ONE year after being named Australia's leading researcher in her chosen field, Charles Sturt University Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition, Sharynne McLeod, has climbed a step higher to sit on top of the world.
Professor McLeod features prominently in the 2019 edition of The Australian's Research magazine, which highlights the work and influence of the nation's top researchers and research institutions.
Charles Sturt University was also acknowledged in the magazine as Australia's leading institution for the work of Professor McLeod's team of researchers.
The annual magazine's lists are compiled by selecting authors and institutions who had the most research papers published by their field's top 20 journals and analysing the citations and uses of those same papers by the author's peers.
The data revealed Professor McLeod is the world's most cited expert in the field of audiology, speech and language pathology, an achievement lauded by vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
"To be identified as a global leader is no mean feat, and is testament to Professor McLeod's expertise in, and enthusiasm for, the field she has dedicated herself to for the past three decades," Professor Vann said.
"These twin acknowledgements are fitting recognition of Charles Sturt University's commitment to impactful research which contributes to our regional communities and across the world."
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Professor McLeod arrived at Charles Sturt from the University of Sydney 20 years ago, helping to establish the speech pathology courses offered through the university's School of Community Health.
For the last 16 years she has worked in the School of Teacher Education while continuing her research in speech pathology.
She is a Charles Sturt Senior Research Fellow, a role she cherishes for the opportunity to work with a committed team dedicated to "making a difference in children's lives".
"I'm fortunate to work closely with an amazing group of people at Charles Sturt University," Professor McLeod said.
"The Speech-Language-Multilingualism team, along with the researchers and PhD students from across the world, are the reason this acknowledgement came my way."
Professor McLeod is a life member of Speech Pathology Australia, a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the author of 10 books and more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
In June this year she presented research at the United Nations in New York, advocating that communication is a human right for everyone, including those with communication disability.
Professor McLeod's team encourages families to talk, read books, and have fun with communication, while stressing the importance of talking with children in their home languages.
She also has some simple advice for parents or guardians who have concerns about their child's speech and language development: don't hesitate to seek help, and Speech Pathology Australia has a website to help people find their local speech pathologist.
"There's no such thing as being too young for accessing assistance with speech and language development," she said.
"Quite the opposite, in fact: it can make a huge difference when they're little."