weekly header

July 22, 2011
Issue 23, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Please enjoy our weekly issue with this week's news items, some tips and resources for you and our guest blogs of the week.   Special thanks goes this week to Massage Today magazine for letting us reprint their article on Pediatric Massage in our Pediatric Therapy Corner column. 
News Items: 
  • Clue to Kids' Early Aging Disease Found
  • Secondhand Smoke Tied to Kids' Behavior Problems
  • Robotic Rehab - How a Determined 7 - Year Old Has Become Stronger than Ever  
  • Components Of Speech Recognition Pathway In Humans Identified By Researchers  
  • Anthem, Blue Shield to Cover Therapy for Children with Autism  
  • Even Before Language, Babies Learn the World Through Sounds  
  • Study: Late Talkers Do Fine as They Grow Up AND a Caveat/Warning 
  • Oxytocin for Autism in the News  
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Software Product Review:  Adventure Pack for Articulation 
  • 50 Fine Motor Activities for Older Children 
  • ASHA Evidence Maps

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: So What's the Difference Between Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury and Stroke? 
  • Guest Blog: By Hand 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Pediatric Massage -  A Nurturing Intervention for Autism  
  • Worth Repeating: Summer Tips for Kiddos with Sensory Processing Challenges  
  • Also Worth Repeating: Asynchronous Development and Sensory Integration Intervention in the Gifted and Talented Population                                                        
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Progeria in the News:  Clue to Kids' Early Aging Disease Found

[Source: CNN]


Her name was Meg, 23, featherweight and feisty.  Standing 3 feet tall, Meg didn't look like her peers. Bald and skinny, her body was aging rapidly because she had a rare genetic disease called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.


People with progeria wrinkle and develop the same circulation and joint ailments as the elderly - except most of them die by age 13.   Progeria affects 200-250 children worldwide, but research into the disease could offer clues on cellular function and how it affects human aging and other age-related diseases.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog

ADHD in the News:  Secondhand Smoke Tied to Kids' Behavior Problems
[Source: Reuters/MSNBC.com]

Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home may be more likely than their peers to have learning and behavioral problems, according to a new study.

Researchers found that of more than 55,000 U.S. children younger than 12 years, six percent lived with a smoker. And those kids were more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or "conduct disorder" than children in smoke-free homes.

Even after accounting for a number of possible explanations - like parents' incomes and education levels - secondhand smoke was still tied to a higher risk of behavioral problems, said Hillel R. Alpert of the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the work.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog

Robotics in the News: Robotic Rehab - How a Determined 7 - Year Old Has Become Stronger than Ever   
[Source: JC Online.com]

Anna Good waited patiently for her mom, Susie Good, to fasten her feet in the Velcro straps on the pedals of her light pink tricycle.   Once Anna's feet were in place and she was turned around, she pedaled between two pickup trucks in the driveway and down to the sidewalk in front of the red brick house she and her parents moved into just months ago.

Anna wore pink and blue Crocs and a pink bow in her blonde hair. She smiled as she rode. It was the same smile she used when she talked about turning 7 in May and all of her birthday presents.

"Lots of toys," she said, describing one as a "big-girl bike." The new pink bicycle is her favorite color, but since it has only two wheels, her dad, Kelly Good, will add training wheels to keep her stable.Anna, who has cerebral palsy, really wanted the bike, so her parents told her they would make it work, even if it's a challenge.  For now, she enjoys riding her tricycle. With each push, the West Lafayette girl gets stronger. And riding her big-girl bike may not be too far off, thanks in part to a relatively new pediatric therapy that utilizes robots.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Speech Processing Research in the News:  Components Of Speech Recognition Pathway In Humans Identified By Researchers
[Source: Medical News Today]

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) have defined, for the first time, three different processing stages that a human brain needs to identify sounds such as speech - and discovered that they are the same as ones identified in non-human primates.

In the June 22 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers say their discovery - made possible with the help of 13 human volunteers who spent time in a functional MRI machine - could potentially offer important insights into what can go wrong when someone has difficulty speaking, which involves hearing voice-generated sounds, or understanding the speech of others.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Insurance Coverage for Autism in the News: Anthem, Blue Shield to Cover ABA for Children with Autism
]Source:  LA Times]

Two of California's largest health insurers have agreed to pay for costly behavioral therapy for thousands of autistic children - services the companies have long resisted covering.

