Dyslexia Month

02e77433The month of October is National Dyslexia Awareness month. Do you or a loved one have Dyslexia? Do you know what Dyslexia exactly is? Check out this article from ASHA to learn more:

What is a language-based learning disability?

Language-based learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and/or writing. This disorder is not about how smart a person is. Most people diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence.

What are some signs or symptoms of a language-based learning disability?

Dyslexia has been used to refer to the specific learning problem of reading. The term language-based learning disability, or just learning disabilities, is better because of the relationship between spoken and written language. Many children with reading problems have spoken language problems.

The child with dyslexia has trouble almost exclusively with the written (or printed) word. The child who has dyslexia as part of a larger language learning disability has trouble with both the spoken and the written word. These problems may include difficulty with the following:

  • Expressing ideas clearly, as if the words needed are on the tip of the tongue but won’t come out. What the child says can be vague and difficult to understand (e.g., using unspecific vocabulary, such as “thing” or “stuff” to replace words that cannot be remembered). Filler words like “um” may be used to take up time while the child tries to remember a word.
  • Learning new vocabulary that the child hears (e.g., taught in lectures/lessons) and/or sees (e.g., in books)
  • Understanding questions and following directions that are heard and/or read
  • Recalling numbers in sequence (e.g., telephone numbers and addresses)
  • Understanding and retaining the details of a story’s plot or a classroom lecture
  • Reading and comprehending material
  • Learning words to songs and rhymes
  • Telling left from right, making it hard to read and write since both skills require this directionality
  • Letters and numbers
  • Learning the alphabet
  • Identifying the sounds that correspond to letters, making learning to read difficult
  • Mixing up the order of letters in words while writing
  • Mixing up the order of numbers that are a part of math calculations
  • Spelling
  • Memorizing the times tables
  • Telling time

How is a language-based learning disability diagnosed?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is part of a team consisting of the parents/caregivers and educational professionals (i.e., teacher(s), special educators, psychologist). The SLP will evaluate spoken (speaking and listening) and written (reading and writing) language for children who have been identified by their teachers and parents as having difficulty.

For preschool students, the SLP may do any or all of the following:

  • Gather information about literacy experiences in the home. For example, are there books and other types of reading material around the home? How frequently does the child see family members writing letters, notes, lists, etc.? How often do family members read stories to the child?
  • Observe the child during classroom activities.
  • Evaluate the child’s ability to understand verbal and written directions and to pay attention to written information on the blackboard, daily plans, etc.
  • Look for awareness of print.
  • See if the child recognizes familiar signs and logos.
  • Watch to see if a child holds a book correctly and turns the pages.
  • Determine if the child recognizes and/or writes name.
  • Evaluate whether the child demonstrates pretend writing (writing that resembles letters and numbers).
  • See if the child recognizes and/or writes letters.
  • Have the child tap or clap out the different syllables in words.
  • Evaluate if the child can tell whether two words rhyme or give a list of words that rhyme with a specified word.

For the older child, the SLP may also do any or all of the following:

  • Observe whether the child can read and understand information on handouts and in textbooks.
  • Assess the student’s ability to hear and “play with” sounds in words (phonological awareness skills).
  • Have the child put together syllables and sounds to make a word.
  • See if the child can break up a word into its syllables and/or sounds (e.g., “cat” has one syllable but three sounds c-a-t).
  • Assess the older child’s phonological memory by having him or her repeat strings of words, numbers, letters, and sounds of increasing length.

For all children, the SLP will also provide a complete language evaluation and also look at articulation and executive function.

Executive functioning is the ability to plan, organize, and attend to details (e.g., does he or she plan/organize his or her writing? Is he or she able to keep track of assignments and school materials?).

What treatments are available for people with a language-based learning disability?

The goals of speech and language treatment for the child with a reading problem target the specific aspects of reading and writing that the student is missing. For example, if the student is able to read words but is unable to understand the details of what has been read, comprehension is addressed. If a younger student has difficulty distinguishing the different sounds that make up words, treatment will focus on activities that support growth in this skill area (rhyming, tapping out syllables, etc.).

Individualized programs always relate to the school work. Therefore, materials for treatment are taken from or are directly related to content from classes (e.g., textbooks for reading activities, assigned papers for writing activities, practice of oral reports for English class). The student is taught to apply newly learned language strategies to classroom activities and assignments. To assist the child best, the SLP may work side-by-side with the child in his or her classroom(s).

