture to celebrate 20 years of speech pathology at Charles Sturt University on Wednesday 7th March in Albury. I was a lecturer/senior lecturer in the speech pathology program from 1999-2003, so was involved in the establishment of the program.

The title of my lecture was "Communication as a Human Right: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and I presented our current work to celebrate communication rights within the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. The CSU media release about the event is here.
Some of the audience after the public lecture speaking up for communication rights

March 5, 2018

Increasing the reach of our research via Twitter

Over the past 2 weeks (20 Feb - 5 March) my tweets have earned "28.8K impressions" (even though I am only following 77 people and have 571 followers), with a daily average of 12 link clicks, 10 retweets, and 16 likes. It is so great to think that this many people are thinking about communication rights. Let's hope that they are also ensuring that people they come across in their daily lives have the right to communicate. #SpeakUp4CommRights


Speech Pathology Australia have launched a supporting website to promote communication rights: http://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/SpeakUp

February 28, 2018

Ethical approval for NSW Translational Research Health Grant

This week we have received the final ethical approval in order to undertake our NSW Health Translational Research Grant about waiting for speech pathology. We have had to submit extensive applications (that were different in each case) to Charles Sturt University, NSW Health, and Health Victoria. Hooray - the research now can begin across all of our research sites.

February 26, 2018

PhD students for 2018

Semester 1, 2018 begins today - and it is going to be a productive year.
Here are my Charles Sturt University PhD students for 2018:
  1. Ben Phạm co-supervised by Prof Linda Harrison – to submit mid 2018 
  2. Helen Blake co-supervised by Dr Sarah Verdon – to submit mid 2018 
  3. Anna Cronin co-supervised by Dr Sarah Verdon – to undertake data collection and writing in 2018 
  4. Nicole McGill co-supervised by Dr Kate Crowe – to undertake data collection and writing in 2018 
  5. Van Tran co-supervised by Dr Sarah Verdon – to begin in 2018
Here are my PhD students that I am co-supervising at other universities
  1. Anniek van Doornik-van der Zee supervised by Prof Ellen Gerrits - Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  2. Natalie Hegarty supervised by Dr Jill Titterington - Ulster University, Northern Ireland
Here four of my most recent PhD graduates and their post-PhD roles:
  1. Dr Suzanne Hopf - Lecturer, School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University
  2. Dr Sarah Masso -Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Sydney 
  3. Dr Sarah Verdon - Research Fellow, School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University
  4. Dr Kate Crowe - Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA
I am privileged to work with such inspirational women who are working to support communicative participation of children and adults throughout the world.

Sharynne, Nicole, Ben, Anna, Helen, Sarah M, Sarah V, Suzanne
at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference in May 2017

February 22, 2018

Special issue of IJSLP celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights published TODAY

The special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published TODAY as Volume 20, issue 1, 2018. It contains 31 papers that are available as open access (for free) and can be accessed via either of these links http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/iasl20/20/1 bit.ly/IJSLP-UDHR 

The CSU news release is here: http://news.csu.edu.au/latest-news/education/teacher-education/communication-is-a-human-right

We celebrated the launch today at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/communication-is-a-human-right-celebrating-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-universal-declaration-of-tickets-42303600207

Additional presentations have been/are being planned in Sydney, Albury, Adelaide, Bathurst, Malta, New York and Boston.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. (Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, 1948) 

There has been a lot of attention on Twitter throughout the day: #SpeakUp4CommRights @IJSLP @SpPathAust @UNHumanRights #StandUp4HumanRights



Invited lecture at Queensland University of Technology

Today I presented a lecture at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane in an event titled "Communication is a human right: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". The event was co-hosted by the Faculty of Education’s Childhood in Changing Contexts (CCC) and the Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour (#SELB) research groups and the details are here. The special issue was published this morning - so the event marked the launch of the 31 free articles focusing on Article 19 available here: http://bit.ly/IJSLP-UDHR

Here is a description and program from today
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the UDHR supports communication as a human right and states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
The International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology has joined the world in celebrating this milestone by publishing a special issue titled: "Communication is a human right: Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", guest edited by Professor Sharynne McLeod.
Professor McLeod will discuss the special issue and the right to communication. Her presentation will be followed by presentations by the authors of two papers published in the upcoming special issue, Dr Jenna Gillett-Swan and Ms Haley Tancredi.
  • Communication rights: Fundamental human rights for all - Sharynne McLeod
  • Assuring children’s human right to freedom of opinion and expression in education - Jenna Gillett-Swan & Jonathon Sargeant
  • Advancing the human rights of children with communication needs in school - A.L. Gallagher, Haley Tancredi, Linda J. Graham
QUT's facebook post abou the event is here: https://www.facebook.com/QUTEducation/posts/1509327996035226
Jenna Gillett-Swan, Sue Walker, Linda Graham, Haley Tancredi, Sharynne McLeod
Some of the attendees at the UDHR event @QUT

