JSLHR Article – Premature Infants and Their Language Abilities

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Article Alert!!

Have you ever wondered how much a premature baby is effected by being born prematurely? This article from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research examined the extent to which children born prematurely catch up to their full-term peers. Did the results surprise you, or not?


If you are looking for speech therapy for your child, contact Christine Wilson today!

Ahoy Mateys!!


‘Tis the week of Gasparilla here in Tampa, Florida. This Saturday the 101st Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. Following a successful invasion by the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the focus shifts to downtown Tampa. After successfully capturing the Key to the City, the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla celebrate with a victory parade. The 4.5 mile Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates has been presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla annually since 1904.

In light of this event, check out these fun pirate themed speech therapy activities!!

Pirate Articulation R-Blends: This articulation/speech sound FREEBIE comes with 5 activity coloring pages to practice the following r-blend sounds; tr, br, gr, fr, and cr.

Pirate Talk: 24 Questions or Conversation Topics focused around Pirates. Great for working with voice, fluency, or artic kids at the conversation level.

Pirate Bingo: Pirate Bingo targets listening and language skills. Product contains; 8 different BINGO boards, 20 calling cards, and a list of different ways to play the game in order to target listening & language skills.

Shiver Me Timbers: Practice short words with a CVC game, practice reading sight words, respond to pirate prompts, and sort “ch”/”sh” words in this pirate themed activity page.


For our friends in Tampa, if you are attending the event we hope you have a fun and safe time!!

Know the Difference Between Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy



Often times, those who have suffered from an injury, accident, or a chronic condition will need weeks or months of care to recover and adapt to their new circumstances. The medical professionals who specialize in providing that long-term care are therapists. With the latest equipment and training, therapists can help guarantee the fastest possible recovery time, the lowest chance of additional complications, and the highest quality of life possible for those in their care. But what are the differences between the most common types of therapists, and who can benefit from their use?

Occupational Therapy:

Anytime you’re afflicted by an injury, disability, illness, or another condition that may affect your ability to complete day-to-day activities, an occupational therapist can help you adapt to those circumstances in order to maintain your quality of life. This often involves redesigning tasks that may have become difficult, including homemaking skills, cooking, grooming, dressing, and a variety of other common activities. Occupational therapists can also provide the therapy necessary to help alleviate the stress and emotional trauma of adjusting to these changes in lifestyle.

The types of people who can use occupational therapy vary widely. Occupational therapy for the elderly is used to help them face the challenges of aging. It’s also used to help children who may suffer developmental difficulties, or even to help a spouse cope with a progressive disease. Essentially, anytime someone can’t do the things they want or need to do in life, an occupational therapist is there to help.

Physical Therapist:

The main difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is that a physical therapist is principally concerned with treating the source of an injury, as opposed to managing the fallout resulting from that injury. They’re specifically trained to evaluate and treat ailments affecting the muscular, skeletal, and nervous system.

Using a variety of techniques, including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and hands-on treatment, they work to help patients recover from their condition while simultaneously working to prevent re-injury during rehabilitation. For example, when a physical therapist works with someone who has broken their leg, their primary goal is to recover their mobility and range of motion, while also ensuring a rapid recovery. By contrast, an occupational therapist would be more concerned with helping that individual learn to adapt to living with a broken bone for an extended period of time.

Physical therapy is used in a wide variety of settings. Injured athletes use physical therapists to rehabilitate their performance. Those suffering from neurological conditions like Parkinson’s may use physical therapy to help maintain their motor function. Orthopedic doctors often use them to help people recover from skeletal injuries. Applied to geriatrics, physical therapists are often employed to help improve balance and prevent falls.

Speech Therapist:

Like the name suggests, a speech therapist provides support for a variety of speech and language issues. Natural aging can result in a variety of illnesses, neurological difficulties, and many problems with the body’s most basic processes, including swallowing.  A speech therapist’s is trained to help their patients improve their ability to communicate and eat.

Because the ability to communicate with your loved ones and swallow food safely is essential to maintaining a high quality of life, speech therapists are among the most important specialists available to the elderly. They’re often used following a stroke, infection, brain injury, lung disease, or similar condition.

This type of therapist also can provide treatment for a variety of cognitive-linguistic impairments. Where physical therapists would help an individual learn to walk again after suffering leg trauma, a speech language therapist might help someone overcome a cognitive impairment by helping them break down a task to make it more manageable, re-learn how to use speech muscles, and ultimately overcome a speech deficit. To that end, speech therapy is used by adults who may have been afflicted by conditions like motor neuron diseases, Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, a brain injury, stroke, and many others.

