Hello 2017! What Will This Year Bring?

It’s the new year! We hope everyone had a memorable 2016. Now is the time to plan some goals for 2017! 


Image courtesy of http://speechtimefun.com.

This is a great activity to do with your child because not only will your child be working on formulating future tense sentences, but you will also get to hear about his hopes and dreams for the coming year.  Sit down with your child and tell him you are going to write some New Year’s Resolutions.  You can start by making a list of your own New Year’s Resolutions.  This will give your child an example of what is expected and will help your child get comfortable with sharing this information with you.  Make sure that all of your resolutions use future tense verbs and correct grammar.  For example, your list might say “I will go to the gym three times per week” instead of “go to gym more”.   This will help your child gain a better grasp on the future tense.  If your child is struggling with coming up with ideas, try asking your child what things he likes to do.  Then say, “Do you want to do that again this year?”  If he says yes, go ahead and formulate the sentence for him and write it down.  It’s good to write these down for your child even if he can’t read yet so he gets exposure to writing and text.

Have your child ask other people about their New Year’s Resolutions.  Asking questions with the correct word order and meaning is something that is often difficult for children with speech and language delays.  Help your child practice the question “What are your New Year’s resolutions” or “What are you going to do this year?”  Then, have your child go ask that question to a variety of familiar people.  This will be a great way to improve your child’s ability to ask questions as well as her social skills!


If you are looking to plan some goals for you or your child’s speech in the upcoming year, contact a speech-language pathologist such as Christine Wilson!

The Importance of Early Intervention


What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention is defined as a system of coordinated services that promotes the child’s age-appropriate growth and development and supports families during the critical early years. It is intended to provide support and resources to children who have developmental delays or disabilities. Someone like Christine Wilson focuses on early intervention in speech therapy. The earlier the child receives therapy, the better.

Why is Early Intervention Important?

If your child has a developmental delay or disability they are at risk for falling behind. When your child is diagnosed with autism, apraxia, etc. it is crucial to their development that a treatment plan is put in place. Treatment from a speech language pathologists is not the only importance though. Having a supportive and fully committed family is as well. With speech, the therapy is continued outside of the therapy room into the home. The majority of your child’s progress will take place outside of therapy. Speech therapy will help promote receptive and expressive communication and the oral motor skills to speak and swallow. The therapist will usually send “homework” with the parent so the child can continue working on these areas. Speech therapy may include using speech, pictures, gestures, and electronic devises.

All of this and much more is found on Parents.com. If you think your child has a language delay or disability or if you are looking for treatment, contact Christine Wilson today!

The “W” Sound

December 21st (a Wednesday) is the first day of winter!

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Now is a great time to master the “W” sound!

The /w/ sound is considered a glide or a semivowel sound by speech-language pathologists. In other words, /w/ sounds a lot like a vowel and sometimes even acts like one, even though it is technically a consonant. To make a /w/ sound, form a tight circle with puckered lips brought out and away from your face. With your lips in this position, produce a sound with your vocal cords while holding the back of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, near the back.

It sounds complicated, but the /w/ sound is actually one of the earlier sounds that kids typically begin to master. Normally a child will start using /w/ around age 2 and should have a solid grasp on it by 3 years. If your child is still unable to produce the sound or has trouble using it in simple words by age 4, it is highly recommended that you seek the intervention of a licensed speech-language pathologist who can help your child get back on track. Remember: the sooner you identify a problem, the easier it is to correct and the less likely it is to affect your child’s ability to affect other sounds. That said, it is common and natural for children to interchange the /r/ sound for the /w/ sound, such as saying “wabbit” or “wight” for “rabbit” or “right” through ages 6-7.

Here are some fun ways to help engage your child while practicing the /w/ sound:

  • Verbal cues

When you practice with your little one, it is important to demonstrate the sound clearly and correctly so that your child understands the sound and has an accurate source to imitate. Slowly make the /w/ sound for your child, exaggerating the movement on your mouth. Repeat this until your child begins to imitate you. Once they have mastered the individual sound, try combining it with vowels to form simple syllables, like “we, we, we” and “ew, ew, ew”.

  • Visual Cues

When your mouth makes the /w/ sound, it happens to look a lot like you are about to kiss someone. Begin by practicing kisses with your little one and focusing on helping him to bring his lips together in a tight ‘O’. Blow kisses, kiss the air, kiss each other. Then point to your lips and make a new sound – the /w/ sound.

  • Tactile Cues

The /w/ sound is also a voiced sound. This means that it vibrates your vocal cords when you say it. Put your hand on your throat as you make the /w/ sound to feel this, and let your little one put their hand on your throat too. Then encourage her to place her hand on her own throat as she says the sound.

After your child masters the sound and syllables with the /w/ sound, try practicing some words with your child. Find objects around your house or while walking through the grocery store that begin with /w/.


Christmas Themed Game to Practice Articulation!

New Tampa Speech Therapy

What’s in the Stocking?

Written by Emily K. Hulse

Speech-Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, has a variety of FUN games and activities at her clinic. One of our favorite games is called Ned’s head. What’s in Ned’s Head? Who knows? A rat? An eyeball? Reach in and find out! This icky game of funny feeling fun will have children giggling with delight as they race to pull an object out of Ned’s head and match their game card! It is perfect for children who need help describing (What does it feel like?), storytelling (How did this get in Ned’s head?), and matching. You can play your own customized games. For example, fill Ned’s head with articulation cards and turn him into a silly articulation game.