Visiting QUT

This week I have been visiting Queensland University of Technology. There are many wonderful people who work in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, so it has been great to catch up with many of them. The main purpose of my visit was to present an invited lecture on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; however, I also mentored future ARC grant applicants, met with Anna Cronin my CSU PhD student, and celebrated submitting an ARC grant application with Dr Kate Williams.
Sharynne and Dr Kate Williams after our ARC Discovery grant submission

February 20, 2018

Happy International Mother Language Day

Happy International Mother Language Day (21st February). I have encouraged my team to take time today to read this wonderful paper titled "Mother tongue as a universal human right" that contains Shetlandic poetry by Christine De Luca, Edinburgh Makar (poet laureate) for the City of Edinburgh (2014-2017). Her inspiring paper will soon be officially published as part of our Universal Declaration of Human Rights special issue of International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

February 19, 2018

ASHA selects our tutorial for inclusion in a self-study package

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is developing a self-study product about assessment considerations for speech sound disorders and our article, “Tutorial: Assessment and Analysis of Polysyllables in Young Children,” has been selected for inclusion.

February 15, 2018

Lunar New Year - Tết

Chúc mừng năm mới
Best wishes for the new year
Ben Pham with Lunar New Year gifts

February 13, 2018

Enjoying time with my PhD students

Both Ben Pham and Helen Blake plan to submit their PhDs this year. We had a lovely opportunity to meet at the beach this week, enjoy each other's company, chat about their research and future plans.
Ben Pham, Sharynne, Helen Blake

February 9, 2018

Summer snow

I am co-supervising Natalie Hegarty's PhD with Dr Jill Titterington. Natalie is studying in Northern Ireland at Ulster University and we meet via email then meet via Skype every few months. We met on Friday night (my time) to discuss her latest work. It was very warm in Australia, yet I was watching snow falling outside of Natalie's window. Natalie is working hard - and is planning to submit her PhD in September.
Dr Jill Titterington and Natalie Hegarty


February 8, 2018

Children draw talking in Jamaica

This morning I met with Dr. Karla Washington and her team of very enthusiastic students from the University of Cincinnati to discuss their analysis of 231 Jamaican children's drawings of talking. The data are very interesting and mirror some of our findings from Australia. They are about to head to Jamaica to collect more data soon.
Rachel Wright, Kylee Loebick, Corrine Deutenberg, and Dr. Karla Washington

February 7, 2018

Waiting for Speech Pathology research underway

This week we finished the Waiting for Speech Pathology website and are ready for the first participants to be assessed for the randomised controlled trial beginning next week. We spent time going over data collection, storage, labeling, randomisation protocols, and the CONSORT statement guidelines (http://www.consort-statement.org) to make sure we were on track.
Sharynne and Katrina checking the CONSORT statement guidelines

Grant submitted

Today we submitted another ARC Discovery grant application seeking to assess very young children's development, learning and wellbeing in early childhood education programs. It has been an amazing team effort with Prof Linda Harrison, A/Prof Sandie Wong, Dr Kate Williams, Dr Sheena Elwick, Prof Magdalena Janus (Canada), and Dr Wendy Alexander. The only sad part about the process is that last year there was an 18% success rate - which means many good projects go unfunded. We will learn about this application late in 2018.

January 31, 2018

Honourable Michael Kirby lecture on human rights law at CSU

Today the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG presented a public lecture at Charles Sturt University titled: "International Human Rights Law: Challenges at Home and in the Region".
He spoke about how in 1949 he received a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (on airmail paper) at school, and how discussion of this document influenced his path into law. Two of his most recent appointments have been as Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea for 2013-2014, and the UNAIDS/OHCHR's panel on the overreach of criminal law.
Read more at http://news.csu.edu.au/events/bathurst/public-lecture-by-the-honourable-michael-kirby-ac-cmg