Intervention with spoken language (speaking and listening) can also be designed to support the development of written language. For example, after listening to a story, the student may be asked to state and write answers to questions. He or she may be asked to give a verbal and then a written summary of the story.

Articulation (pronunciation) needs are also treated in a way that supports written language. For example, if the child is practicing saying words to improve pronunciation of a certain sound, he or she may be asked to read these words from a printed list.

The SLP consults and collaborates with teachers to develop the use of strategies and techniques in the classroom. For example, the SLP may help the teacher modify how new material is presented in lessons to accommodate the child’s comprehension needs. The SLP may also demonstrate what planning strategies the student uses to organize and focus written assignments.

What other organizations have information about a language-based learning disabilities?

This list is not exhaustive, and inclusion does not imply endorsement of the organization or the content of the Web site by ASHA.

What causes a language-based learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities are caused by a difference in brain structure that is present at birth, is often hereditary, and is often related to specific language problems.

Legislation and Advocacy article on language-based learning disabilities

How effective are treatments for language-based learning disabilities?

The SLP consults with both educators and parents to teach and model language activities that promote success. He or she may:

  • Explain the importance of joint book reading and provide demonstration lessons. For example, the SLP may illustrate how to improve students vocabulary skills by having children name items in story pictures and describe the action(s) in these pictures.
  • Model how to sharpen comprehension skills by asking questions related to a story plot and having the child predict what may happen next in the story.
  • Have the child retell a story in his or her own words or act out the story.
  • Teach how to increase the child’s awareness of print in his or her environment (e.g., recognition of frequently encountered signs and logos) and the conventions of print (e.g., how to hold a book or how reading and writing are done from left to right).
  • Demonstrate strategies to teach letters and their corresponding sounds.
  • Show ways that teachers and parents can model literacy activities (e.g., by reading newspapers and magazines, by writing notes and letters, or by making writing materials available for everybody’s use).

Learning problems should be addressed as early as possible. Many children with learning disabilities that are treated later, when language demands are greater, experience lowered self-esteem due to their previous academic frustrations and failures. Learning problems that go untreated can lead to a significant decrease in confidence, school phobia (i.e., not wanting to go to school, not wanting to do homework), and depression.

What does a speech-language pathologist do when working with individuals with a language-based learning disability?

ASHA has developed the following documents that outline the role of the SLP in working with children with learning disabilities and reading and writing problems:

Available Therapy Times!


Christine Wilson Speech Language Pathology is currently accepting new clients! If you or a loved one is looking for speech therapy, look no further. Spots are on a first come first serve basis. To reserve yours, call the office today to speak with Paige about setting up an appointment!

Here are therapy spots that the office has consistently available:

  • Tuesday’s at 9am
  • Thursday’s at 10:30am
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 11am
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 11:30am
  • Friday at 11:30am
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 1:30pm
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 2:30pm

You can reach the office by phone at 813.279.2737 or by email at wilsontac@tampabay.rr.com. You can also click on the link to visit our website!

We look forward to hearing from you 🙂


Located at:

5383 Primrose Lake Cir Dr Ste B

Tampa, FL, 33647

Ways to Use Play Food in Speech

Post brought to you by The Speech Bubble SLP:


1. Sequencing: Have students tell you ( or another student ) the steps to make one of the items, then have the students or yourself follow them.

2. Following Directions: Give the students steps to put together or arrange the foods.

3. Describing: You can use the EET ( Expanding Expressions Tool ) if you have it, if not, no biggie. Have students describe the ingredients of the foods and/or the foods themselves.

4. Comparing/Contrasting: Have students compare and contrast the different foods. I love doing this when I have the items on hand!

5. Syntax/Written Expression: Students can work on sentence structure as they tell you which one is their favorite, what they like, what they don’t like, how the make their at home, etc.

6. Requesting: These are basic food items and should have images on most AAC programs. You can program these into a student’s device and have them ask for each item or a specific food.

Have a tasty time!

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month!

dyslexia-awareness-monthDyslexia is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. Dyslexics think in pictures, struggle with language and may even struggle with sequencing. Listed below are a few activities you can do at home to help your child improve their learning skills and gain confidence.

