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Professor Beth Armstrong

Head of School

Contact Information Email:,
Staff Member Details


Current Teaching

  • Unit Coordinator - SPE3112 Language Difference: Implications for Clinical Practice


Professor Beth Armstrong is Foundation Chair in Speech Pathology and was appointed Head of the School of Psychology and Social Science in April, 2013. Along with a new Speech Pathology team recruited to ECU in 2009, Professor Armstrong established a fully accredited 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 first Speech Pathology Masters program in NSW. Professor Armstrong worked in the hospital sector as a clinician in Sydney for many years before taking up an academic career, focusing on acute inpatient care as well as longer-term rehabilitation for people with communication disorders after stroke.

Professor Armstrong’s research is primarily in the area of aphasia – language difficulty after stroke. Her work includes the application of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory to the everyday discourse of people with aphasia, early intervention strategies, and issues related to communication disorders in Australian Aboriginal populations. Her current projects funded by the NH&MRC involve a multi-centre randomised control trial of very early intervention for people with aphasia after stroke (“Very Early Rehabilitation of Speech - VERSE”), and an exploration into communication disorders in Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia (“Missing Voices: An investigation into acquired communication disorders after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Indigenous Australians”).

Professor Armstrong presents regularly at both national and international speech pathology, linguistics, allied health and medical conferences and has published widely in the area of aphasia. She has represented 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). She is an Associate Investigator on the NH&MRC funded Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Aphasia Rehabilitation.

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 international journal Aphasiology from 2007 - 2010, Seminars in Speech and Language, Journal of Neurolinguistics, 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

  • Hersh, D., Armstrong, B., (2014), Grounded Theory in Speech-Language Pathology. The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Communication Disorders: In Honor of Jack. S. Damico, 113-130, USA.
  • 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

  • Hersh, D., Armstrong, B., Bourke, N., (2014), A narrative analysis of a speech pathologist?s work with Indigenous Australians with acquired communication disorders. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(1), 33-40, London, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.890675.
  • Hersh, D., Godecke, E., Armstrong, B., Ciccone, N., Bernhardt, J., (2014), "Ward talk": Nurses' interaction with people with and without aphasia in the very early period poststroke. Aphasiology, article in press(article in press), article in press, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2014.933520.
  • Stewart, K., Ciccone, N., Armstrong, B., (2014), Carer experiences with rehabilitation in the home. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 16(1), 2-6.
  • Armstrong, B., Hersh, D., Hayward, C., Fraser, J., (2014), Communication disorders after stroke in Aboriginal Australians. Disability and Rehabilitation, Early Online(Early Online), 1 - 8, DOI: DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.972581.
  • Hersh, D., Godecke, E., Armstrong, B., Ciccone, N., Bernhardt, J., (2014), ?Ward Talk?: nurses' interaction with people with and without aphasia in the very early period post stroke. Aphasiology, n/a(n/a), n/a, DOI:
  • Hersh, D., Armstrong, B., Panak, V., Coombes, J., (2014), Speech-language pathology practices with Indigenous Australians with acquired communication disorders. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, early online(early online), 1-12, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2014.923510.
  • Armstrong, B., Fox, S., Wilkinson, R., (2013), Mild aphasia: is this the place for an argument?. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 22(2), 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.
  • 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., 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., (2012), Discourse across disorders: Acquired neurogenic conditions. Seminars in Speech and Language, 33(1), 3, DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1301158.
  • 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., 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.
  • Armstrong, B., (2011), Introduction. Aphasiology, 25(6-7), 673, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2011.587705.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Armstrong, B., Ferguson, A., (2010), Language, meaning, context, and functional communication. Aphasiology, 24(4), 480-496, Hove.

Conference Publications

  • 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(Sunday 26 ? Wednesday 29 June, 2011), 271-280, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2011.663790.

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.
  • Master of Social Science,  Speech And Swallowing Rehabilitation In The Home: A Comparison Of Two Service Delivery Models For Stroke Survivors.
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