Language Sequencing Problems


What Is It?

A language sequencing problem is a language-based learning disability, sometimes called a language-learning disability. That means that it is a type of learning disability characterized by problems with language. A child with a language-based learning disability like a language sequencing problem may display issues with spoken and/or written language.

What Are the Common Signs?

In general, sequencing refers to putting information in the correct order. A child with a language sequencing problem might have trouble spelling individual words or misplacing syllables when pronouncing words. In a broader perspective, the child might also speak or write words in an illogical order. For example, a child might have trouble correctly ordering the days of the week or the months of the year.

Children with language sequencing problems face organizational challenges. These issues may become more evident as they grow older and begin to read or tell stories with a beginning, middle, and end. For example, you may ask your child to tell you about a story he read. He may tell you that the princess decided to live with a dragon, ran away from home, and didn’t want to marry the prince. The correct sequence should be the opposite of the sequence given in the example.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) diagnose language sequencing problems and other language-based learning disabilities by using age-appropriate criteria. With preschool children, the SLP may evaluate how the child processes directions, both verbal and written. The SLP will look to see if the child can recognize individual letters, tap out the syllables in a word, and recognize whether two words rhyme.

If the child is older, the speech therapist may hand the child a book and observe whether he can read the information and understand it correctly. The SLP may say several words in a row and ask the child to repeat them in the correct order. The SLP will then progress to strings of words with increasing complexity. He may ask the child to identify the correct sounds and syllables to form certain words as well as ask the child to break up words into individual syllables.

How Is It Treated?

The treatment plan for a child with a language sequencing problem will be individually tailored to his specific needs. Some children can read at a level that is on target with their age groups, but they have trouble processing what they read. These children will benefit from speech therapy that is targeted at reading comprehension. The SLP may task the child with reading a passage and answering a set of questions about the passage. The child will be asked to repeat his answers verbally in addition to writing them down.

Children who have difficulty with individual syllables (putting them in an incorrect order, etc) can benefit from repeating words while tapping out the syllables. Those who tend to put words in an improper order as they write sentences may be cautioned to write more slowly. Parents can help their children progress by asking the SLP about relevant activities to do at home.

If you think your child is having trouble sequencing, or if you are looking for treatment, contact Christine Wilson today!

Joint Attention

Family Playing Board Game At Home With Grandparents WatchingJoint attention is the ability to share a common focus on something (people, objects, a concept, an event, etc.) with someone else. It involves the ability to gain, maintain, and shift attention. Joint attention serves as a referencing tool that uses shared gaze (visually focusing on the same thing) and/or gesture for communication. Overall, sharing a focus not only helps individuals communicate, but it helps develop important social skills such as bonding and seeing another’s point of view. Joint attention skills can be a predictor of future language development.

Several skills are important for joint attention. Not only do these skills help an individual to get his/her wants and needs met, but they are necessary for appropriate interactions and developing meaningful relationships. These skills are:

  • Orienting and attending to a social partner
  • Shifting gaze between people and objects
  • Sharing emotional states with another person
  • Following the gaze and point of another person
  • Being able to draw another person’s attention to objects or events for the purpose of sharing experiences

One of the best ways you can help a child (particularly one with autism) improve his/her joint attention skills is to be a good language model. Use gestures, such as pointing, along with eye gaze, to show the child where to direct his/her focus. Use hand-over-hand teaching (take the child’s hand and help him/her point to an object to practice gestures). Pointing to objects a child is familiar with and has an interest in can be a good place to start. Another way you can help improve joint attention is to follow the child’s lead. When a child shows interest in an object, you can mimic that interest. Some ways to join in his/her interest are to add a comment (“You want the truck. Big, red truck.”), add a gesture (point to the truck), and add a visual cue (point to your eye and “draw” a pretend line going from your eye to the object).

By Julie A. Daymut, M.A., CCC-SLP

Pacing Boards

What is a pacing board?

A pacing board serves as a visual/motor cue that uses dots, pictures, or words on a board to help children learn word combinations. The pacing board represents the units of a language. It can be a good way to transition from single-word utterances into using sentences. A pacing board can also have other uses such as:

  • To pace out multi-syllabic words such as “BA-NA-NA”
  • To pace out sentences such as “I-WANT-JUICE-PLEASE”
  • To help slow down fast talkers.
  • To help children who are omitting sounds and words. A pacing board can help show them that every sound/word is important. You can point to the pictures as the child says the sentence. The pacing boards can be longer or shorter depending on the child’s skill level.
  • To expand a child’s mean length of utterance (MLU). A pacing board is a great way to help move them from only one to two word utterances to three to four words.
  • To help children take conversational turns when talking with others. Pacing boards help make speech and language a little more visual and give the child a visual “my turn/your turn” cue.

You can make the pacing board out of fun, simple images. The important thing is that the child does not get too interested in the pictures that he/she does not focus on making sentences!






FAQ: Tongue Thrust


What is a tongue thrust?

A tongue thrust is considered an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). The tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way during speech and/or swallowing. The tongue may lie too far forward during rest or may protrude between the upper and lower teeth during speech and swallowing, and at rest.

What are some signs or symptoms of OMD?

Although a “tongue thrust” swallow is normal in infancy, it usually decreases and disappears as a child grows. If the tongue thrust continues, a child may look, speak, and swallow differently than other children of the same age. Older children may become self-conscious about their appearance.

What effect does OMD have on speech?

