Happy 4th of July!

Happy (almost) 4th of July!!  For a lot of you, summer school is over or at the very least, your children are off for the 4th.  Looking for some fun Fourth of July activities to keep them entertained as well as to keep their minds sharp?  Here are some exciting activities that will improve your child’s speech and language skills while they have fun!flag.jpg

Following directions, descriptors

A Fruity Flag

For this flag, you will need a rectangular plate, but you could also use a cutting board or a piece of parchment paper laid out on the kitchen table.  Be creative!

  1. Get out a rectangular plate and a small bowl, preferably square.
  2. Place the bowl in the upper left-hand corner of the large plate.
  3. Get out some blueberries and rinse them in the sink.
  4. Place the blueberries in the bowl.
  5. Get out a red fruit.  You could use raspberries, strawberries, cherries, or anything else.  If your fruit is in large pieces, cut them down to bite-size pieces.  Lay the red fruit in 7 stripes horizontally across the plate.
  6. Get out some pineapple, marshmallows, melon, or any other white-ish colored fruit/food.  Again, cut it down to bite size pieces if necessary.  Lay the white fruit in between the red stripes.
  7. Ta-Da!  You’ve made a flag!  Talk about the color of each food, how it smells, feels, and tastes.  Yum!

Watching Fireworks

Here are some Fourth of July Activities ideas of how you can work speech and language in while you’re watching fireworks, be it yours or someone else’s.

Use Descriptors: Talk about some words you can use to describe the fireworks.  How do they sound?  Are they loud or quiet?  Are the sounds close together or far apart?  How do they look?  What colors do you see?  What shapes do you see?  What do the fireworks look like?  Do you see a tree?  Do you smell anything from the fireworks?

Making Predictions: Ask your child to make predictions about what the next firework will look like.  What color will it be?  Will it be loud or quiet?  What will it look like?


10 Awesome Reasons Why Being a Speech Pathologist Rocks!

cropped-logo.pngIf you are a Speech Language Pathologist, or studying to become one, check out this awesome article! It gives 10 great reasons as to why Speech Language Pathologists, like Christine Wilson, LOVE their job!


If you or a loved one are seeking speech therapy check out Christine Wilson‘s website and give our office a call 🙂

What’s in a Sentence?

Sentence Structure

by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.
What Is a Sentence?
A sentence is a group of written words expressing a statement, question, command, or exclamation that always begins with a capital letter and must end with an appropriate punctuation mark. A sentence’s purpose is to provide or request information. When reading a sentence, the reader distinguishes each word with patterns of stress, pitch, and pause, giving the sentence meaning, feeling, and a purpose. We speak using words, phrases, and sentences, but we don’t necessarily write the way we speak. There are rules to follow. Teaching children to write sentences well, in turn, helps them become better readers and communicators.
Rules of Sentence Building
Use the following rules to introduce or extend sentence building with your students.
1. Complete sentences have at least two words that make an independent clause, meaning the two words can stand alone – a noun (person, place, or thing) or pronoun (a word that takes the place of a noun), a verb (an action word), and ending punctuation. The first word always begins with a capital letter. These two words in correct order can stand alone – independently.
I sleep.  Dad drives.  Babies cry.  May I? (I may.)  Will they? (They will.)
2. Add a dependent clause – a clause or phrase that cannot stand alone (often referred to as a fragment) – to extend the sentence’s information.
I sleep in my bed.   Dad drives home from school.  Babies cry when they’re hungry.
The bold words make a dependent clause (fragment) which cannot stand alone. Dependent clauses can follow an independent clause as in the previous sentences or introduce an independent clause, as in, “When they’re hungry, babies cry,” or “In my bed, I sleep.”
3. Introduce other parts of speech –
  • Articles (a, an, the) – identify nouns without describing them [an always comes before a word beginning with a vowel or vowel sound (an umbrella, an hour)].
The apple… An octopus… A girl…
  • Adjectives – describe nouns
I sleep in a soft bed. Dad drives a fast car. Little babies cry a lot.
  • Adverbs – describe when, where, or how an action occurs and can appear before or after the verb.
I sleep soundly in a soft bed. Dad always drives a fast car. Little babies usually cry a lot.
  • Conjunctions – link phrases or clauses together with words like for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
I sleep soundly and wake up early. Dad drives a fast car, but he obeys the speed limit. Little or young babies cry a lot.
I sleep soundly, so I feel good in the morning. Dad drives a fast car, yet he is careful. Babies cry, for they are hungry.

