Things to do at Home to Work on Reading and Language Skills


Things to do at Home to Work on Reading and Language Skills


  • Pick letter of the week. Focus on that letter. Practice saying what it says. Look for that letter in books.
  • Look at the alphabet as you say the ABC song.
  • Play rhyming games.
  • Try to identify the first letter of a word. (Give your child choices: Does ball begin with “b” or “s”?)
  • Practice blending sounds together to make words (c-a-t says “cat”).
  • Practice writing letters of the alphabet.

1st & 2nd Grade:

  • Practice spelling patterns.
  • Look for root words (What is the root of “walking”?)
  • Put up sight words around your child’s room and the house (wall,window, table). Put the words on the object, so your child will be exposed to new words!
  • Play scrabble Jr. The Cat in the Hat game, to increase letter awareness.

3rd to 5th Grade:

  • Practice writing sentences!
  • Have your child keep a journal. Require your child to write 5 sentences every day.

Middle School/High School:

  • Try to target skills through your child’s homework.
  • Encourage your child to use a planner or agenda to track his/her assignments.
  • Practice using outlines to write essays.

If you have any questions, or would like to set up a Speech and Language evaluation today, contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

stuttering-communicationSensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or the former but still acceptable term “Sensory Integration” (SI), is a term referring to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are eating pancakes, riding a skateboard, or reading a book, your successful completion of any activity requires processing many different sensations.

A Sensory Processing Disorder exists when sensory signals cannot organize themselves into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist, A. Jean Ayres, PhD, compares SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” which prevents parts of the brain from receiving the information it needs to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses which, in turn, can create severe challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and school failure are a few ways SPD can affect someone that does not receive effective treatment.

Sensory Processing Disorder can affect people in only one sense–just touch, sight, or movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to the touch sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input as unbearable. Another might under-respond in reaction to stimulation – even pain or extreme hot and cold. Other children might exhibit appetites that are in perpetual overdrive for certain sensations.

Children receiving impaired messages of sensory processing from their muscles and joints might experience poor posture

and motor skills and, as a result, may have low self-esteem, experience social/emotional issues, and struggle academically.

This disability is not an obvious one. People unaware of this disorder, including parents and educators, may label SPD children as clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control”. Without an appropriate diagnosis and therapy, anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.

However, most children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) are as intelligent as their peers and are sometimes intellectually gifted; the wiring of their brain is just different. Those with SPD must learn alternate ways (through therapy) to help them adapt to how they process information, and they must acquire leisure activities that suit their own sensory processing needs.

Children with SPD often receive a misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and begin a regiment of medication that is not addressing their needs. Examine the symptoms of ADHD and SPD side by side, and you will see some striking parallels, as well as several disparities. The two conditions do not always go hand in hand, but they can and often do. Consult physicians and therapists who are knowledgeable about both.

Preliminary research suggests that SPD is something we inherit. If so, the causes of SPD are in our genetic material. Prenatal and birth complications have also been implicated, and environmental factors may be involved. As with any developmental and/or behavioral disorder, the causes of SPD are likely to be the result of factors that are both genetic and environmental. Only with more research will it be possible to identify the role of each. • © 2013 Super Duper® Publications

Speech Therapy Activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

New Tampa Speech Therapy

flag.jpgLet Freedom Ring!

By Lindsey M.S., CCC-SLP

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (in the U.S.) represents bravery, freedom, equality, respect, and unity. This is a great time to talk about anti-bullying, embracing differences, and standing up for what is right.

Here are some quick facts about Martin Luther King Jr.:

  • He was born in January of 1929
  • He graduated from high school at the age of 15
  • He was originally named Michael, but as a child his father changed his name to Martin-Luther King
  • He received a college degree (BA) at the age of 19
  • He married Coretta Scott and they had 4 children
  • At the age of 26 he led a bus boycott, which caught the attention of the nation
  • His house was bombed and he received many violent threats and was even imprisoned
  • He was a pastor in the baptist church
  • His non-violent protests and bus boycott resulted…

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School vs. Clinic Speech Therapy

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-1-51-01-pmPros and Cons of Speech Therapy Settings

First of all, keep in mind that the rapport between the speech language therapist and your child is the most important element whether it’s in a clinic or in a school.