Some children produce sounds incorrectly as a result of OMD. OMD most often causes sounds like /s/,/z/, “sh”, “zh”, “ch” and “j” to sound differently. For example, the child may say “thumb” instead of “some” if they produce an /s/ like a “th”. Also, the sounds /t/, /d/, /n/, and /l/ may be produced incorrectly because of weak tongue tip muscles. Sometimes speech may not be affected at all.

What treatment is available for individuals with OMD?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) with experience and training in the treatment of OMD can help with:

  • increasing awareness of mouth and facial muscles
  • increasing awareness of mouth and tongue postures
  • improving muscle strength and coordination
  • improving speech sound productions
  • improving swallowing patterns

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

Practice Makes Perfect!


As a family centered clinician,  I rarely take credit for my client’s progress.  I know that it is what parents practice at home every day that helps the child reach their goals. Parents of my clients who have made rapid progress toward their speech therapy goals told me some of their secrets.  What do they do at home that helps their child make progress so quickly?

Here are some of their tips:

  1. Set aside 20-30 min everyday at the same time to work on therapy goals
  2. Take advantage of every opportunity that arises to practice a goal, whether in the car, at a stop light, or at the park
  3. Involve everyone in the family, including Grandma! This helps goals generalize into new settings and with new communication partners. The more people that are helping your child with his goals, the faster he will achieve them.
  4. Use siblings as a model during games.
  5. Keep it positive. Take a break if the child becomes frustrated
  6. Never show frustration
  7. Keep praise specific- “good try” vs. “That’s right!”
  8. Use a reward system
  9. Practice goals in different ways. This facilitates carryover.

An appointment with Christine Wilson can help you set goals for your child and give you ideas and ways to practice at home!

Walk For Apraxia


Attention Christine’s Clients:

Christine Wilson is organizing a team to walk for the 2016 Tampa Bay Walk for Children with Apraxia. She will pay for your registration if you reply with your name and t-shirt size by September 25, 2016.

Walk Info:

October 22, 2016
Flora Wylie Park
N Shore Dr. NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Link to Flora Wylie Park!

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

While most children almost miraculously learn to speak without effort, children with apraxia struggle mightily to accurately produce sounds, syllables and words. While their understanding of language is usually much better than their ability to express it, children with apraxia have difficulty planning and programming the movements which underlie speech. At the heart of it, speech is more than knowing what you want to say. Rapid and finely graded movements of speech structures (the lips, tongue, palate and jaw, etc.) occur which allow us to clearly articulate our ideas. But for children with apraxia, ideas are often stuck inside, unspoken or not understood, because of apraxia. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is considered rare among speech disorders in children and particularly challenging to overcome.

What is the Walk for Apraxia?

Each year a growing number of families, friends and supporters of children with apraxia thousands of them come together at towns and cities throughout North America to participate in the Walk for Apraxia. While the walk is a tremendous avenue to raise awareness about apraxia and raise critical funds for programs and research, it is also so much more. At its heart, the Walk for Apraxia is about the children. Walk day is a chance to celebrate the efforts, persistence, and resilience of children with apraxia. On their special day, children with apraxia get a chance to shine brightly – our shining stars. Many of them do not have the opportunity in other activities to be held up for their accomplishments, but on their Walk for Apraxia day? Well, these children are proudly front and center! Finally, the Walk for Apraxia is a reminder to not only the kids, but also to their families, that they are not alone. At the walk, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers and community members surround them, creating connection and a web of support.

Why do we Fundraise?

Individuals and teams fundraise as part of the Walk for Apraxia because they want to join CASANA’s mission and its current and future efforts to help children with apraxia to have a voice. What we know is:

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech is among the rarest, most severe and complex of all speech disorders impacting children.
  • Proper treatment is intensive, specialized speech therapy which can be extremely difficult for families to find for their children.
  • Specialized understanding and training of speech professionals is needed to optimize outcomes for children.
  • Without proper help and services, a cascade of other challenges may occur to children with apraxia, including social, emotional, and learning difficulties related to limited speech and communication.

Advocating in Hillsborough

Childhood Imagination

Advocating for your child in Hillsborough

Step 1: Talk to your child’s teacher

Step 2: Talk to the assistant principal

Step 3: Talk to the principal

Step 4: Call or email the area superintendent:

Area 1 (southeast/central Tampa) Lisa Yost 813-272-3800

Area2: (Town N Country) Marcos Murillo 813-631-4050

Area 3: (New Tampa) Anna Brown 813-558-1406

Area 4: (Central/North Tampa) Donell Underdue 813-558-1100

Area 5 (Southeast Hillsborough) Dr. Michelle Fitzgerald 813-744-8630

Area 6: (Plant City East Hillsborough) Sharon Morris 813-707-7050

Area 7: (Northeast Tampa/Brandon) Owen Young 813-740-3710

Step 5: Call or email the Chief of Schools Administration: Harrison Peters 813-272-4071

Or email

Step 6: call or email the chief of staff: Alberto Vazquez 813-272-4895


Step 7: call or email the superintendent: Jeff Eakins 813-272-4050


Step 8: call or email school board member: visit and type “go areas” in the search box and choose a board member’s contact info

Advocates are available upon request to attend an IEP meeting. They are FREE. You just need to notify the principal that you would like to request an Advocate to attend the IEP meeting so that there is time to set it up. An Advocate acts on the best interest of your child and is a paid staff of the Hillsborough county school district. They are available by request. If you feel that there may be an issue or disagreement of services between you and the school, I would definitely contact the principal and request an advocate. Advocates also know about special services that may be available in your area that you are not aware of.

Other counties will have different contacts, but the process is still the same!