Therapy for Everyone

Medical rehabilitation has become a highly individualized process. Just as there are doctors specifically for the foot, eye, bones, and so on, there are therapists who train to become specialists for incredibly specific areas of medicine. Very often, speech and occupational therapy, or occupational and physical therapy, can be used in combination to provide the best possible care. Thankfully, with the right specialists on the job, you can treat nearly every aspect of an ailment, from the underlying physical cause to the difficulty of coping with changes in lifestyle.


If you are looking for a speech therapist, give Christine Wilson‘s office a call today to schedule an appointment!

Article from Griswold Home Care.

Lisping… It’s Not Just a Speech Problem!

10342494_526294250813833_8643918449388554051_nA message from Christine Wilson MS CCC-SLP:

I evaluate a half dozen kids a week who have parents that tell me their child has a lisp. A “lisp” is the common term for incorrect tongue placement when the /s/, /z/, /ch/, and /sh/ sounds are produced in words. If only it were that simple….

When someone has difficulty with these sounds, it is a result of an incorrect swallow pattern. Babies are born to push their tongue forward to express milk and swallow. The pattern is usually changed to a retracted swallow around 9-12 months when the child begins to drink from a cup. However, the creation of sippy cups, using the bottle too long, and extended use of a pacifier has inhibited the swallow pattern correction and left the child with a tongue thrust swallow pattern.

Then, as the toddler begins to learn speech and language sounds, the tongue placement is too far forward (between his teeth), producing the lisp. As the child ages, this problem becomes more and more difficult to correct.

What are some things you can do now?

First, remove all pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups. The longer you wait to take them away, the more traumatic it will be for your child. Yes, I know the carpet is expensive to replace. Braces are expensive, too and will be needed if this tongue thrust is not corrected- so toss the sippy cups! Instead, look at the Wow Cups or a cup with a straw. The best (and cheapest) solution is the regular cup. Keep it at the table. When the child is thirsty, have him come to the table and take a drink.

Second, take a bendy straw and trim the first part of the straw in half. Next, have the child drink through the straw through his front teeth. Do not let the straw lay on the tongue. It needs to be in front of the teeth. As the child can do this, graduate to thicker liquids (applesauce, yogurt). The child’s tongue will have to retract to pull the liquid up. This is correcting the reverse swallow.

These methods, along with diligent speech therapy sessions and home programming, will improve the speech and swallowing problems.

And as always, keep it fun!


If you, your child, or a loved one are looking for speech therapy look no further! Contact Christine Wilson‘s office today to get started.

10 MLK Day Speech Therapy Activities

Martin Luther King Monument DCToday is Martian Luther King Jr. day! While the kids are home from school, checkout these 10 fun activities to practice on speech therapy. Article is courtesy of Home Speech Home:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (in the U.S.) represents bravery, freedom, equality, respect, and unity. Talking about Martin Luther King with school-aged children is great because there are such important principles and lessons that can be learned from his example and the Civil Rights Movement.

This is a great time to talk about anti-bullying, embracing differences, and standing up for what is right. It also provides wonderful and stimulating topics for language goals.


  • 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 in the outlawing of segregation in public accommodations and discrimination in education and employment
  • He led a march which played an important role in giving equal voting rights for African Americans
  • He was assassinated in 1968
  • The first Federal Martin Luther King Day was Celebrated in 1986

Acquaint your child with the story. You can tailor the facts to the appropriate age. For more kid friendly information we recommend the book “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is a great video that you can show your child that will only take three minutes and 26 seconds to watch.



  1. WH Questions – First you ask the WH questions.
    • Who was Martin Luther King?
    • Where did he live?
    • What did he believe?
    • Why was he so important?

    Then switch roles and have your child ask you WH questions.

  2. Three Fact Game – Give three statements. Two that are true and one that is false. Have your child identify the false statement.


  1. Story Retell – Have your child retell the story. It may be helpful to use the video during retell by muting the volume and pushing pause on pictures to assist with recall.
  2. Fun Song – Play the video to learn a cute song about Freedom. Your child will want to clap along and they will probably learn the words because it’s a catchy little tune.
  3. Circle Sharing – Sit in a circle and ask your child to make sentences about the freedoms they are grateful for. Use the carrier phrase “I have freedom to choose my_____.” Or don’t use a carrier phrase and let this be an open topic for your child to talk about. Great expressive language topic!
  4. Paper Hand – Trace your child’s hand. In each finger write a freedom they enjoy. Have them tell you (in full sentences of course!) about the freedoms they are grateful for.
  5. Timeline Sequencing – Using the dates and information on this website, help the students create their own time line. Then have them retell the information in proper sequence.
  6. Paper Bag Categorizing – You will need two brown lunch bags and the following sentence strips:Discrimination

    African Americans are not allowed to vote.
    African-Americans must sit in the back of the bus.
    African-Americans must drink from different drinking fountains.
    African-Americans are segregated in the schools and work places.