Secondly, the disorder that your child may have and the severity will also dictate your choice.

Finally, convenience, cost and payment options will also likely influence your decision.

 Pros and Cons of Speech Therapy in Schools


  • Cost
  • Eligible kids receive services free under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Reach out to the state at CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288 to determine eligibility requirements and get a referral to your county administrators.
  • Convenience
  • The therapy happens at the school during school hours.
  • Team Approach
  • The educators and the SLP can work together to link the curriculum to the special needs of the student.


  • High Case Loads: School SLPs carry heavy caseloads. This often makes focused individualized therapy difficult to do.
  • Often school SLPs resort to group therapy sessions.
    • Groups can be beneficial if kids are paired with other kids who have similar issues and who are developmentally and socially compatible. This is not always the case.
  • Therapy Interruptions:
    • The school schedule with multiple long breaks leads to long interruptions in therapy.
  • Expertise:
    • The school SLP might not have experience or expertise to treat the specific speech or language disorder that your kid has.
  • Missed Classes:
    • Kids are pulled out of class for therapy which can have consequences both academically and socially.

Pros and Cons of Speech Therapy at a Clinic (Private Practice)



  • Flexible Schedules:
  • Christine Wilson Speech accepts appointments 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
    • Access to Materials:
      • SLPs have immediate access to all of the materials, tools and props needed for a successful therapy session.
    • Individualize Attention:
      • Clinics give the parent the choice of small well-paired groups or individual therapy.
    • Resources:
      • Many clinics have access to a coordinated team of therapists (speech, occupational, behavioral, etc.)
    • Limited Distractions:
      • Therapy rooms are often devoid of distractions.
      • All the rooms are kid friendly and free of distractions so the student can focus on the therapy.


  • Insurance: Clients may have a copayment or co-insurance due at the time of each therapy visit.
    • Inconvenience Factor
      • The parent needs to drive to the clinic.

If you are interested in scheduling a speech evaluation today, contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson!


Voice Disorders

blond happy smiling little girl excited laugh

As defined by ASHA a voice disorder is characterized by the abnormal production and/or absences of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration, which is inappropriate for an individual’s age and/or sex. Everyone experiences complications with their voice. It could be from singing your lungs out at a concert to exposure to irritants such as ammonia. There are four types of voice disorders:

Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps: 

Vocal cord nodules are benign (noncancerous) growths on both vocal cords that are caused by vocal abuse. Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.

Polyps can take a number of forms. They are sometimes caused by vocal abuse. Polyps appear on either one or both of the vocal cords. They appear as a swelling or bump (like a nodule), a stalk-like growth, or a blister-like lesion. Most polyps are larger than nodules and may be called by other names, such as polypoid degeneration or Reinke’s edema. The best way to think about the difference between nodules and polyps is to think of a nodule as a callous and a polyp as a blister.

Vocal Cord Paralysis:

Everyone has two vocal cords in his or her larynx (voicebox). The vocal cords vibrate during speech to produce voice. If one or both vocal cords are unable to move then the person will experience voice problems and possibly breathing and swallowing problems. This is vocal cord paralysis.

There are different types of vocal cord paralysis. Bilateral vocal cord paralysis involves both vocal cords becoming stuck halfway between open and closed (the paramedian position) and not moving either way. This condition often requires a tracheotomy (an opening made in the neck to provide an airway) to protect the airway when the person eats.

Unilateral vocal cord paralysis is when only one side is paralyzed in the paramedian position or has a very limited movement. It is more common than bilateral involvement. The paralyzed vocal cord does not move to vibrate with the other cord but vibrates abnormally or does not vibrate at all. The individual will run out of air easily. They will be unable to speak clearly or loudly.

Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement:

Paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM) is a voice disorder. The vocal folds (cords) behave in a normal fashion almost all of the time, but, when an episode occurs, the vocal cords close when they should open, such as when breathing.

and Spasmodic Dysphonia:

Spasmodic dysphonia is a chronic (long-term) voice disorder. With spasmodic dysphonia, movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained resulting in a jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight, or groaning voice. Vocal interruptions or spasms, periods of no sound (aphonia), and periods when there is near normal voice occur.

All of this and much more is found on the ASHA website. If you think you or your child has a voice disorder or are looking for treatment, contact Christine Wilson today!