Summer Speech Activities!

Poolside Speech Therapy

Marco Polo

Adapt this popular pool game to suit your child’s speech therapy needs. Rather than shouting “Marco” and “Polo,” you could have your child work on his prepositions, for example. Instruct your child to give directions instead of saying “Polo.” He could say “I am next to the ladder,” “I am beside the diving board,” or “I am right outside the shallow end.” Not only does this reinforce your child’s use of prepositions, it also gives him practice speaking in complete sentences.

Water Tag

Play water tag with your child. Each time he is tagged or each time he tags you, have him say one of his target words. If he has trouble remembering which words he is supposed to say, line up objects next to the pool to remind him, if possible. For example, if he is working on the “ch” sound you could point to the pool chair. If he is working on the “p” sound you could place a cup and a picnic basket next to the pool.

I Spy

Use the same strategy for a game of I Spy. Point to objects around the pool and say, “I spy with my little eye a….” Scatter objects around the pool that will encourage him to work on specific sounds. For example, for the “n” and “o” sounds you could place a couple of pool noodles in the water and for the “k” and “d” sounds you could add a rubber ducky.

Pretend Play

Pretend play is often an effective way of encouraging vocalization. Use pretend play in the pool by playing pirates with your child. Use pirate-related words to encourage articulation practice, like “Ahoy, matey!” “Prepare to be boarded,” “Walk the plank,” and “Arrrr!” Make up silly stories about the pirates with your child to encourage narration skills and sentence structure. If he has trouble getting started, give him a prompt. For example, say, “I’m Lily the Fearsome from the Caribbean and my ship is called the White Star. What is your ship called?”

Word Fishing

Go word fishing with your child in the pool. Laminate a few flashcards with words that you would like your child to work on. Glue a magnet on the back of each card. Attach a string to a dowel with a magnet on the end of the string. Have your child fish for the flashcards. As he catches each flashcard, have him say the word. This game might only work well in shallow, plastic kiddie pools. Otherwise, you could place the flashcards in a basket and have your child fish for them by the side of the pool.

Home Programming

Speech-language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, requires her patients to practice home programming, on top of attending speech therapy sessions weekly. We see the most progress in the patient’s who come to speech therapy at least twice a week and those who practice home programming. A home program does not need to be a major time commitment on the parents part, but it IS important. Try to practice with your child for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Even five or ten minutes every day will benefit your child. We work as a team at Christine Wilson’s Speech Clinic! Practicing language skills at home will bring your child closer to their speech goal/s!

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

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation


What are the grants?

UHCCF grants provide financial help/assistance for families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health insurance plan. The Foundation aims to fill the gap between what medical services/items a child needs and what their commercial health benefit plan will pay for. UHCCF applicants do not need to be a UHC member in order to apply for this grant.

What is the criteria to apply for a grant?

Applications must meet certain criteria to be considered for a grant. Please review the application criteria carefully before applying. The criteria can be found by clicking here.

How does the grant work?

If a grant is approved by the Regional Board of Directors for a child, the grant will help pay for approved medical services/items after the family’s commercial health insurance plan submits payment, if any. Grant funds are not paid to the family or the child outright. Grant families must work with the Foundation on submitting invoices/bills for approved medical services/items after their commercial health insurance plan submits initial payment (if any) to the health care provider (see graphic below).

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

We Help People Communicate: What is your Super Power?

Better Hearing & Speech Month

Posted by Emily K. Hulse

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a time to raise awareness about communication disorders and available treatment options that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems speaking, understanding, or hearing.

Speech and Language Quick Facts:


  • 40 million Americans have communication disorders
  • By the first grade, roughly 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders
  • 3 million+ Americans stutter
  • 6–8 million Americans have some form of language impairment
  • Approximately 1 million Americans suffer from aphasia
  • Teachers are the most at risk group for voice disorders
  • Autism affects approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States

If you would like to schedule a Speech and Language evaluation, call 813-279-2737 or


Tips for Parents: Reading with your child

Reading Together: Tips for Parents of Children with Speech and Language Problems

By: Reach Out and Read
 Children with speech and language problems may have trouble sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. They may also have a hard time saying words clearly and understanding spoken or written language. Reading to your child and having him/her name objects in a book or read aloud to you can strengthen their speech and language skills.

Infants and toddlers

Helping your child love books

You’ll find sharing books together is a great way to bond with your son or daughter and help your child’s development at the same time. Give your child a great gift that will last for life — the love of books.