Activities for Children with Dyslexia

Clay models for non-picture words – Dyslexic kids are visual learners and need images to connect to the words they are reading. Using Play dough or modeling clay to form letters, words, correct reversals in numbers and in letters can provide the visual tactile connection they need.

Write note cards – Again, as visual and tactile students, note cards provide them something to look at while also giving them something to hold. Making and reading note cards aloud, helps cement the learning, while engaging employs their motor and auditory skills.

Make sand trays – Sand trays are simply tray-like containers that contain sand, beans or shaving cream. Like clay models, sand trays allow children to spell words or draw pictures in the sand, engaging their tactile and visual skills.

Audio books – Recorded stories are great for children who may struggle to read the words in a book. While they continue to develop their reading skills, they can enjoy reading while listening. Read and record a favorite book that they can follow along with, rent from the library or download some family favorites.

Hands-On Museum Visits – While we want all children to develop strong literacy skills, not all learning comes from the written word. Hands-on museums provide hands-on learning experiences and interactive activities that visual children thrive on.

iPad Apps: Along with hands-on activities, there are some iPad Apps that help children improve their reading abilities. These are two, of many, that work well for children with dyslexia:

Prizmo: When children struggle with reading it can affect all of their homework assignments. This app can help them keep up. Prizmo allows users to scan any type of text document and the program reads it back aloud.

The Writing Machine: Because dyslexic kids are highly visual, connecting images with words is highly beneficial. The Writing Machine App helps children develop literacy skills by correlating pictures and words, reading text and sounding out letters.

If you have any questions or concerns contact Speech-Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson.

What are Developmental Domains?

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What are Developmental Domains?

by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.

From the moment of birth, children begin exploring their new world by touching, smelling, tasting, listening, observing, and playing. Through this constant exploration, they are rapidly developing the “domains” of their physical and mental abilities. The simplest of activities at every age level promotes stimulation and growth in their cognitive, social, language, and physical (fine and gross motor) skills. These four domains develop all at the same time.

Cognitive Development is learning and processing of information – our thinking and knowing. Cognition involves language, imagination, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and memory. Our cognitive skills help us organize what we know and generalize that knowledge into other areas. School teachers understand how children learn and process information; therefore, they can recognize a breakdown in cognition. When a red flag appears, teachers may refer a child for an evaluation to pinpoint the breakdown – and the sooner, the better. This child may have a learning disability or some other deficit that needs attention. Help your child develop cognitive skills from an early age by having him/her work with puzzles, blocks, peg games, card games, patterns, and cause and effect activities.

Language Development is learning to express ourselves in order to communicate with others. We learn to express ourselves by learning sounds, combining those sounds into meaningful words, and putting words together into sentences to communicate our thoughts. Then we are able to interpret sounds from others. Talking to our children before they can talk, engaging children in conversation (even when they are just beginning to talk), and exposing children to books and reading to them are instrumental in developing later literacy and language skills. Reading, talking, and singing to children from birth, and providing books and language videos or DVDs for them when they are older will help children develop important language skills.

Social Development is learning to like ourselves and to get along with others. Being in an active environment teaches us to share, take turns, accept the differences in others, include others in play/ conversation, and the list goes on. Just by watching others interact, children learn valuable social skills. That is why the examples we set and the behaviors we display are important. Children are always watching and copying what they see others do.

Unfortunately, some children may develop serious emotional or personality problems at some point. These problems include symptoms of extreme anxiety, withdrawal, and fearfulness; or, on the other hand, disobedience, aggression, and destruction of property. If parents suspect their child’s social development is not going well (compared to his/her peers), discuss your observations with your family doctor or school counselor. From an early age, having your child interact with other children and adults as much as possible is the best way to help him/her develop socially. Playing games, having conversations in the car or at the dinner table, playing with friends, having parties, going out to eat, etc. are all invaluable ways to foster social development.

Physical Development falls into two categories – fine motor and gross motor skills. Fine Motor skills are activities occurring with the fingers in coordination with the eyes, such as reaching, grasping, releasing, and turning the wrist. These small muscle movements don’t develop overnight, but with time and practice. Fine motor skills help us perform tasks for daily living, such as dressing, eating, toileting and washing. In the early childhood years, children become independent and learn to dress and undress themselves without assistance; use utensils for eating; and pour liquid without assistance.

 The fingers learn to move in harmony and become strong enough to fasten buttons and snaps; and movement in the wrists helps take care of toileting.