Honourable Michael Kirby

January 30, 2018

Intelligibility Enhancement in English for multilingual speakers

Helen Blake is presenting an online seminar titled "Intelligibility Enhancement in English for multilingual speakers" on 24 April 2018. The seminar is sponsored by Speech Pathology Australia and more details are here.
(UPDATE new title and new date "Updating accent modification practice: Intelligibility Enhancement for multilingual speakers"- https://www.cpdlive.com/speechpath/seminars4/7633/preview.html)

The abstract is here:
This event aims to support speech-language pathologists working with multilingual adults to enhance their intelligibility in English. Clinicians working in Intelligibility Enhancement, as in any area of clinical practice, need information not only to make appropriate clinical decisions, but also to better understand the needs of clients in order to advocate for and empower them. This webinar will review the literature and terminology relating to Intelligibility Enhancement and multilingual speakers in Australia. Presentation of principles for assessment and intervention will be supplemented with specific examples from different languages.

Elements of phonological interventions for children with speech sound disorders: The development of a taxonomy

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication:
Baker, E., Williams, A. L., McLeod, S., & McCauley, R. J. (2018, in press January). Elements of phonological interventions for children with speech sound disorders: The development of a taxonomy. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

This manuscript has been the result of many years of collaboration, beginning at a research retreat in San Diego in 2011. I believe the manuscript makes a really important contribution to our understanding of the elements (or ingredients) that are required for undertaking intervention for children with speech sound disorders.

Here is the abstract:
Purpose: Our aim was to develop a taxonomy of elements comprising phonological interventions for children with speech sound disorders.
Method: We conducted a content analysis of 15 empirically supported phonological interventions to identify and describe intervention elements. Measures of element concentration, flexibility, and distinctiveness were used to compare and contrast interventions.
Results: Seventy-two intervention elements were identified using a content analysis of intervention descriptions, then arranged to form the Phonological Intervention Taxonomy: a hierarchical framework comprising 4 domains, 15 categories, and 9 subcategories. Across interventions, mean element concentration (number of required or optional elements) was 45, with a range of 27 to 59 elements. Mean flexibility of interventions (percentage of elements considered optional out of all elements included in the intervention) was 44%, with a range of 29% to 62%. Distinctiveness of interventions (percentage of an intervention’s rare elements and omitted common elements out of all elements included in the intervention [both optional and required]) ranged from 0% to 30%.
Conclusions: An understanding of the elements that comprise interventions and a taxonomy that describes their structural relationships can provide insight into similarities and differences between interventions, help in the identification of elements that drive treatment effects, and facilitate faithful implementation or intervention modification. Research is needed to distil active elements, and, identify strategies that best facilitate replication and implementation.
Lynn, Rebecca and Elise analysing data to develop the taxonomy in 2011
Sharynne, Lynn, Rebecca and Elise at our research retreat in San Diego in 2011

January 28, 2018

3 papers rejected in just over a week

While this blog mainly focuses on papers, books and chapters that have been published and conference papers that have been presented, it is also important to acknowledge that these gains are not always made easily. Today marks my third paper rejected in just over a week! The papers were on three completely different topics, submitted to three completely different journals across the globe, with three completely different sets of co-authors. Our team works hard to undertake high quality research, and write high quality papers, but journals consider a range of factors when recommending publication. The reviewers' and editors' comments were very helpful, and we will take these into consideration to develop our work further. I have written this blog entry because it is important to share all aspects of the journey of research, not just the successes (we have had two journal articles published in 2018 already).

January 27, 2018

Invitation to co-present a short course at ASHA in Boston

I have been invited to co-present a short course at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Boston in November by Dr. Kelly Farquharson, the topic chair of the speech sound disorders committee. This morning (Australian time), Kelly, Holly Storkel and I met to plan it - it is going to be great!
Sharynne's view of the conversation
Kelly's view of the conversation

January 24, 2018

Prevalence of childhood speech sound disorders

In our role as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Child Speech committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Dr Yvonne Wren and I have compiled the following information about prevalence of childhood speech sound disorders.

