Using Mirror Exercises Can Help Your Child’s Articulation!

Mirror Exercises

Written by Emily K. Hulse

Many kids with articulation problems do not understand how to move their mouths to make sounds correctly. Speaking in front of a mirror can help a child to see how his/her mouth moves when he/she makes particular sounds. You can articulate each sound slowly and correctly to model proper positioning for your child and demonstrate the differences in the mirror.

At Christine Wilson’s speech clinic, she uses mirror exercises with many of her patients. Both Christine and patients who use this technique find it very helpful! This is an exercise parents can practice at home as well. Sit in front of a mirror with your child and practice saying some words and sounds that your child has difficulties with. The mirror will let your child see how the position of their mouth influences their pronunciation of sounds. They will also be able to see the correct position of the mouth (your presentation of the sound) and compare the correct model to their own. Give it a try at home!

Language Games for Home Programming


Home Programming is Important!

Written by Emily K. Hulse

Speech-language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, requires her patients to practice home programming, on top of attending speech therapy sessions weekly. We see the most progress in the patient’s who come to speech therapy at least twice a week and those who practice home programming. A home program does not need to be a major time commitment on the parents part, but it IS important. Try to practice with your child for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Even five or ten minutes every day will benefit your child. We work as a team at Christine Wilson’s Speech Clinic! Practicing language skills at home will bring your child closer to their speech goal/s! Listed below are some of the many things parents can do at home to help their child practice their speech.

Story Telling: Line up 4 picture cards and tell a story to your child. Mix the 4 cards up and have your child put them back in order and tell you the story. This fun and easy game will help your child with sequencing.

Simon Says: Place articulation cards or picture cards on a table and use directions such as “Touch the puppy after you touch the duck”. This game will help your child follow directions! In school, following directions is very important. Playing simon says can help prepare your child for school.

Clue: Place several picture cards in a row. Give one clue at a time about a card. Have your child guess what the card is. The one with the fewest guesses, wins! Playing this game will help your child with describing and categorizing.

Apples to Apples: Is a go-to game for language delayed students. This game makes working on similarities, differences, and relating new vocabulary words together FUN.

Hedbanz: Both, kids and professionals LOVE this game for many reasons. One, it is a motivating social skills game. Two, it is an easy way to work on forming questions. Three, it covers all aspects of vocabulary ranging from category, function, use, description, and location. Parents, I bet you will find this game just as fun! What a great game to practice language skills with your child.

If you have any questions about home programming or would like to set up a speech-language evaluation/appointment today, contact Christine Wilson.

Creative Articulation Practice at Home!

Looking for a new way to work on articulation skills at home?

Fun Articulation Practice…”in a box!”
  • Make a “mystery box” using common household objects and your child’s toys. Cut a slot in the top of a good-sized box. Make sure that your child’s hands plus an object fit through the slot.
  • Help your child decorate the box the way he/she wants it to look. This makes the child feel like he/she is participating and provides a great language-building activity.
  • Talk to your child’s SLP about what he/she is working on in therapy.
Some specific questions to ask are:
  • What sound/sounds is he/she working on in speech class?
  • What position/positions is he/she working on with each sound? (Basically, initial means a sound at the beginning;medial means a sound in the middle; and final means a sound at the end. For example, for the /k/sound,”cup” is initial;”bacon” is medial; and “book” is final.)
  • What level is he/she working on? (There are different levels a child works on, each getting more difficult. The “easiest” level is isolation , or the “k” sound alone. Next, the “k” sound is in some position within a syllable (i.e. ,”ka,” “aka,” or “ak.”) Next, the word level (i.e., cup, bacon, book), then, a phrase (i.e., “in the cup;” “in the book”), then, a sentence (i.e., “I read a book,” or “The juice is in the cup”). Finally, the sound is monitored in conversation for consistent production.)

1. Pick 10-15 objects, letter cards, or syllable cards with your child’s target sound in them and, without your child seeing,”hide” them in the Mystery Box.

2. Let your child choose an object/card and say/name it, use it in a phrase, sentence, or ask questions to elicit conversation.