    Everybody over the age of 18 is allowed to vote.
    African-Americans are allowed to sit wherever they want on the bus.
    Schools are no longer segregated and everyone is allowed to attend.
    African-Americans may use the same restrooms and drinking fountains as everyone else.

    On one bag write the word “DISCRIMINATION” with a frowny face. On the other bag write the word “EQUALITY” with a smiley face. Your child will place the word strips in the proper bag.

  7. Compare and Contrast People – No two people are alike! We are all different and that is what makes this world beautiful. Show your child two pictures of people from a magazine or from the internet, side by side. First discuss or write what makes the people the SAME. Then what makes them DIFFERENT. Similarities/differences could include hair color, gender, facial expressions, eye color, age, etc. Using your computer, phone, tablet, or camera take a picture of your child. They will love seeing themselves on the computer or tablet.  Talk about their great features and what makes them the same/different from their family members, friends, or magazine pictures.
  8. Build Vocabulary – Give your child a word and ask them to formulate sentences around the word. You can use sentences strips and have them fill in the blank, or just do this as a verbal activity.Examples:


     “MLK wanted ________ for all people.”


     “MLK believed in bringing people together in _______.”


    “MLK asked African-Americans to ______ public transportation.”


    “MLK believed in non-violent ______.”


    “It takes a lot of ______ to stand up against a crowd.”


    “MLK did not want anybody to be _______ for being different.”


    “MLK was fighting for our _______.”


If you or a loved one are in need of speech therapy, give Christine Wilson‘s office a call today! She is currently accepting new clients, but hurry because spots fill fast.

Don’t Let Your Accent Hold You Back From Climbing the Corporate Ladder!!

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 11.43.04 AMA post from Christine Wilson MS CCC-SLP:

Accents are a beautiful thing.  It makes people unique and mysterious.  I love listening to someone with a foreign accent—as long as I can understand them!
We have all been in a situation before when we were talking to someone who had a strong accent.  Sometimes, that accent made it difficult to understand what the other person was saying.  If it was a social setting, it was a huge disaster.  Imagine if it had been at work.

If you have been speaking to someone lately and they had difficulty understanding you, you may have a strong accent.  This strong accent can interfere with your ability to hold meetings at work, give a sales pitch, or work effectively at a call center.

What is accent modification therapy?

Accent modification therapy begins with an assessment of your speech and articulation.  The first step is to identify which sounds you say incorrectly for English.  Next, a treatment program is established with your specific goals in mind.  The program usually takes 12-13 weeks with 2 visits per week at 30 minutes a session.

Does insurance cover the cost?

Unfortunately insurance never covers this cost. Accent Reduction is like plastic surgery, it is elective.  It is not medically necessary.  If you are electing to take accent modification therapy, it is private pay.


If you or a loved one are in need of accent modification contact Christine Wilson today! She is currently accepting new clients. Spots fill up fast, so don’t wait!

Hoarseness: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

angry man screaming isolated on gray background with copyspace

Abnormal changes in the voice are called “hoarseness.” When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or show changes in volume or pitch (depending on how high or low the voice is). Voice changes are related to disorders in the sound-producing parts (vocal folds) of the voice box (larynx). While breathing, the vocal folds remain apart. When speaking or singing, they come together and, as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds hinder vibration, altering voice quality, volume, and pitch.


Acute Laryngitis: The most common cause is acute laryngitis—swelling of the vocal folds that occurs during a common cold, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or from voice strain. Serious injury to the vocal folds can result from strenuous voice use during an episode of acute laryngitis.

Voice Misuse:

  • Speaking in noisy situations
  • Excessive use
  • Telephone use with the handset cradled to the shoulder
  • Using inappropriate pitch (too high or too low) when speaking
  • Not using amplification when public speaking

Benign Vocal Cord Lesions: Prolonged hoarseness can occur when you use your voice too much, or too loudly for extended periods of time. These habits can lead to nodules, polyps, and cysts. Vocal nodules (singers’ nodes) are callus-like growths of the vocal folds. Vocal fold polyps and cysts also occur in those who misuse their voice, but can also occur in those who do not.

Vocal Hemorrhage: If you experience a sudden loss of voice following a yell or other strenuous vocal use, you may have developed a vocal fold hemorrhage. Vocal fold hemorrhage occurs when one of the blood vessels on the surface of the vocal folds ruptures and the soft tissues fill with blood. It is considered a vocal emergency and should be treated with absolute voice rest and examination by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor).