If you are in the Christmas spirit, try playing What’s in the Stocking? Pick a stocking and fill the stocking with objects of your choice…

View original post 90 more words

Accent vs. Dialect

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-10-51-26-amThe terms “accent” and “dialect” are often used interchangeably, although they are not synonyms.

  • An accent is the way that particular person or group of people sound.  It’s the way somebody pronounces words, the musicality of their speech, etc.
  • dialect describes both a person’s accent and the grammatical features of the way that person talks.

To provide an example, you could say somebody from Alabama has a “Southern Accent,” meaning that they pronounce words differently than somebody from the Northern US.  However, “accent” would not refer to a Southerner’s use of the word “y’all.”  That would fall under the category of Southern dialects.

Phonemic Inventories

Languages across the world have unique phonemic systems. For individuals learning English as a second language, it is common for the phonemic system of their first language to influence the production of sounds in English.

Please remember that dialectal differences exist for each language and should be considered when using the phonemic charts.

How can I use this information?

Speech-language pathologists can use this information to:

  • Assess speech and articulation for accent modification therapy.
  • Identify sounds in a client’s phonological system for languages other than English.
  • Determine phonemic influences of a client’s native language on English.
  • Identify sounds from the client’s first language that may not exist in English or identify sounds in English that do not exist in someone’s native language.
  • Recognize that even if there are similar sounds across two languages, they may not be used the same way. For example, in some languages a sound may only be used at the ends of words and not as a word-initial sound.

http://www.asha.org/practice/multicultural/Phono/ http://dialectblog.com/2011/01/28/dialect-vs-accent/


Communication Development for K-5

Children develop lreading-and-writinganguage at different stages in life. You wouldn’t a expect typically developing five year old to read novels, or a nine year old to say only a handful of words. Here’s a cheat sheet for communication development for children in kindergarten through fifth grade:

By this stage children should be able to

  • Follow 1-2 simple directions in a sequence
  • Listen to and understand age-appropriate stories read aloud
  • Answer simple “yes/no” questions
  • Retell a story or talk about an event
  • Know how a book works
  • Compare and match words based on their sounds
  • Identify upper- and lowercase letters
  • and print own first and last name

First Grade: At this stage children should be able to

  • Respond to instructions
  • Follow 2-3 step directions in a sequence
  • Be easily understood
  • Ask and respond to “wh” questions
  • Start conversations
  • Create rhyming words
  • Sound out words when reading
  • Express ideas through writing

Second Grade: Moving onto this stage children should be able to

  • Understand direction words
  • Use oral language to inform, to persuade, and to entertain
  • Give directions with 3-4 steps
  • Associate speech sounds, syllables, words, and phrases with their written forms
  • Have fully mastered phonics/sound awareness
  • Organize writing to include beginning, middle, and end

Third Grade: In this stage children should be able to

  • Listen attentively in group situations
  • Participate in conversations and group discussions
  • Stay on topic, use appropriate eye contact, and take turns in conversation
  • Predict and justify what will happen next in stories and compare and contrast stories
  • Use clues from language content and structure to help understand what is read
  • Write stories, letters, simple explanations, and brief reports

Fourth Grade: Children at this stage should be able to

  • Listen to and understand information presented by others
  • Participate in group discussions
  • Summarize and restate ideas
  • Link information learned to different subjects
  • Learn meanings of new words through knowledge of word origins, synonyms, and multiple meanings
  • Organize writing to convey a central idea

Fifth Grade: And last, but not least at this stage

  • Listen and draw conclusions in subject area learning activities
  • Summarize main points
  • Participate in class discussions across subject areas
  • Prioritize information according to the purpose of reading
  • Learn meanings of unfamiliar words through knowledge of root words, prefixes, and suffixes
  • Vary sentence structure


All of this and much more is found on the ASHA website. If you think your child is behind the typical development or if you are looking for treatment, contact Christine Wilson today!

AAC Devices

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What is AAC?

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.

People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth.

Unaided communication systems – rely on the user’s body to convey messages. Examples include gestures, body language, and/or sign language.

Aided communication systems – require the use of tools or equipment in addition to the user’s body. Aided communication methods can range from paper and pencil to communication books or boards to devices that produce voice output

  • Single-meaning picturesdo not require reading; the symbols are only one picture, but the group or symbol set is huge for a significant vocabulary (e.g., a 3-year-old would need a set of 1,100 pictures to represent his known vocabulary); some meaning to pictures must be taught since it is difficult to represent some words with pictures.This system is used the least compared with the others.
  • Alphabet-based systemsdo require reading; symbol sequences are long (systems that can predict words after the first several letters can reduce the number of letter selections).
  • Semantic compactiondoes not require reading; symbol sequences are short, typically between one and two symbols per word; symbol set is small (fitting on a single overlay to the AAC device). This system is used the most often.

Who uses AAC?

More than 2 million people in the United States have a severe communication disorder that impairs their ability to talk. This problem may be short or long and may be congenital (present at birth), acquired (occurring later in late), or degenerative (worsening throughout life).

Success in life can be directly related to the ability to communicate. Full interpersonal communication substantially enhances an individual’s potential for education, employment, and independence. Therefore, it is imperative that the goal of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) use be the most effective interactive communication possible.


If you think you or your child could benefit from an AAC device, contact a Speech-Language Pathologist such as Christine Wilson!