May 22, 2018

Welcoming more visitors

Today we had two more visitors in Bathurst. First, Professor Linda Harrison, who has moved to Macquarie University, was back in Bathurst to work with her PhD students and research assistants. Later in the day David Fitzsimons, the head speech pathologist in the cleft palate clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead popped in unexpectedly. It has been great to catch up.
Sharynne, Ben Pham, Linda Harrison, Audrey Wang, Wendy Alexander
David Fitzsimons

May 10, 2018

VietSpeech project update

Over the past few months have been working hard on our VietSpeech project. We have:
  • Created a new website
  • Submitted our ethics application to the Charles Sturt University Human Ethics Committee
  • Undertaken a systematic literature review to consider factors related to language maintenance
  • Created a questionnaire to consider Vietnamese-Australian families’ linguistic multi-competence and language maintenance
  • Discussed our research with the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech
  • Undertaken recruitment for our VietSpeech postdoc position
  • Had a paper accepted about children's speech acquisition in 27 languages 
  •  ... and lots more.
Dr Sarah Verdon and Sharynne meeting in Albury in May

May 7, 2018

Teaching students to work with children with speech sound disorders

This semester I am teaching year 2 speech pathology students at Charles Sturt University the subject SPH201: Speech Impairment in Children and Dr Michelle Brown is running the tutorials. Most weeks I am in Bathurst and teach the class via video conference while they are 5.5 hours away in Albury. Today, I spent 5 hours with the class face-to-face in Albury. We covered phonological and motor speech interventions. We drew on chapters 13 and 14 of Children's Speech (McLeod & Baker, 2017) as well as the chapters and videos from Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children (Williams, McLeod & McCauley, 2010). I was so impressed at the interest and committment of the class.

May 5, 2018

Visitors from Germany

Yesterday Irmhild Preisinger and Eiko visited Charles Sturt University and Bathurst during their 8-day visit to Australia. Irmhild has studied a Masters degree in speech-language pathology with my colleague Professor Annette Fox-Boyer at Europäische Fachhochschule Rhein/European University of Applied Sciences EUAS, Rostock, Germany. It was great to show them around the campus and city.
Irmhild and Sharynne with German speech assessments
Irmhild and Eiko enjoying meeting the kangaroos behind the university

May 3, 2018

Impact of listener familiarity and speech competence on parent ratings using the Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication.
van Doornik, A., Gerrits, E., McLeod, S., & Terband, H. (2018, in press April). Impact of listener familiarity and speech competence on parent ratings using the Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

It forms a part of Anniek van Doornik's PhD studied through Utrecht University in the Netherlands (I am a co-supervisor). She presented this work at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference last May in Sydney.

Here is the abstract
Purpose: This study investigated the effect of listeners’ familiarity on parents’ judgements of intelligibility of children with and without speech sound disorders (SSD).
Method: Participants were 67 Dutch-speaking children (48-84 months), 48 children with typically-developing speech (TD), and 19 with SSD. Item scores on the parent-rated Intelligibility in Context Scale: Dutch (ICS-NL) were compared between groups and related to naive listeners’ measurement of intelligibility (Intelligibility Rating, IR), and percentage of consonants correct-adjusted (PCC-A).
Result: Statistical analysis yielded a significant Group x Familiarity interaction on the ICS-NL items. Familiarity influenced the judgment of items representing close relationships in the SSD group more than in the TD group, resulting in relatively higher ratings in the SSD group. In the SSD group, stronger correlations were found between IR and the ICS-NL item scores that represented less familiarity. In contrast, PCC-A was only correlated with the item reflecting the least familiarity (strangers).
Conclusion: Children are more intelligible with people in close relationships due to familiarity with their child’s speech, so children’s relationships should be considered in clinical practice with respect to communicative participation. Since PCC-A was not influenced by familiarity, it may not be a reliable predictor of participation in family and community life.

May 1, 2018

Teaching ESS419: Principles of Inclusive Education

Today I had the opportunity to give a lecture about children with speech, language and communication needs to the Charles Sturt University teacher education students (K-12) in their subject ESS419: Principles of Inclusive Education.
Two of the resources we discussed were:
  • Speech Pathology Australia (2017). Speech pathology in schools. Melbourne, Australia: Author. Retrieved from
  • Sutherland, D. (2017). Developing communication skills. In Foreman, P. & Arthur-Kelly, M. (Eds.) Inclusion in action (4th ed.). (pp. 300-345). Melbourne, Australia: Cengage.  
Dr Rachael Hutchesson and ESS419 students after our lecture

Visiting Uluru

Last week Ben Pham and I had the opportunity to visit Uluru and Kata Tjuta in central Australia. It is such a special place cared for by Indigenous people for millennia.