DC Phone: 202-544-5439 VA Phone: 703-243-4601
Fax: 202-379-1797 Email: info@skillsonthehill.com

Welcome to our September 2018 Newsletter! 

Schools are finally open. Children are sent off to school once again. Teachers, students, and families, both old and new, develop new goals, expectations, and strategies to make learning experiences fun, exciting, and meaningful.

This month, we will resume with our series about vision, its effect on learning, and the advantages of vision therapy. Functional vision is an integral part of performing daily functions such as reading, writing, and performing physical tasks. It is imperative that families, teachers, and caregivers be on the lookout for any signs of visual problems, even at the youngest age of a child.

Finally, we will feature some useful tools for children that have problems with handwriting. We know that many parents feel anxious about their child's readiness for school and learning. Some of the techniques mentioned here can support development of your child's fine motor skills, writing skills, and boost over all confidence.

We appreciate any feedback, comments, or suggestions from you regarding this newsletter. Send us a note!

Enjoy reading!


Kristen Masci and the SOTH Staff

Newsletter September 2018 Issue
"How Visual Function Impacts Learning, Behavior & Activities of Daily Living"
(PART three)
( Credits to Dr. Mehrnaz Green, OD, FCOVD )

  • Poor eye contact
  • Side viewing
  • Peripheral glancing
  • Reduced visual attention
  • Watching spinning objects
  • Eyeballing things (getting really close to objects)
  • Watching things repetitively
  • Inability to listen and look simultaneously
  • Stiff-legged walk
  • Poking at the sides of the eyes
  • Closing or covering one eye
  • Unable to catch or throw a ball
  • Toe walking
  • Odd neck and body postures
  • Disruptive uncooperative
  • Eye contact avoidance
  • Blackboard visual avoidance
  • Poor and uneven handwriting
  • Inability to listen and look simultaneously
Neurologists on Vision,
While not all children or adults with dyslexia have visual processing problems, many (at least two thirds in some studies) do.

This makes sense from a neurological standpoint, because several of the structural neurological features associated with dyslexia appear to predispose visual difficulties.
- Brock Eide, MD, MA
Fernette Eide, MD


Treatment requires creative optical and sensory treatment modalities including:
  • Lenses
  • Prisms
  • filters
  • visual aids
  • lifestyle modification
  • vision therapy

  • Glasses sometimes can help
  • Vision Therapy can make all the difference


  • It has been around for over 80 years
  • It is considered an optometric specialty
  • presented at an appropriate developmental level
  • presented in a way that is meaningful and interesting to the patient
  • tailored to meet the child's unique needs and individual differences
Lens Use in Vision Therapy

When there is a conflict between what a person sees and what the tactile / proprioceptive senses convey, visual function determines the function.
Lens Use in Vision Therapy

Leads to the development of a controlled, self-directed visual attention

Helps to develop visual inspection, prediction, and analysis to visually direct dynamic action
OPHTHALMOLOGY & Vision Therapy

The EYECARE Revolution by Robert Abel, MD

"It can change people's lives, as it has for President Lyndon Baines Johnson's daughter, Lucy, whose dyslexia was helped greatly by vision therapy."
Starting a Conversation with your OT
"How can I help my child with handwriting issues ? "
A child's handwriting issues concern many parents and educators. Some studies actually implicate a child's writing abilities and quality of print to future performance and student's success. Thankfully, there are several tools and resources that can be used to address this common issue. Below are some of the materials and techniques you can implement to help your child develop a good handwriting skills in school and at home. (Note that most of these approaches are utilized and/or integrated in occupational therapy too. Please consult your child's therapist about appropriate use, if necessary).

Credits to: understood.org

A pencil grip fits over the pencil to position the thumb, index and middle finger correctly. Grasping the pencil properly lets your child write more efficiently and more quickly without the hand muscles getting so tired. There are many types of pencil grips, so it’s important to know what your child’s specific needs are. If he/she wraps the thumb around the index finger, for instance, there’s one with built-in guards. The guards may make it easier for the fingers to remain in the correct position.

You can find pencil grips at office supply stores, but they may not provide enough finger support for kids with dysgraphia. To find the right pencil grip for your child, you may need to look in online catalogs aimed at occupational therapists.

Writing on a slanted surface allows your child’s wrist to extend while the fingers flex and naturally fall into a better writing position. Instead of using a slant board, your child can use a three-inch three-ring binder turned sideways. A rubber band can keep papers from slipping off.

This paper has a rough surface along the lines to provide tactile cues that can help your child stay within the lines. The physical “bump” gives the child sensory information on how big to make the letters.

The lower half of the writing area (below the dotted line) is highlighted, indicating how high the lowercase letters should go. This can help kids learn how to form letters of the correct size. You can order the paper from a catalog in a variety of colors. Or you can make your own with a highlighter.

