Aleisha Davis

Role: Project Leader/PhD Student



Aleisha is Director of Clinical Programs and is a Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist and practicing Speech Pathologist. Aleisha joined The Shepherd Centre in 2003 after completing her Masters in Applied Linguistics at Cambridge University in the UK. Aleisha leads the Senior Clinical team to implement the programs across the centres, through the cross matrix multidisciplinary team of Listening & Spoken Language Specialist, Child & Family Counsellors, Researchers and Assessors.

PhD title

Optimising Outcomes for Young Children with Hearing Loss developing Spoken Language

PhD project

This project aims to explore:

  1. the current state of early interventions for developing spoken language in young children through a systematic review of the literature; and subsequently; and
  2. the use of “The Functional Listening Index – Children” as a prospective clinical tool to measure auditory skill development to optimise later speech and language outcomes.


The Functional Listening Index – Children

The Functional Listening Index (FLI-C) is a tool used to measure the auditory skill development of children with hearing loss, typically between 0 and 5 years. It consists of 60 items, broken into 6 phases that track auditory development from early listening skills such as sound awareness and associating sounds with meaning, to the later more advanced listening skills of comprehension and open set listening. As these are the prerequisite skills on which speech, language and communicate are built, the ability to track a child’s development of these skills is of prime importance in facilitating their longer term spoken language outcomes.

Previous tools have not provided the capability to track progress through all of these stages for children with all levels and types of hearing loss, with the detail and specificity required by clinicians, nor the ability to compare the development of these skills with what would be expected from children with typical hearing. With the introduction of universal newborn screening of hearing, the average age of diagnosis of a hearing loss from birth in Australia now typically between 1 and 3mths, the fitting of hearing aids from as young as 6 weeks, and sequential cochlear implantation from 5-6months, a tool such as the Functional Listening Index can enable clinicians and health professionals to track a child’s listening progress and development from these very early stages and ages to guide intervention decisions and ensure optimal communication outcomes for every child and family.

PhD supervisors

Dr Elizabeth Harrison, Macquarie University