Why Is Play So Important For Language Development?

10342494_526294250813833_8643918449388554051_nWritten by Christine Wilson MS CCC-SLP:

As a speech therapist, I get to play with kids and toys all day. Part of my routine evaluation of children 3 and under is to assess their play skills. Below are some play skill milestones that you can use to decide if your child is developing normal play skills.

0-24 months: Solitary Play. Plays alone without concern for activities of others around him; minimal attention to other children in the area.

24-34 months: Parallel Play. Plays beside children rather than with other children., usually with similar toys/materials; somewhat attentive to others.

30-36 months: Associative Play. Plays with other children, such as sharing toys and talking about the play activities, even though agendas may be different.

36-48 months: Cooperative Play. Plays with children in an organized fashion toward a common goal.

3-5 years: Rough and Tumble Play. Boisterous and physical activity done in a playful manner.

3-5 years: Games with rules. Participates in an activity with accepted rules or limits; displays shared expectations and a willingness to conform to agreed upon procedures; preset standard game or made up game.

Play skills are crucial to social and language development and should be fostered and developed. Atypical play behaviors include: no focus or intent; stares blankly; wanders with no purpose, attached to unusual object, perseverates on certain objects, lines up toys, focuses on parts of objects. If you notice your child is exhibiting some atypical play behaviors it may be time for a speech and language evaluation. Play skills are the way we learn to socialize with our peers and they must be addressed like any other developmental delay.


If you’re looking for speech therapy for your child please do not hesitate to give Christine Wilson’s office a call today! She is currently accepting new patients.

5-Year Study at Duke University; Check This Out!!


stack of books



Today Christine Wilson stumbled upon this fascinating article!! The article looks into a link between ADHD and Autism. This study was done at Duke University. Check it out!!


FREE Holiday Speech Therapy Activities!

snowmanPaige and Christine would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday!

Here are some FREE holiday themed activities you can work on.

1. Winter Articulation:

The activities packet contains S/Z/R word lists/homework pages, a word search, and a bingo game. The words in the word search and bingo game all have both an S/Z and an R sound so any of the sounds can be targeted.

FREE Holiday - Christmas - Winter Articulation Activities

2. Following Directions – Christmas Themed

This holiday packet is wonderful if your kids need to work on listening to instructions! Enjoy this following directions freebie:
Simply print out cards, cut, and laminate.
This packet includes:
(3) FIRST…THEN Direction Cards
(3) BEFORE YOU___, ___ Direction Cards
(3) AFTER YOU ___, ___ Direction Cards

Following Directions | Speech Therapy Christmas

3. Naughty or Nice List?

Have you ever wondered how many kids are on the naughty list? This is a fun, competitive game for 2 players to see which children are naughty and nice this year. See which list has more children at the end. But don’t worry, Santa knows everyone is on the nice list this year! This is a low prep game that you can play with almost any child on your speech and language caseload. The targeted audience is for articulation school-aged students; but can also be a turn-taking game for many targeted goals in other areas.
This download includes:
2 instruction/directions pages
2 game boards
1 sheet of 17 playing cards.

All you need to do is print, cut, play, and have fun!

Naughty or Nice List: Speech Therapy Game

4. Final Consonant Deletion Minimal Pairs – Christmas Themed

This Final Consonant Deletion Freebie contains 3 pages of pairs of final consonant deletion pairs of words (15 in total), to be used in your Speech and Language Therapy sessions however you desire.
Suggested Instructions:
Place a pair of words in front of the child. Tell them what they are called; make sure you emphasize the final consonant. Have the child close their eyes, then hide a small token under one of the images. The child then opens their eyes and you tell them which picture to look under. Keep practising until the child is consistently able to hear the difference between the two words.
Place a pair of words in front of the child. Tell them what they are called, make sure you emphasize the final consonant. Have the child close their eyes, then hide a small token under one of the images. The child then opens their eyes and tells you which picture to look under. Repeat back which picture they told you to look under- if you hear ‘bow’, but you know they meant ‘boat’, you must turn over the ‘bow’ picture, because that’s what you heard. You could repeat the target word again, with a prompt for them to use that sound at the end of the word. Continue practising until they are able to use final consonants with no support.

Final Consonant Deletion Minimal Pairs- Christmas Theme

5. Holiday Interview

Grab your speech buddy an interview each other! Use this worksheet to work on final consonant deletion in minimal pairs.

FREEBIE!  Holiday Interview Elementary to Develop Expressive Language Skills

Early Indicators of Autism

Written by Christine Wilson M.S. CCC-SLP:

8048550_f496Signs and symptoms of autism in babies and toddlers

If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brain’s remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months.  If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.

The earliest signs of autism involve the absence of normal behaviors—not the presence of abnormal ones—so they can be tough to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms of autism are even misinterpreted as signs of a “good baby,” since the infant may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.

Some autistic infants don’t respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.

Early signs of autism in babies and toddlers

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually.
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
  • Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.
  • Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests.

The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.
  • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions.
  • By 12 months: Lack of response to name.
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”
  • By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
  • By 16 months: No spoken words.
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.

What is Apraxia? How Does it Affect Language Acquisition?

Written by Christine Wilson:

When I diagnose a child with Apraxia, the mother always goes home to do research on her computer about the disorder.  This is a very pragmatic thing to do.  However, there is a lot of doom and gloom about Apraxia on the internet.  Like any disorder, there are many different severities of Apraxia. 

Apraxia is a difficulty with motor planning for speech sound production.    Many of the children whom I treat for speech therapy have a form of Apraxia.  These children have difficulty imitating new words and have very unintelligible speech.  Children who do not have Apraxia, can hear a grown-up say a word and then say it.  Children with Apraxia often have to rehearse a word multiple times and still may not be able to say the word correctly.  This leads to frustration and often tantrums.

What can a parent do if they suspect their child has Apraxia?

First, have a speech and language evaluation to determine the diagnosis.

Second, introduce some baby signs to give your child a way to communicate immediately.  Start with signs that he would use for requesting, as this is the most motivating form of communication.  Kids love to sign “cookie” and receive a “cookie.”

Second, shorten the target words that you are trying to have your child imitate.  Think about words like: ball, cat, dog.  These words are less complex and will be easier to imitate.

Last, give your child multiple opportunities to rehearse the word until he achieves success.

And as always, keep it fun!

If your child has apraxia of speech and you are looking for speech therapy, contact us today!

Mirror Exercises to Help Articulation!

02A15HHN.jpgMirror Exercises:

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!


If you are looking for speech therapy services give Christine Wilson‘s office a call today!

What’s in the Stocking?

StockingsWhat’s in the Stocking?

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. Try to pick objects with sounds that your child is currently working on in Speech Therapy. For an example, if you child is working on “r”, put objects containing the letter “r” in the christmas stocking (red crayon, red fire truck, train, etc.). Play this game as you would Ned’s Head. Make articulation cards that match the objects in the stocking. This game is a fun way to practice articulation skills with your child at home!

If you’re looking for speech therapy for your child, don’t hesitate to contact Christine Wilson Speech Language Pathology today!