Under pressure from regulators, Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross said they would pick up the initial cost of a treatment known as applied behavior analysis.

Insurers, worried about rising demand for expensive services as the number of autism cases grows, have argued that the therapy is not a medical treatment but an educational or social service exempt from coverage.
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Language Development in the News: Even Before Language, Babies Learn the World Through Sounds
[Source: ScienceDaily]

It's not just the words, but the sounds of words that have meaning for us. This is true for children and adults, who can associate the strictly auditory parts of language - vowels produced in the front or the back of the mouth, high or low pitch - with blunt or pointy things, large or small things, fast-moving or long-staying things.

Do the same principles apply for young infants, and not just to things, but also to abstractions? A new study by Marcela Pe�a, Jacques Mehler, and Marina Nespor, working together at the International School for Advanced Studies, in Trieste, Italy and Catholic University of Chile, says yes. For the first time ever, the researchers have demonstrated that these physical properties of speech are associated, very early in life, with abstract concepts - in this case, larger and smaller.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Language Delay in the News: Study Shows that Late Talkers Do Fine as They Grow Up, but Others Issue Concern 
[Source: Original Study as Cited by Reuters] 

In good news for parents of children who talk late, an Australian study shows that a slow start on language is unlikely to have lingering effects on the children's mental health.


Andrew Whitehouse and colleagues at the University of Western Australia, followed late talkers into their teens in an unusual long-term study and found that they were no more likely to be shy, depressed or aggressive than their peers as they great up.


However, some in the field have issued a cautionary approach:   Read the Editorial/Press Release issued by the Hanen Centre. 

[Source: The Hanen Center]

The results of a recent Australian study on the emotional outcomes of late talking toddlers have been reported under headlines such as, "Late Talkers Do Fine as They Grow." The Hanen Centre, a not-for-profit organization specializing in young children with language delays (including those who are late talkers) cautions that such headlines might give false assurance to parents who notice that their child is late to talk.

Read the Rest of Both of these Articles Through Links on our Blog

Oxytocin for Autism in the News: 'Cuddle Hormone' Possible Treatment For Autism
[Source: WCVB-TV]

When Cheryl Philippon's youngest son Steven was diagnosed in November with autism, their lives changed forever.

"So much of our time is focused on his schedule, his program," said Philippon.

The 3-year-old had been nonverbal up until recently, and he still avoids playing with others, even his older sister, who's 4.

"Patients with autism have primary deficits in terms of their social cognition, so they have a hard time developing strong trust bonds with other individuals," said Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the Compulsive, Impulsive and Autism Spectrum Disorder Program at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Fine Motor Skills for Older Children
Here is a great list of 50 fine motor skills activities for older children written by 'Mr. Jeremy' of the New Hope International School in Tokyo. Jeremy has a nice blog that we will continue to monitor.

[Source: Make Learning Fun]

Fine motor skills are crucial for everyone, but focused practice on them usually ends in preschool or kindergarten. Older children often need a little more work, especially to increase the legibility of their handwriting, but just practicing penmanship is boring. How can working on fine motor skills be fun?

Check out this Great List of Activities Through a Link on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: ASHA's Evidence Maps

Evidence maps are intended to provide clinicians, researchers, clients, and caregivers with tools and guidance to engage in evidence-based decision making. These maps highlight the importance of the three components of evidence-based practice (EBP): Clinical Expertise/Expert Opinion/External Scientific Evidence, and Client/Patient Caregive Perspectives.   Maps featured include:  


Check out the ASHA Evidence Maps at the National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communications Disorders through a link on our Blog

Software Product Review: Adventure Pack for Articulation
Review by: Sean Sweeney

This week, I thought I should acknowledge the S in my title (should I have called this blog LanguageTechie?) and feature a few products that make good use of technology in articulation interventions!

2 Gals Speech Products' software program (compatible with Mac and PC) Adventure Pack takes the drill-and-play approach to a new level that is sure to engage your students while they practice sounds. Adventure Pack (a demo version is available at that link) features four different arcade-style games in which students will need to avoid hazards as they navigate a swamp, mountain peak, ski course or jungle. Kids will choose their adventure (the four adventures have different difficulty levels specified in the manual), sound, level, and position, then start to play!