Activities to promote fine motor control include: putting together puzzles with small pieces, peg board games, painting, drawing, cutting, stringing and lacing activities, construction and building sets like Legos®, Lincoln Logs®, buttons, snaps, and tying.

Gross Motor Development involves the larger muscles in the arms, legs, and torso. Gross motor activities include walking, running, throwing, lifting, kicking, etc. These skills relate to body awareness, reaction speed, balance, and strength. Gross motor development allows your child to move and control his/her body in different ways. It promotes your child’s confidence and self-esteem and allows the body to perform multiple demands beyond simple muscle movements.

At home or in the classroom environment, have children practice: walking on their toes or heels; walking with toes pointed in or out; walking or moving like a certain animal (crab, worm, bear, bunny, frog, elephant, gorilla, kangaroo, etc.); playing kickball, tetherball, volleyball, basketball, or skating; swinging, sliding, climbing on monkey bars, or playing on a tire swing; balancing while walking along a curb; walking forward, backward, sideways, and heel-to-toe; walking while balancing a book on the head; jumping, hopping, crawling, rolling, doing jumping jacks, and jumping over obstacles. Participating in sports groups help develop gross motor skills as well as cognition, as many sports require thinking and planning where and what their body needs to do next.


If you think your child is experiencing developmental delays contact Christine Wilson today!

Guidelines for the Development of Self-Feeding Skills

03c42530Guidelines for the Development of Self-Feeding Skills


Self-care skills are the basic tasks we perform every day. Self-care skills are also known as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). The self-care skills children learn early on are self-feeding, dressing, bathing, and grooming. This handout will give a basic guideline for the development of self-feeding skills.

Self-feeding provides a fun and easy way for a child to explore different sensory experiences and feels. This is a great opportunity for the child to play with and feel crumbly, rough, wet, squishy, spongy, and slippery textures. Foods also provide different sounds, smells, and tastes. Self-feeding can be messy, but being allowed to be messy will help a child gain confidence, become comfortable with different textures, and develop strength and coordination in the hands and fingers.

In addition, using forks, spoons, and cups are some of the earliest opportunities for a child to learn how to use tools. Learning to use tools is important as the child grows and starts to draw with crayons, write with pencils, and cut with scissors.

A child who is practicing and learning self-feeding skills is also improving:

  • Strength in his/her back, arms, and hands.
  • Using both arms and hands together.
  • Coordination in his/her arms and hands.
  • Eye-hand coordination.

Drinking from a Bottle/Cup



2 to 4 months

Moves hand/hands up to the bottle/breast while feeding

6 to 9 months

Holds a bottle with both hands Uses a cup with help

12 to 15 months

Holds a cup with both hands Takes a few sips without help

15 to 18 months

Uses a straw

2 to 3 years

Drinks from a cup (no lid) without spilling




6 to 9 months

Wants to help with feeding
Starts holding and mouthing large crackers/cookies
Plays with spoon; grabs/bangs spoon; puts both ends in mouth

9 to 13 months

Finger feeds soft foods and foods that melt quickly Enjoys finger feeding

12 to 14 months

Dips spoon in food
Moves spoon to mouth but is messy and spills

15 to 18 months

Scoops food with a spoon and feeds self

18 to 24 months

Wants to feed himself/herself

2 to 3 years

Stabs food with fork
Uses spoon without spilling

3 to 5 years

Eats by himself/herself

Children with impaired motor skills and/or developmental disabilities may have a harder time learning these skills. Let the child’s abilities guide the speed they acquire self-feeding skills and gradually progress from the simpler skills to more complex ones.


Imitation and play can also help children develop self-feeding skills. Include the following games/activities into your child’s day to help your child learn to feed himself/herself.

  • Scoop and pour water in the bathtub using stacking or measuring cups.
  • Use a spoon to scoop marshmallows.
  • Use scoops and shovels in a sandbox.
  • Put small objects through holes into containers.
  • Play with play dough—scooping, stabbing, cutting, and pinching pieces.
  • Pretend to feed a baby doll.
  • Have imaginary tea parties, picnics, or meals

© 2008 Super Duper® Publications • http://www.superduperinc.com

Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson specializes in Pediatric Feeding/Swallowing/Oral Motor Impairments.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an evaluation today, contact Christine Wilson Speech Language Pathology.