3. Continue until your child sees all objects and completes each task.

4.For a special treat, put a “surprise” in the box your child can keep or eat!

Some ideas for five commonly misarticulated sounds are:
S Initial Medial Final
bicycle (toy)
dinosaur (toy)
motorcycle (toy)
bus (toy)
(shoe) lace
box (smaller)
horse (toy)
(dental) floss
ice (in a baggie)
SH shoe
shapes (toy)
ship (toy)
shovel (toy)
shark (toy)
dishes (toy)
fish (toy/picture)
nail polish
R rope
rabbit (toy)
rocket (toy)
airplane (toy)
horse (toy)
fire engine (toy)
(teddy) bear
car (toy)
dinosaur (toy)
K can
car (toy)
cow (toy)
cat (toy)
chicken (toy)
bacon (toy)
pumpkin (toy)
rocket (toy)
helicopter (toy)
bicycle (toy)
monkey (toy)
truck (toy)
snake (toy)
rake (toy)
black (crayon)
L lamp (toy)
lamb (toy)
ladder (toy)
lizard (toy)
elephant (toy)
helicopter (toy)

For questions or concerns, contact Speech-Language Pathologist Christine Wilson.

What is the Difference Between Speech and Language?

Does Speech & Language mean the same thing?

Speech and language are not the same. The process of speech occurs naturally when appropriate stimulation occurs and progresses without conscious thought. From infancy, we begin developing the milestones of speech that help us begin communicating with sounds, and then, our speech skills help us develop language.

SPEECH – “Speech refers to the sounds that come out of our mouth and take shape in the form of words. The speech process is extremely complicated when you study the scope and sequence of its development.
A number of events must occur for us to speak. The brain MUST:
  • Want to communicate an idea to someone else.
  • Send the idea to the mouth.
  • Tell the mouth which words to say and which sounds make up those words.
  • Incorporate patterns and accented syllables (to avoid sounding like a robot).
  • Send the signals to the muscles that control the tongue, lips, and jaw; however, the muscles, must have the strength and coordination to carry out the brain’s commands.

The muscles in the lungs must be strong enough to control sufficient amounts of air while forcing the vocal cords to vibrate. The air must be going out, not in, for functional speech to occur. The vocal cords must be in good condition in order for one’s speech to sound clear and loud enough to hear. Our sense of hearing monitors and reviews what we say and hears new words to imitate and use in other situations. If we cannot hear clearly, we tend to reproduce sounds that are equally “mumbly.” Also, someone must be willing to communicate with us by listening and reacting to what we say, or there is no point in speaking. The process of developing speech occurs naturally. However, if there is a glitch or disruption in the process, it will affect one’s language.

LANGUAGE – Language is what we speak, write, read, and understand. Language is also communicating through gestures (body language or sign language). There are two distinct areas of language: receptive (what we hear and understand from others’ speech or gestures) and expressive (the words we use to create messages others will understand).
In order for children to begin using and understanding spoken language, they must:
  • Hear well enough to distinguish one word from another.
  • Have someone model what words mean and how to put sentences together.
  • Hear intonation patterns, accents, and sentence patterns.
  • Have the intellectual capability to process what words and sentences mean, store the information, and recall words and sentences heard previously when communicating an idea to someone else.
  • Have the physical capability to speak in order for others to hear and understand the words they are saying.
  • Have a social need and interest in using words to communicate with others.
  • Have another person to positively reinforce their attempts at communication.
Children with receptive language problems may find listening and attending to conversation, stories, oral directions, classroom activities, etc. confusing and difficult at times. If a child’s receptive language doesn’t fully develop, the language learning process slows down before it ever begins. Parents tend to be concerned when their child isn’t talking the way they expect or in the way their same-age peers can talk. If this is happening, a speech-language pathologist will find out if the child is hearing clearly and understanding language (receptive language). If not, the child’s expressive language (meaningful speech) is not going to develop. This is why speech therapy focuses on strengthening a child’s receptive language, even if the concern is that the child isn’t talking properly.
If your child is having difficulty developing speech and/or language skills, it is possible that he/she may also have weak listening skills – usually attributed to an inability to hear well. Strong listening skills are necessary in order to receive and develop sounds for speech and, subsequently, develop language for communication. Consult Christine Wilson, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to evaluate your child’s development of speech and language if you feel that his/her skills are lacking or not developing at a typical rate. The earlier an SLP can identify and begin treating a child’s speech and/or language problems, the less likely the problems will persist or get worse. Early speech and language intervention can help children be more successful with reading, writing, schoolwork, and interpersonal relationships.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an evaluation today, contact Speech-Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.