Check out the Rest of this Review on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: Enabled Kids, PediatricOT  
So What's the Difference Between Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury and Stroke? - By:  Natan Gendelman

Cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and pediatric stroke are often brought together under the same treatment processes and types of rehabilitation. It is common knowledge for many people who work with kids that the approach to take is often quite similar between the three conditions. However, after working with and observing children who have cerebral palsy, brain injury or pediatric stroke, personally I would disagree with this method and viewpoint. In my opinion, there are many reasons why treatment for each condition should be distinct, and the first thing I would like to examine is what makes each condition different from the next.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
By Hand- by Loren Shlaes

"Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by his mind and will, can influence the state of his own health"  {Mary Reilly, 1962}


In order to do and be our best, everyone needs plenty of sleep, fresh air, exercise, and healthy food.

We also have needs that are less tangible, but no less important, as one of my young friends reminded me this past week. She is a little girl who strikes me, in addition to her sensory processing issues, as being lost and depressed. Her parents are divorced, her father lives far away, and her mother travels all over the world for her work. She is often in the care of nannies. Her attitude is habitually one of indifference, which I think she adopts as a form of emotional protection, and I have found it especially challenging to form a warm connection with her. She may or may not answer when she is spoken to, and if she leaves the gym to get a drink of water, she may or may not decide to return, but instead wanders into the office area and goes through the items on my colleagues' desks until I go find her and bring her back.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Pediatric Massage: A Nurturing Intervention for Autism
[Source: Massage Today]

By: Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT

For Clarice, incorporating nurturing touch into the life of her family was natural. Her young son, Elliot, enjoyed receiving massage on a regular basis. When he was 3 years old, Elliot developed sensory issues.

He started to refuse touch of any kind; clothing, the feel of grass, the feel of any food that he had experienced before, the feel of warm or lukewarm water. His muscle tone began decreasing and by the time he was 3 � years old, he had lost all of his language abilities (previously he was bilingual), refused all eye contact and was unable to stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. He would not eat or drink anything other than milk, eventually regressing to the point when he could not verbally communicate and refused to eat.
Eventually his family would begin to unravel the mystery of how their little boy could be diagnosed with PDD-NOS, Autism, mental retardation and sensory integration disorder.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Summer Tips for Kiddos with Sensory Processing Challenges
by:  Lindsey Biel

Summertime can be both wonderful and stressful for kids with sensory issues and their families. Why do some kids seem to regress over the summer while others zoom ahead? Changes in routine, unfamiliar activities, food, faces, places, and sounds can make it very hard for sensitive kids to relax and enjoy themselves. All the work you and any therapists your child have been doing shouldn't fall apart over the summer. Your child can have fun and keep continuing to develop sensory processing, fine motor, gross motor, self-help, and academic skills with a little help. Here are a few tips:

Don't let go of all structure
While it may feel great for us to drop daily routines like waking up early, getting dressed quickly, and having a full schedule each day, many children with sensory challenges crave predictability and thrive on such routines. Studies show that kids today do not get enough sleep. During vacations, it's tempting to discontinue early-to-bed, early-to-rise routines. While you may adjust wake-up and bedtime so your child can get more sleep, don't go overboard. Adjust sleep/wake cycles slightly, but then stick to a predictable schedule to help your child stay organized and self-regulated.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Asynchronous Development and Sensory Integration Intervention in the Gifted and Talented Population
By Anne Cronin

This article by Anne Cronin offers an explanation of sensory integration, SI dysfunctions, and how it might affect gifted and talented individuals. The author also discusses implications in terms of development. A sensory history interview and sensory diet information are included as appendices.

Parents of children who develop differently are under different pressures and have many difficult decisions to make. As the internet makes information so accessible, families often find themselves in information overload when looking for resources for their child. Popular books like, The Out-of-Sync Child (Kranowitz, 1998) have informed families about sensory integration difficulties that might have never been referred to an occupational therapist. Families of children who are both highly gifted, and have some other exceptionality are increasingly looking toward sensory integration as a resource for their children. The special education literature abounds with documentation of the social and emotional consequences of having exceptional abilities and learning disabilities, when one or both of the conditions is unrecognized, can be pervasive and quite debilitating (Baum et al.,1991; Durden & Tangherlini, 1993).

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
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