Children with speech and language problems may have trouble sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. They may also have a hard time saying words clearly and understanding spoken or written language. Reading to your child and having them name objects in a book or read aloud to you, can strengthen speech and language skills.

Tips for reading with your infant or toddler

Each time you read to your child, you are helping their brain to develop. So read to your child every day. Choose books that you think your child will enjoy and will be fun for you to read.

Since younger children have short attention spans, try reading for a few minutes at a time at first. Then build up the time you read together. Your child will soon see reading time as fun time!

Here are some things you can try:

  • Read the same story again and again. The repetition will help her learn language.
  • Choose books with rhymes or songs. Clap along to the rhythm and help your child clap along. As your child develops, ask her to fill in words. (“Twinkle twinkle little star. How I wonder what you ____.”)
  • Point to pictures and talk about them. (“Look at the silly monkey!”) You can also ask your child to point to certain pictures. (“Where’s the cat?”)
  • Talk about events in your child’s life that relate to the story. (“That bear has blue pajamas just like you do!”)
  • Ask your child questions about the story.

Suggested books for your infant or toddler

  • My Very First Mother Goose or Dr. Seuss books with their rhyming stories
  • Each Peach Pear Plum, by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr.

Preschool and School-age Children

Helping your preschooler or school-age child love books

When you read to your child often and combine reading time with cuddle and play time, your child will link books with fun times together. So continue to read to your child every day. Choose books that are on your child’s language level and that your child likes.

Here are some things you can try:

  • Discuss the story with your child. (“Why do you think the monkey stole the key?”)
  • Help your child become aware of letter sounds. (While pointing to a picture of a snake, ask: “What sound does a snake make?”) As your child develops, ask more complex questions. (While pointing to a picture of a ball, ask: “What sound does ‘ball’ start with?”)
  • Play sound games with your child. List words that rhyme (“ball,” “tall”) or start with the same sound (“mommy,” “mix”).

Suggested books for your preschooler or school-age child

Funny or silly books are a good choice for this age group. Some titles include:

  • Does a Chimp Wear Clothes?, by Fred Ehrlich, M.D.
  • Hippos Go Beserk!, by Sandra Boynton
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, by Dr. Seuss

Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, offers a reading camp all year round! If you are interested in enrolling your child today, click here!

Tips for Home Programming: Games & Activities for Articulation Cards

Games & Activities for Articulation Cards

  • HIDE & SEEK: Parent hides the cards and the child finds them, says them each using good sounds.
  • MYSTERY PICK: Parent chooses a winning card, places the card back in the deck, shuffles and fans the cards out. Children take turns selecting cards, saying the word on the card. The one who picks the winning card gets a sticker!
  • BEAN BAG TOSS: Place the cards in a row on the floor. Select a winning card. Have child stand a few feet back and try to toss the bag on the winning card. The child must say the word on the card that the bag lands on.
  • FISHING FOR WORDS OR NUMBERS: You can do this two ways. Either use a fishing pole with a magnet to pick up cards with paper clips attached, or use the pole to pick up fish with numbers on them. The number indicates how many words they have to say.
  • RACE FOR CANDIES: Turn artic cards upside down in 1 row per player. The children have to turn over a card, say the word correctly and move to the next card. If they misarticulate they have to stop and repeat the word until they get it right. At the end of the rows of cards is a prize, such as candy or a sticker.
  • GUESS WHAT!: Cover an artic card with a plain index card and slowly unveil it. The child has to guess (and correctly articulate the word) before the picture is totally revealed.
  • PICK 2: The child selects 2 cards from the deck at random and has to put both in 1 sentence that makes sense and with correct articulation.
  • ARTICU-BOWL: Attach cards to bowling pins and have the child bowl over the pins. As s/he picks the pins up, s/he must correctly articulate each word attached to the pins.
  • MEMORY LINE-UP: Place 3, 4, 5 cards in a row, have the child say the words, then close his/her eyes while you switch the order. S/he must put them back in order and say them again.
  • ARTIC AIM: Use a gun that shoots spinners (plastic ones are about a dollar at major discount stores) to try and hit a card. The child has to correctly articulate the one s/he is aiming for and then hits.
  • TWISTER ARTIC: Toss several artic cards in the air. Instruct the child to place as many body parts (elbows, hands, fingers, nose, etc) on as many cards as s/he can. S/he must say each one that s/he touches.
  • PICTURE GUESS: Two teams take turns selecting a card from the deck and then drawing the picture. The other team must try to guess what the target word is and correctly articulate it.
  • PSYCHIC ARTIC: Show children 2 or 3 cards, shuffle these and pass them out. They each must each take turns trying to guess which card you or the other players have. (this can be a good language-naming game too)

Other Games & Activities for Articulation 

  • PASS A BALL:Take turns rolling a ball back and forth, each person has to think of a new target word and articulate that correctly.
  • BALLOON BOUNCE: Bounce a balloon and try to keep it in the air. Each time the client hits the balloon s/he has to articulate the target sound or word correctly.