Teaching Negation Should Not Cause Frustration!

Teaching Negation Should Not Cause Frustration! by Amber Hodgson, M.A., CCC-SLP02e77433

Negation is part of grammar (the form and function of words). To negate statements or questions, we typically insert the words no or not into the phrase or sentence. For example, “The dog is playing” is an affirmative, or positive, statement. “The dog is not
playing” uses negation, which changes the meaning of the statement. Negation can also occur with contractions. For example, can and not becomes can’t, would and not becomes wouldn’t, and have and not becomes haven’t. Other negation contractions include don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, aren’t, weren’t, hadn’t, hasn’t, didn’t, doesn’t, and isn’t. Other common words that show negation include nobody, never, nothing, none, no one, and nowhere.

Ways to Teach Negation:

Introducing Not – Use familiar items, such as food or toys, to help children learn negation. For example, if you have a cookie and a banana, say, “Show me which one is not a cookie.” You can also use attributes (features) of the items and say statements like, “Show me which one is not round.” Use different adjectives to describe the items—what they are, and what they are not.

Looking at Pictures – Provide children with pictures. For example, have a picture of a banana, a cookie, and the sun. Say, “Show me which one is not yellow,” or “Show me which one you do not eat.” To increase the level of difficulty, use picture scenes or picture books. Begin by asking yes/no questions. For example, if
you are looking at a farm scene, ask questions like: “Is there a horse in this picture?” “Is the horse purple?” Then, introduce the word not with questions like: “Which animal is not little?” “Which animal does not have feathers?” “Which animal can you not ride?”

Following Verbal Directions – You can also teach negation while playing a game, like Simon Says. This game requires children to listen carefully and follow directions only when “Simon Says” is stated before the direction. Incorporate directions that use negation. You can say, “Simon Says, Do not point to the floor.” You can also give verbal directions that use conditional negation. These directions use the words if and not. For example, you can say, “If you are not a girl, jump up and down,” “If it is not raining, wiggle your fingers,” or “Turn around if you do not have blue eyes.”


If your child is having trouble with negation, contact a Speech-Language Pathologist such as Christine Wilson!


Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 9.13.56 AMWritten by Addie Ruckman (Office Manager)

“Tongue-tied” is a popular phrase, but what exactly does it mean? People often say they are “tongue-tied” when they are having trouble getting a word out, but the term actually has an anatomical meaning. In order to understand what it means, you have to learn a little bit of anatomy about the tongue.

The frenulum, a small band of mucous, connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. You can see the frenulum if you lift your tongue to the top of your mouth. This band helps stabilize the tongue and is important for sucking, swallowing, eating and speaking.  Some children are born with their frenulum partially or completely fuzed to the bottom of their mouth. Ankyloglossia is the technical name for a tongue-tie. Tongue tie often runs in families and affects more boys than girls.

A tongue-tie can cause multiple oral-motor problems ranging from feeding to talking. The /l/, /th/, /t/, /d/ and /n/ sounds are usually the most obviously affected and are used to assess whether a child is tongue-tied.

A surgery, called a frenulectomy, is performed by an ENT, plastic surgeon or oral surgeon. The surgery simply releases the tongue in order to have more movement. The surgery is done when the tongue-tie is inhibiting swallowing, mobility, intelligibility or good oral hygiene. The frenulum may stretch or recede in children up to 5 years old. If the restriction is not severely affecting eating and speaking, a surgery may not be needed.

