We are very pleased to feature research student Nichola Shelton this month. Nichola is looking at the experiences of social interaction for 12-18 year olds with a language disorder in Australia and exploring the ways digital technologies facilitate social communication and how it’s used by SLPs in assessment and treatment.
Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m a Speech Pathologist, and a PhD student in the Discipline of Speech Pathology at the University of Sydney. I curate the speechBITE website, which is a database of intervention studies across the scope of speech pathology practice.
What is your research on?
My research is looking at the experiences of social interaction for 12-18 year olds with a language disorder in Australia. People with a language disorder can experience problems with the acquisition and processing of oral language. Such difficulties can affect both how individuals interact with other people, and the way in which others interact with them.
I’m using both surveys and interviews to describe the experiences of social interaction for adolescents with a language disorder, and explore how adolescents with a language disorder experience speech pathology intervention services – I’m particularly interested to know whether they have received therapy targeting their social communication skills.
What are the real world consequences of your research?
The research will gather much needed data on both how adolescents use language for social communication, and the social interactions that they attempt to achieve with it and for what purposes.
With this information I plan to develop a contemporary assessment tool that will help identify the functional limitations of the social communication skills of adolescents with a language disorder. Such a tool could help speech pathologists determine whether goals targeting social interaction should be targeted in intervention, or serve as an outcome tool.
What does digital health mean to you?
I think that digital health includes how technology and communication media can be used by our clients to promote their own health and wellbeing. In the current environment, we’re all very aware of how important technology is to stay connected and maintain relationships, and we recognise how important that is for our own wellbeing! As Speech Pathologists, we have to think about how to support our clients to be able to use technology to enable their access to things like social media.
Do you have any resources or links you would like to share?
You can find me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/Nichola_SP
speechBITE can be found at: https:///speechbite.com/
A very big thank you to Nichola for being our research student profile for April 2020!