Some Things to Know about Childhood Apraxia of Speech


What is apraxia of speech?

Apraxia of speech, also known as verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, is a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. It is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles (the muscles of the face, tongue, and lips). The severity of apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe.

Some excellent tips for what parents can do for their child when working with them at home:

  • songs (monkeys swinging in the tree or jumping on the bed , Old MacDonald )
  • poems
  • verbal routines (pat-a-cake , Willaby Walloby Woo)
  • repetitive books (i.e. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? , Dear Zoo , Goodnight Moon)
  • daily routines (prayers, social routines, pledge of allegiance)
Childhood Apraxia of Speech Does Get Better! Not all kids will gain speech growth in the same manner, but they do get better.  This is a wonderful thing!  There’s a reason it’s called ‘childhood’—the duration of CAS is typically birth thru 8 years.  It could be a little less or a little more, depending on your child’s personality, determination/motivation, overall intelligence, access to therapy, home practice, and co-occuring disorders like AD/HD, autism, Down’s syndrome, anxiety, etc.  Sure, your child may slip up from time to time on challenging words, when they are tired or stressed, or learning a new set of vocabulary (math terms, history, science), but overall your child’s speech should be on-par with peers around age 8.
If you have any questions or concerns contact Speech Language Pathologist Christine Wilson.

Grants for Autism Spectrum Disorders

This list is only a resource to assist you in finding possible grants from charitable organizations. All questions regarding grants should be directed to the organization listed, via their website or phone number.The Kaufman Children’s Center has made every effort to provide high-quality and helpful grant information listed below, but they cannot be held liable for errors or the quality of the grant sources. Information should be independently verified and confirmed.

Posted by Emily K. Hulse Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc.™ mission: Reduce the financial burden on poverty stricken and disenfranchised families and caretakers coping with autism, through debt forgiveness, so attention and resources can be focused on creating a proper living and learning environment for their autistic loved one.
is strictly a fundraising foundation whose main function is to distribute money to families in the Toledo area so they can have their children diagnosed, treated, and moving forward while living with Autism.
fund effective treatments, assessments and needed life supports with grants from $100-$5,000. Applications with multiple children with ASD and households with income below $100,000 are reviewed first.
real help for military families dealing with autism.
A.N.G.E.L. Inc offers assistance and support for children with autism living in Wisconsin.
This collaborative agency offers funding to families across the US who are living with autism and also are coping with a major crisis such as flood or fire. AutismCares assists families who meet the eligibility criteria to cover costs associated with housing, automobile repair, insurance premiums, medical care, prescriptions, daycare, funeral expenses, and other items on a case-by-case basis. Income cap of $40,000.
primary purpose is to arrange air travel on private jets for families in need of medical care for their children.
$80,000 annual income cap and grants for $2,000 for therapies.
Provide financial assistance for medical bills, therapy, equipment, therapeutic horseback riding and respite care for Michigan residents.
Many individuals with autism suffer from treatable conditions like gut issues, sleep disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction which directly impact speech development, behavior and focus. Our grant program provides the opportunity to pursue treating these underlying symptoms of autism
Spectrum of Hope Foundation provides advocacy grants to families in California.
The ISAAC Foundation provides financial grants for therapy to families in Spokane, Stevens, Lincoln, Whitman and Kootenai Counties in Washington state.
provides interactive technology to children (0-22) with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and educational training on interactive technology to families, educators, and service providers of children with special needs.
Jack’s Place for Autism Foundation has created “Jack’s Dollars”, a Scholarship Program to help families in Michigan afford the support they need for a variety of programs
/ a unique program that provides interest free microloans (in the amount of a few hundred dollars) to families from other families. Families interested in receiving a loan post on the blog, and may receive contributions that must be paid back over time.
The Lil MAC Kids Foundation was formed to assist needy families in Ohio and Minnesota bridge the gap for therapies for ASD. Applications are accepted October-November and awarded by December 15th.
always looking for ways to directly help families in need that are affected by autism
The purpose of MyGOAL Family Grant is to enrich the body, mind, and spirit of individual(s) with Autism Spectrum Disorders, resulting in a higher quality of life. New Jersey residents only.
NAA’s Helping Hand Program was developed as a financial aid tool for families most in need. Do not apply if annual net income exceeds $50,000.
Pervis Jackson Jr Autism Foundation has start a fund to help needy parents of children with disabilities to get respite or other support services
assistance with diagnosis, DAN! Conference, DAN! Appointments, follow up and lab work.
organization committed to educating and assisting African American families with Autistic children. The Back to School iPad Program opens several times through out the year.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Speech-Language Pathologist Christine Wilson!