In a systematic review, prevalence estimates for childhood speech delay only ranged from 2.3 to 24.6% (Law et al., 2000). Since this systematic review, additional prevalence studies have been published.:
  • 25.2% parent-identified concerns about how their child “talked and made speech sounds” (11.8% “concerned”; 13.4% “a little concerned”) (n = 4,983; 4-5 years) (McLeod & Harrison, 2009) 
  • 12.0% parent-identified “speech not clear to others” (n = 4,983; 4-5 years) (McLeod & Harrison, 2009) 
  • 8.7% diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist with “isolated speech impairment”, and 14.3% with “comorbid speech and language impairment” (n = 308; school students) (Jessup, Ward, Cahill & Keating, 2008) 
  • 3.8% classified as having speech delay using the Speech Disorders Classification System and stimuli from conversational speech samples and a published word articulation test (n = 1,328; 6 years) (Shriberg, Tomblin & McSweeny, 1999) 
  • 3.6% identified as having persistent speech sound disorder in a large population study using > 1.2 standard deviations below the mean on percentage consonants correct scores taken from connected speech samples (n = 7,390; 8 years) (Wren et al., 2016) 
  • 3.4% achieved a standard score performance of ≤79 on a speech assessment (n = 1,494; 4 years) (Eadie et al., 2014) 
  • 1.7% parent-identified “speech disorders” (n = 12,388; 0-14 years) (Keating, Turrell, & Ozanne 2001) 
  • 1.06% teacher-identified “speech sound disorders” (n = 10,425; school students) (McKinnon, McLeod, & Reilly, 2007) 
Period prevalence of childhood speech sound disorders
  • United Kingdom: The Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust of the reported period prevalence of speech difficulties was 29.1%, compared with receptive language difficulties (20.4%), expressive language difficulties (16.9%), dysfluency (5.3%), and voice or nasality disruption (2.0%) (Broomfield & Dodd, 2004) 
  • United States: 55.8% of children in grades K-3 were scored on speech sound disorder and 74.7% of Pre-K students were scored on the articulation/ intelligibility ASHA Functional Communication Measures (n = >16,000 students) (Mullen & Schooling, 2010) 

References
Broomfield, J., & Dodd, B. (2004a). Children with speech and language disability: Caseload characteristics. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 39(3), 303-324. 

Eadie, P., Morgan, A., Ukoumunne, O. C., Ttofari Eecen, K., Wake, M., & Reilly, S. (2015). Speech sound disorder at 4 years: Prevalence, comorbidities, and predictors in a community cohort of children. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 57(6), 578-584. doi:10.1111/dmcn.12635 

Jessup, B., Ward, E., Cahill, L., & Keating, D. (2008). Prevalence of speech and/or language impairment in preparatory students in northern Tasmania. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 10(5), 364 - 377. 

Keating, D., Turrell, G., & Ozanne, A. (2001). Childhood speech disorders: Reported prevalence, comorbidity and socioeconomic profile. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, 37(5), 431-436. 

Law, J., Boyle, J., Harris, F., Harkness, A., & Nye, C. (2000). Prevalence and natural history of primary speech and language delay: Findings from a systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 35(2), 165-188. 

McKinnon, D. H., McLeod, S., & Reilly, S. (2007). The prevalence of stuttering, voice, and speech-sound disorders in primary school students in Australia. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38(1), 5-15. 

McLeod, S., & Harrison, L. J. (2009). Epidemiology of speech and language impairment in a nationally representative sample of 4- to 5-year-old children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52(5), 1213-1229. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0085) 

Mullen, R., & Schooling, T. (2010). The National Outcomes Measurement System for pediatric speech-language pathology. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41, 44-60. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0051) 

Shriberg, L. D., Tomblin, J. B. & McSweeny, J. L. (1999). Prevalence of speech delay in 6-year-old children and co-morbidity with language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 42, 1461-1481. 

Wren, Y., Roulstone, S., Miller, L.L., Emond, A. & Peters, T. (2016). The prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of persistent speech disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 647-673. 

Compiled by Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University and Yvonne Wren, University of Bristol - 2018

January 23, 2018

WHO in Fiji

This morning Dr Suzanne Hopf and I met with Darryl Barrett, Technical Lead Disabilities and Rehabilitation, Regional Office for the Western Pacific for the World Health Organization. We discussed ways we can support the work of WHO in Fiji.
He highlighted his website: http://www.wpro.who.int/rehabilitation/en/ and their most recent report. Here are a few key quotes from the report:
Rehabilitation and Disability in the Western Pacific
  • "In 70% of countries in the Western Pacific Region, speech and occupational therapy is not available in the majority of their tertiary hospitals." (p. 18) 
  • "Occupational therapy and speech pathology are extremely limited in the lower middle-income countries and almost nonexistent in the Pacific island countries." (p. 24) 
  • "In Pacific island countries, occupational therapy, rehabilitation medicine and speech pathology are not available in over 50% of tertiary hospitals. The Pacific island countries reported that some rehabilitation services are sometimes provided by “fly-in missions” from high-income countries and international volunteers, but not in substantial numbers." (p. 25)