A graphic organizer  is a visual way of breaking writing projects down into smaller steps. It lets your child note key details for almost any kind of writing assignment without worrying about paragraphs, topic sentences or transitions. As he/she brainstorms, he/she can jot down ideas in the visual framework. Then, when going to write, there will be a starting point.
Graphic organizers come in many types. They can look like a Venn diagram, a flow chart or an ice cream cone (for younger kids). You can find many free templates online.

This writing program gives explicit instruction on how to form letters using  multi-sensory strategies . Letters are grouped by similar strokes using top-to-bottom, left-to-right sequencing. For example, kids learn the six “magic c” letters (c, a, d, g, q, o) as a group. That way they get lots of practice doing the same beginning movement, which builds  muscle memory .

This iPad app for beginning writers comes from Handwriting Without Tears. Kids use their fingers to practice forming letters and numbers on the screen. When your child is ready, she can switch to using a stylus.
With  Wet-Dry-Try  your child can use a virtual slate chalkboard for writing capital and lowercase letters and numbers. The app also has personalized audio coaching. An Android version of the app is currently in development.

There are a number of free iPad apps that let kids complete paper worksheets on a tablet. Two examples are PaperPort Notes and SnapType (developed by an occupational therapist). Here’s how these apps work: Your child takes a photo of his/her worksheet and then taps on the screen where he/she wants to add text and types in the answers. If the worksheet is multiple choice or fill-in-the blank, he/she can use her finger to write in words or circle the answer. When finished, the photo of the worksheet can be printed out.
Android users can try Samsung Galaxy Note5, which allows you to do similar things. You can upload an image of a worksheet from your camera roll and then, using a text box, write on it with your finger or a stylus.
SOTH Community
"Sensory socks for SALE!"
*10 pack of socks for young kids (age 5 & above)

*Brand: Fun and Function

*Price: $24.99

Please check the link below to view the product details. 

(Please email us if you are interested.)
Check out the announcement page in Washington Family Magazine HERE !
Skills on the Hill won
Leslie W. Humes, MS, CCC-SLP
Capitol Kids Therapy
Founder & Director
Leslie W Humes, MS, CCC-SLP graduated in 1999 with a Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence issued by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association as well as the DC State License as issued by the DC DOH Board of Audiology/Speech-Language Pathology. 

Leslie has worked in the public schools and DC public charter schools providing therapy for children with special education services. Leslie has also worked with private clients in both the home, school and daycare settings. She is PROMPT trained, specializes in oral-motor/feeding therapy and embraces a play-based approach. Leslie has experience working with children from birth through pre-teen who exhibit delays in speech and language development, dyspraxia, feeding disorders, autism spectrum disorder, phonemic awareness/reading problems and stuttering disorders. 

As the practice owner of Capitol Kids Therapy, Leslie mentors the staff and enjoys being a resource for both parents, teachers, and colleagues. She conducts evaluations, observations, consultations and embraces the opportunity to substitute for staff members as needed. She is a former resident of Capitol Hill and started Capitol Kids Therapy, LLC from her home near Lincoln Park. She enjoys an active lifestyle with her husband and two young boys in nearby Arlington. In her free time she enjoys running, volunteering at her children's schools, connecting with friends and planning fun excursions with her family.
Leslie founded the Capitol Kids Therapy practice in 2000. Their staff consists of nationally certified pediatric speech language pathologists who have met the guidelines of our governing board, The American Speech Language and Hearing Association. Each therapist also holds a (Washington) DC Speech-Language Pathology license issued by the Speech-Language and Hearing of the DC Department of Health. 
At Capitol Kids Therapy, meeting the national standard is a minimum as we strive to provide the cutting edge in evaluation and treatment strategies. Our staff has received training in PROMPT (www.promptinstitute.com), Lindamood Bell programs, oral motor strengthening (Debra Beckman and Sara Rosenfeld Johnson), auditory processing, apraxia (Pamela Marshalla), oral-motor/sensory feeding programs (Lori Overland, Sequential Oral Sensory and Food Chaining) and sensory integration techniques to maximize attention and regulation for language learning development. 
As the director of Capitol Kids Therapy, I feel it is important to serve the Hill community and its educators in addressing the needs of our children as soon as possible. Over the years Capitol Kids Therapy has provided teacher and parent workshops to help caregivers recognize the early signs of speech and language delays. Our relationship with the community and our family friendly approach has made it possible for many children to receive top quality services at home, in school and at the clinic without leaving the Hill.

-Leslie W. Humes

* Please arrive on time for scheduled sessions. Contact the therapist or the office ahead of time should there be any changes.

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Thank you parents and families! We appreciate your support.

Kristen Masci 
(202) 544 5439 / (703) 243 4601
Capitol Hill Office
405 8th St, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Arlington Office
3508 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22207