All About Stuttering


What is Stuttering?

Posted by Emily K. Hulse

Stuttering is a communication disorder that affects around 1% of the population around the world. Many factors contribute to a stuttering problem, including genetics, another speech disorder, neurophysiology and family dynamics. Stuttering can usually be successfully treated through speech therapy and certain home and lifestyle changes, such as joining a self-help group, creating a relaxed home environment, avoiding criticism and having an understanding attitude toward the stutterer. Certain exercises may also help.

Stuttering is more than dysfluent speech: It has an emotional and social impact as well. Unlike most other disorders, stuttering often is a source of shame and embarrassment that prompts stutterers to avoid speaking situations and refrain from discussing their stuttering. Try the following exercises at home.

Breathing Exercises

Stuttering often increases during times of stress and anxiety. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, regulating your breathing may help reduce stuttering. One simple exercise to try is called diaphragmatic breathing. This breath technique can help you to become calmer and more relaxed, especially if you need to speak in front of an audience or in another situation that makes you nervous. If possible, sit in a quiet room where you’ll be undisturbed for a few moments. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Place one hand on your belly and notice how it rises and falls when you inhale and exhale. Deepen your breath and try to make your breathing slow and relaxed. Allow thoughts to flow out of your mind. Practice this technique for five minutes each day.

Reading Exercises

Just as with the slow speech exercise, reading exercises can reduce stuttering through slowing your vowels, concentrating on your breathing and trying to relax. Read a paragraph out of your favorite book without placing any pressure or stress on yourself to get it right. Just relax and read, trying to enjoy the process instead of focusing on not stuttering. If you stutter, keep reading and don’t blame yourself. Practice reading out loud for half an hour every day.

Seeking help from a Speech and Language Therapist

Speech therapy is not “one size fits all.” Speech therapists use different approaches to treat stuttering and often combine several methods to meet individual needs.

A speech and Language Therapist will carry out an in-depth assessment with the adult or child who stutters and discuss a suitable treatment approach. The Speech and Language Therapist works to help people who stutter lessen the impact or severity of dysfluency when it occurs. The goal is not so much to eliminate disruptions in fluency-which many people find difficult to do-but to minimize their impact upon communication when they do. The aim is not for total fluency but to help the client stammer more easily.

How to support a person who stutters

Stuttering may look like an easy problem that can be solved with some simple advice, but for many people, it can be a chronic life-long disorder. Here are some ways that youthe listener, can help.

  • Don’t make remarks like: “Slow down,” “Take a breath,” or “Relax.” Such simplistic advice can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
  • Let the person know by your manner that you are listening to what he or she says — not how they say it.
  • Maintain natural eye contact and wait patiently and naturally until the person is finished.
  • You may be tempted to finish sentences or fill in words. Try not to. Use a relatively relaxed rate in your own speech — but not so slow as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication.
  • Be aware that those who stutter usually have more trouble controlling their speech on the telephone. Please be patient in this situation. If you pick up the phone and hear nothing, be sure it is not a person who stutters trying to start the conversation before you hang up.
  • Speak in an unhurried way — but not so slowly as to sound unnatural. This promotes good communication with everyone

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.