January 22, 2018

Working with Dr Audrey Wang

Next week Dr Audrey Wang's postdoctoral research fellowship ends. Over her time working at CSU I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Audrey on numerous grants and publications. She also has co-supervised and supported many of my PhD students (including Dr Sarah Masso and Dr Suzanne Hopf) and has taught them their EER502 Quantitative Research Methods. Here is a list of publications and grants we have worked on together. I look forward to future collaborations.
Journal articles
1. Wang, C., Harrison, L. J., McLeod, S., Walker, S., & Spilt, J. L. (2017, in press). Can teacher-child relationships support human rights to freedom of opinion and expression, education, and participation? International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
2. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S., McDonagh, S., Wang, C., & Rakanace, E. (2017, in press). Communication disability in Fiji: Community self-help and help-seeking support. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi:10.1080/17549507.2017.1337226
3. Masso, S., Baker, E., McLeod, S., & Wang, C. (2017). Polysyllable speech accuracy and predictors of later literacy development in preschool children with speech sound disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 1877-1890. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0171
4. Masso, S., McLeod, S., Wang, A. & Baker, E., & McCormack, J. (2017). Longitudinal changes in polysyllable maturity of preschool children with speech sound disorders. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 31, 424-439. doi:10.1080/02699206.2017.1305450

with 3 additional manuscripts in submission. 
Commissioned reports
5. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C. & Verdon, S. (2017). Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services. Technical report. Bathurst, Australia: Charles Sturt University.
6. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., & Wang, C. (2015). NAPLAN outcomes for children identified with speech and language difficulties at age 4 to 5 years: Initial Report. Bathurst, Australia: Charles Sturt University.
7. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., & Wang, C. (2015). NAPLAN outcomes for children identified with speech and language difficulties in early childhood: Second Report. Bathurst, Australia: Charles Sturt University.
Grants
8. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C. & Verdon, S. (2017). Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language: Academic outcomes and access to services. Commissioned research by Speech Pathology Australia.
9. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Wang, C. (2015). NAPLAN outcomes and trajectories for children identified with speech and language difficulties at age 4 to 5 years. Commissioned research by Speech Pathology Australia.

Waiting for speech pathology website - under construction

During December and January we have been meant to be on leave; however, with deadlines looming for the beginning of our Waiting for Speech Pathology randomised controlled trial, we have had to finalise the website (one of the intervention conditions for the participants). Nicole McGill has been busily working on the content, cartoons, related websites and running focus groups.  Katrina Rohr,  Angela Roberts and Emily Davis have been working on creating handouts. Kate Hennessy has been creating the site. The rest of the team has been providing feedback on all of the processes. The website won't be publicly available until 2019 (after testing in our research), but here is a glimpse of how it currently looks.
Website home page
Cartoon created by Nicole McGill

Visit from Bronwyn Hemsley

Yesterday Prof. Bronwyn Hemsley visited Bathurst. We discussed many things including her new appointment as Chair of Speech Pathology Masters Program at @UTSEngage Graduate School of Health. We also planned a social media campaign for the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (#StandUp4HumanRights, #SpeakUp4CommRights). She also gave me another Twitter lesson. It was great to catch up in Bathurst.

January 20, 2018

First publications for 2018

At the end of 2017 my colleagues and I had 8 papers that had been accepted but were still in press (some had been accepted in 2016). It is great to see two of these are now published with 2018 publication dates:
  1. Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S. & McDonagh, S. H. (2018). Linguistic multi-competence of Fiji school students and their conversational partners. International Journal of Multilingualism, 15(1), 72-91. doi:10.1080/14790718.2016.1241256
    Free access: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/dF57kmKWGJWdv8qpW9WB/full
  2. Masso, S., McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2018). Tutorial: Assessment and analysis of polysyllables in young children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 42-58. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-16-0047
    http://lshss.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2668005
These papers were written with Dr Suzanne Hopf and Dr Sarah Masso as part of their PhD theses.

January 4, 2018

Exciting developments for speech therapy in Vietnam

Over the past few days Professor Lindy McAllister has been visiting and sharing updates about the speech therapy profession in Vietnam and the involvement of the Trinh Foundation. Plans are underway to begin new masters and bachelors courses. This will bolster speech therapy and provide further recognition of this profession in Vietnam.
The Trinh Foundation Annual Report for 2017 is here, and includes mention of Ben Pham and myself.A summary from US Aid is here.
Sharynne, Prof Lindy McAllister, Ben Pham