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD): A possible cause of hoarseness is gastro-esophageal reflux, when stomach acid comes up the swallowing tube (esophagus) and irritates the vocal folds. Other typical symptoms of GERD include heartburn and regurgitation. Usually, the voice is worse in the morning and improves during the day. These people may have a sensation of a lump or mucus in their throat and have an excessive desire to clear it.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPRD): If the reflux makes it all the way up through the upper sphincter and into the back of the throat, it is called LPRD rather than GERD. The structures in the throat (pharynx, larynx, and lungs) are much more sensitive to stomach acid and digestive enzymes, so smaller amounts of the reflux into this area can result in more damage.  Many patients with LPRD do not have hearburn or other classic symptoms of GERD.

Smoking: Smoking is another cause of hoarseness. Because smoking is the major cause of throat cancer, if smokers become hoarse, they should see an otolaryngologist.

Neurological Diseases or Disorders: Hoarseness can also appear in those who have neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or a stroke, or may be a symptom of spasmodic dysphonia, a rare neurological disorder that usually affects only the voice, but sometimes affects breathing. A paralyzed vocal fold may be the cause of a weak, breathy voice. If the hoarseness persists for more than three months and other causes have been ruled out, a neurologist may be helpful for diagnosis.

Other Causes: These include allergies, thyroid problems, trauma to the voice box, and, occasionally, menstruation. Very serious conditions such as laryngeal cancer can also cause hoarseness, which is why it is important to have chronic hoarseness evaluated promptly by an otolaryngologist


Hoarseness caused by a cold or flu may be evaluated by family physicians, pediatricians, and internists who have learned how to examine the larynx. Problems with the voice are often best managed by a team of professionals who know and understand how the voice functions. These professionals are otolaryngologists, speech/language pathologists, and teachers of singing, acting, and public speaking. Vocal nodules, polyps, and cysts are typically treated with a combination of microsurgery and voice therapy.


Otolaryngologists will obtain a thorough history of a patient’s hoarseness and general health. They will then evaluate the voice and do a complete ear, nose, and throat exam. This includes examination of the vocal folds by laryngoscopy.  Laryngoscopy may be suggested by the otolaryngologist at any time during an evaluation for hoarseness, but if it persists beyond three weeks it should be evaluated and that evaluation should occur within a maximum of 3 months. The evaluation should be immediate if there is concern about a serious underlying cause is suspected.

Doctors usually look at the vocal folds either with a mirror placed in the back of the throat, or with a very small, lighted flexible tube (fiberoptic scope) that is passed through the nose to view the vocal folds. Videotaping or stroboscopy (slow-motion assessment) may also help with the analysis. These procedures are well tolerated by most patients. In some cases, special tests designed to evaluate the voice may be recommended. These measure voice irregularities, how the voice sounds, airflow, and other characteristics that are helpful in diagnosing and guiding treatment.

  • If hoarseness lasts longer than three weeks, especially if you smoke
  • If you do not have a cold or flu
  • If you are coughing up blood
  • If you have difficulty swallowing
  • If you feel a lump in the neck
  • If you observe loss or severe changes in voice lasting longer than a few days
  • If you experience pain when speaking or swallowing
  • If difficulty breathing accompanies your voice change
  • If your hoarseness interferes with your livelihood
  • If you are a vocal performer and unable to perform

The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. Many common causes of hoarseness can be treated simply by resting the voice or modifying how it is used. An otolaryngologist may make some recommendations about voice use behavior, refer the patient to other voice team members, and in some instances recommend surgery if a lesion, such as a polyp, is identified. Not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke is recommended to all patients. Drinking fluids and taking medications to thin out the mucus may help.


Specialists in speech/language pathology (speech therapists) are trained to assist patients in behavior modification to help eliminate some voice disorders. Patients who have developed bad habits, such as smoking or overusing their voice by yelling and screaming, benefit most from this conservative approach. The speech/language pathologist may teach patients to alter their methods of speech production to improve the sound of the voice and to resolve problems, such as vocal nodules. When a patient’s problem is specifically related to singing, a singing teacher may help to improve the patients’ singing techniques.

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Avoid agents that dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Stay hydrated—drink plenty of water.
  • Humidify your home.
  • Watch your diet—avoid spicy foods.
  • Try not to use your voice too long or too loudly.
  • Use a microphone if possible in situations where you need to project your voice.
  • Seek professional voice training.
  • Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse.


All of this and more can be found on the American Academy of Otolaryngology website! If you are experiencing hoarseness and believe you need treatment for any of those listed above, contact Christine Wilson today! She is currently accepting new patients.