“Children with a tongue tie have to contend with difficulties which may only be discovered as they grow older. These can include:

  • Inability to chew age appropriate solid foods
  • Gagging, choking or vomiting foods
  • Difficulties related to dental hygiene
  • Persistence of dribbling
  • Delayed development of speech
  • Deterioration in speech
  • Behaviour problems
  • Dental problems starting to appear
  • Loss of self confidence because they feel and sound ‘different’

A lactation consultant can help with correcting poor sucking which will improve breastfeeding. A speech-language pathologist will help with speech and language problems. A dentist or orthodontist can help with problems of crooked or decayed teeth and infected gums.”   -http://tonguetie.net

Developing Students’ Social Skills Through Scripting

02j81875Developing Students’ Social Skills through Scripting

by Patty Mayo, Pattii Waldo, and Becky L. Spivey


What is scripting?

Scripting is the practice of using focused scripts of typical situations and encounters to help teach students appropriate social skills and behaviors. Using scripts to role-play provides an organized plan for teaching particular social skills that include:

  • Thinking about one’s behavior before, during, and after speaking.
  • Using appropriate eye contact, voice, tone, expression, and posture.
  • Respecting someone’s personal space.
  • Learning to participate appropriately in groups.
  • Being assertive without being pushy.
  • Dealing with peer pressure.
  • Taking charge of one’s feelings.
  • Giving and responding to criticism.
  • Disagreeing with others.
  • Settling conflicts.
  • Compromising and negotiating.
  • Dealing with failure or being left out.Applicable to all students, but particularly students on the autism spectrum or with attention deficit disorder, social scripts help teach students how to interact with peers and adults, manage their anxiety, and address behaviors like aggression, fear, and obsessions. Using social scripts is like practicing for a play, but the play is real life. Students may feel awkward at first because their words are scripted, but with practice students become more spontaneous and comfortable. The goal of scripting is to help students transfer the social skills learned using the scripts to other situations.

Who needs scripting?

Students that don’t seem to fit in with others in the class are easily identifiable by peers and teachers and may be isolated from their peers because of what they do or do not do. This isolation may continue throughout their lifetime, creating much unhappiness and may lead to maladjustment in school, delinquency, and problems adjusting as adults. Socially different describes students who are unable to maintain social acceptance. They may not use appropriate eye contact, not know how to open or close a conversation, or have trouble with self-control.

Students with social skill deficits usually have (1) a lack of knowledge, (2) a lack of practice or feedback, (3) a lack of cues or opportunities, (4) a lack of reinforcement, and (5) the presence of interfering behaviors. Four components in training a student with scripting include: modeling, role-playing, performance feedback, and transfer of training.

What can a typical lesson of scripting provide for the student?

Daily observations of students’ social abilities can help determine the skills that need practice as well as reports from others who interact with these students. Basic social abilities, such as greeting someone or starting a conversation, are a good place to begin. Eye contact, listening, starting and ending a conversation, and respecting personal space should be part of every scripting lesson. Skills should be applicable to the students’ daily experiences, needs, and interests in order to help maintain their motivation. Scripts need to match life experiences at home, at school, in their community, and possibly in their workplace. Students should share their experiences to help make the scripts more interesting and relevant. Personal experiences can also help identify cultural and regional differences for each social skill. Blending humor into the scripts or using silly names for the characters helps maintain motivation. Once students are comfortable with practicing the scripts, short field trips can provide opportunities to practice and enhance their skills. The inclusion of skilled peers is often helpful to the social skills class or target group. Because socially challenged students tend to associate with other socially challenged students, the addition of skilled peers helps the students with social differences acquaint themselves with others outside their usual circle of friends. Skilled peers can model social situations appropriately for the target students.

There are no classes that focus on social skills at my school. What then?

If a “social skills class” is not available at your school, social skills training still can, and should be, integrated into the students’ day. Besides social skills, teachers can also use scripting to enhance reading, English, and language arts classes. Real-life situations provide students with opportunities to respond orally or through written expression. Students can improve reading by practicing fluency and expression. Any creative educator can integrate scripting into a variety of classroom experiences. Providing opportunities to learn appropriate behaviors will encourage a sense of self-satisfaction, accomplishment, and social-skill competence for students or individuals with social differences.