Support while waiting for speech pathology: research

21 JUNE 2017

Researchers at CSU are involved in world-first research that will inform best practice while children wait for individualised speech pathology services.

Sharynne McLeod_250Researchers at Charles Sturt University (CSU) are involved in world-first research that will inform best practice while children wait for individualised speech pathology services.

Professor of speech and language acquisition Sharynne McLeod (pictured) in the CSU School of Teacher Education in Bathurst and PhD student Ms Nicole McGill will work with three other researchers and five partner organisations to determine the effectiveness of 'advice versus device' while children are waiting for speech pathology services.

Professor McLeod explained that the NSW Health Clinical Excellence Commission has indicated that access to services, including availability of specialist services such as speech pathology, is one of their major areas of complaint from patients.

"Until the availability of speech pathology services meet demand, it is important to provide appropriate care while children are waiting for these services," Professor McLeod said.

"Over many years, speech pathologists have been providing advice regarding speech and language stimulation for parents and children while waiting for direct intervention. In this information-rich age, parents also turn to the internet, using devices to support their child.

"But we don't know how effective this is, so the outcome of this study will inform best practice regarding appropriate care while waiting for face-to-face speech pathology services."

The project 'Waiting for speech pathology: Device versus advice?' will receive NSW Health funding from Round 2 of the Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS), commencing in early July 2017.

Speech pathology manager at Bathurst Hospital, Ms Emily Davis, is leading the research team. Other researchers working with Professor McLeod and Ms McGill include speech pathologist Ms Katrina Rohr and senior paediatric speech pathologist Ms Angela Roberts (with Bathurst Health Service), and Ms Katherine Miller, a  paediatric speech pathologist with Dubbo Primary, Community, and Allied Health.

Professor McLeod said, "The evidence obtained from this research will be directly applicable and translatable to clinical settings in NSW Health, particularly in rural areas, and similar services in Australia and internationally."

The research will be conducted at Bathurst Community Health Centre and Dubbo Community Health Centre.

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Professor Sharynne McLeod, who is based in Bathurst.

The five partner organisations are the Western NSW Local Health District; NSW Health; NSW Children's Hospital Network; Speech Pathology Australia; and the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech.

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