Dr Ruth Nicholls is a certified practising speech pathologist and a member of Speech Pathology Australia. She has experience across a range of settings, including public health, early intervention, private practice, education and research project management. Currently, she is the Allied Health Clinical Education Lead at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Prior to this she worked as a Lecturer in Speech Pathology at The University of Melbourne.
Ruth has a special interest in child language development, particularly children who are learning to communicate in more than one language during the early years. Through her PhD—which she completed from the University of Melbourne in 2009—she investigated language development among Australian bilingual children during the preschool years.
Australia’s population is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in the world, with an increasing number of children growing up in homes where more than one language is spoken. These children may also transition into early childhood education and care settings where many languages may be present. This reality presents a range of challenges and opportunities for early childhood professionals who educate and care for diverse groups of young children and their families.