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Professor Beth Armstrong

Head of School

Contact Information Email:,
Staff Member Details


Current Teaching

  • SPE1102 Language across the lifespan
  • SPE3111 Neurogenic communication disorders
  • Course Coordinator - Speech Pathology


Professor Beth Armstrong is Foundation Chair in Speech Pathology, having come to ECU in 2009 to establish a new undergraduate Speech Pathology program and a postgraduate research program. Prior to coming to ECU, she worked at Macquarie University in Sydney, where she established the successful Master of Speech Language Pathology program in 2001 – the first Speech Pathology Masters program in NSW and one of the first in Australia. Professor Armstrong worked as a clinician in Sydney for many years before taking up an academic career, with her primary areas of employment being in the hospital sector, focusing on acute inpatient care as well as longer-term rehabilitation for people with communication disorders after stroke.

Professor Armstrong’s research is in the area of aphasia – language difficulty after stroke. In particular, her work focuses on the application of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory to the everyday discourse of people with aphasia to assist in both diagnosis and treatment issues, and investigates the social ramifications of the disorder for both the person with aphasia and their family. Professor Armstrong presents regularly at both national and international Speech Pathology and Linguistics conferences and has published widely in the area of aphasia. She has been invited to represent Australia on several international working parties on aphasia, including one developing the Talkbank Project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (a large web-based corpus of speech samples gathered for the purpose of international collaborative research in the field of adult communication disorders) (2005), and the Aphasia Think Tank at the Aphasia Center in Toronto (2007), an ongoing project aimed to develop international collaboration in social approaches to aphasia treatment.

Professor Armstrong was founding Editor of Advances in Speech Language Pathology, now entitled the International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, has been Guest Editor of the Clinical Aphasiology Conference special issues of the journal Aphasiology from 2007 - 2010, and is on numerous international editorial boards.

Professional Memberships

  • Speech Pathology Association of Australia

Awards and Recognition


  • Fellow of the Speech Pathology Association of Australia

Research Areas and Interests

  • Neurogenic communication disorders
  • Aphasic discourse
  • Linguistic applications to the analysis and treatment of aphasia
  • Conversation partner training in aphasia
  • Social models of disability
  • Social ramification of communication disorder
  • The discourse of clinical interactions
  • Aboriginal English
  • Communication difficulties after stroke in Indigenous Australians

Staff Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University, 1997 .
  • Master of Arts, Macquarie University, 1988 .


Recent Research Grants

  • Missing voices: Communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Indigenous Australians,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Project Grants,  2013 - 2016,  $634,088.
  • Very Early Rehabilitation in SpEech: An RCT of aphasia therapy after stroke,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Project Grants,  2013 - 2016,  $742,000.
  • Standard Equipment Grant 2012,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Equipment Grant 2012,  2012 - 2014,  $5,744.
  • Learning not to talk: Is communication "learned non-use" following stroke a reality?,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher - Grant,  2011,  $23,622.
  • Communication difficulties after stroke in Indigenous Australians: Issues and attitudes,  Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies,  AIATSIS - Grant,  2010 - 2011,  $35,541.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Book Chapters

  • Armstrong, B., Ferguson, A., Simmons-Mackie, N., (2011), Discourse and functional approaches to aphasia. Aphasia and related neurogenic communication disorders, 1(1), 217-232, Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Armstrong, B., Ferguson, A., Mortensen, L., (2011), Public and private identity: The co-construction of aphasia through discourse. Discourses of deficit, 1(17), 215-234, London.
  • Armstrong, B., Ferguson, E., (2010), Interacting with difficulty: The case of aphasia. New adventures in language and interaction, 199-221, Amsterdam.

Journal Articles

  • Cherney, L., Simmons-Mackie, N., Raymer, A., Armstrong, B., Holland, A., (2013), Systematic Review of Communication Partner Training in Aphasia: Methodological Quality. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 15(5), 535-545, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2013.763289.
  • Armstrong, B., Fox, S., Wilkinson, R., (2013), Mild aphasia: is this the place for an argument?. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 22(Supplement), N S268-S278. , Washington, DOI: 10.1044/1058-0360(2012/12-0084.
  • Godecke, E., Rai, T., Ciccone, N., Armstrong, B., Granger, A., Hankey, G., (2013), Amount of therapy matters in very early aphasia rehabilitation after stroke: A clinical prognostic model. Seminars in Speech and Language, 34(3), 129-141, United States, DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1358369.
  • Armstrong, B., Hersh, D., Hayward, C., Fraser, J., Brown, M., (2012), Living with aphasia: Three Indigenous Australian stories. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(3), 271-280, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2011.663790.
  • Armstrong, B., (2012), Discourse across disorders: Acquired neurogenic conditions. Seminars in Speech and Language, 33(1), 3, DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1301158.
  • Armstrong, B., Mortensen, L., Ciccone, N., Godecke, E., (2012), Expressing opinions and feelings in a conversational setting. Seminars in Speech and Language, 33(1), 16-26, DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1301160.
  • Armstrong, B., (2011), Introduction. Aphasiology, 25(6-7), 673, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2011.587705.
  • Armstrong, B., Ciccone, N., Godecke, E., Kok, B., (2011), Monologues and dialogues in aphasia: Some initial comparisons. Aphasiology, 25(11), 1347-1371, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2011.577204.
  • Fromm, D., Holland, A., Armstrong, B., Forbes, M., Macwhinney, B., Risko, A., Mattison, N., (2011), ?Better But No Cigar?: Persons with Aphasia Speak about their Speech. Aphasiology, 25(11), 1431-1447, UK: Abingdon, Oxon, DOI:
  • Armstrong, B., Ferguson, A., (2010), Language, meaning, context, and functional communication. Aphasiology, 24(4), 480-496, Hove, DOI: 10.1080/02687030902775157.
  • Barnes, S., Armstrong, B., (2010), Conversation after right hemisphere brain damage: Motivations for applying conversation analysis. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 24(1), 55-69, London, DOI: 10.3109/02699200903349734.
  • Simmons-Mackie, N., Raymer, S., Armstrong, B., Holland, A., Cherney, L., (2010), Communication Partner Training in Aphasia:A Systematic Review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91(12), 1814-1837, New York, NY, DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.08.026.

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Master of Social Science,  Face-to-face: An Exploratory Study Of How People With Aphasia And Speakers Of English As A Second Language Perceive Their Interactions With Government Agencies.
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