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

Reading Milestones: Are you interested in Summer Reading Camp for Your Child?

Reading Milestones (Ages 1-13)

Posted by Emily K. Hulse

This is a general outline of the milestones on the road to reading success! Keep in mind that kids develop at different paces and spend varying amounts of time at each stage. If you have concerns, check out Christine Wilson’s Reading Clinic! Reading services are offered all year round. Speech Language Pathologists, Christine Wilson and Mary Lisa Laches are looking forward to our Summer Reading Camp this year. Early intervention is key in helping kids who are struggling to read. Parents and teachers can find appropriate resources for children as early as pre-kindergarten. Quality childcare centers, pre-kindergarten programs, and homes full of language and bookreading can build an environment for reading milestones to happen. Check out our Reading Clinic by clicking on the link below:

 Infancy (Up to Age 1)

Kids usually begin to:

  • imitate sounds they hear in language
  • respond when spoken to
  • look at pictures
  • reach for books and turn the pages with help
  • respond to stories and pictures by vocalizing and patting thepictures

Toddlers (Ages 1-3)

Kids usually begin to:

  • answer questions about and identify objects in books – such as”Where’s the cow?” or “What does the cow say?”
  • name familiar pictures
  • use pointing to identify named objects
  • pretend to read books
  • finish sentences in books they know well
  • scribble on paper
  • know names of books and identify them by the picture on thecover
  • turn pages of board books
  • have a favorite book and request it to be read often

Early Preschool (Age 3)

Kids usually begin to:

  • explore books independently
  • listen to longer books that are read aloud
  • retell a familiar story
  • recite the alphabet
  • begin to sing the alphabet song with prompting and cues
  • make continuous symbols that resemble writing
  • imitate the action of reading a book aloud

Late Preschool (Age 4)

Kids usually begin to:

  • recognize familiar signs and labels, especially on signs and containers
  • make up rhymes or silly phrases
  • recognize and write some of the letters of the alphabet (a goodgoal to strive for is 12-15 letters)
  • read and write their names
  • name beginning letters or sounds of words
  • match some letters to their sounds
  • use familiar letters to try writing words
  • understand that print is read from left to right, top to bottom
  • retell stories that have been read to them

Kindergarten (Age 5)

Kids usually begin to:

  • recognize and produce words that rhyme
  • match some spoken and written words
  • write some letters, numbers, and words
  • recognize some familiar words
  • predict what will happen next in a story
  • identify initial, final, and medial (middle) sounds in short words (for example, sit, sun)
  • decode simple words in isolation (the word with definition) and in context (using the word in a sentence)
  • retell the main idea, identify details (who, what, when, where, why, how), and arrange story events in sequence

First and Second Grade (Ages 6-7)

Kids usually begin to:

  • read familiar stories
  • sound out or decode unfamiliar words
  • use pictures and context to figure out unfamiliar words
  • use some common punctuation and capitalization in writing
  • self-correct when they make a mistake while reading aloud
  • show comprehension of a story through drawings
  • write by organizing details into a logical sequence with a beginning, middle, and end

Second and Third Grade (Ages 7-8)

Kids usually begin to:

  • read longer books independently
  • read aloud with proper emphasis and expression
  • use context and pictures to help identify unfamiliar words
  • understand the concept of paragraphs and begin to apply it in writing
  • correctly use punctuation
  • correctly spell many words
  • write notes, like phone messages and email
  • enjoy games like word searches
  • use new words, phrases, or figures of speech that they’ve heard
  • revise their own writing to create and illustrate stories

Fourth Through Eighth Grade (Ages 9-13)

Kids usually begin to:

  • explore and understand different kinds of texts, like biographies, poetry, and fiction
  • understand and explore expository, narrative, and persuasive text
  • read to extract specific information, such as from a science book
  • identify parts of speech and devices like similes and metaphors
  • correctly identify major elements of stories, like time, place, plot, problem, and resolution
  • read and write on a specific topic for fun, and understand what style is needed
  • analyze texts for meaning


If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule an evaluation today,

contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson!

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.