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December 16, 2011
Issue 38, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Greetings!   

Hello again!  From all of us on the PediaStaff Team we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa too.   We will not have a newsletter next week so that our staff might spend some time with their families, and will be back to you with our monthly issue on December 30th.   Have a wonderful, and safe holiday.  See you soon!
 
News Items: 
  • Face Recognition Research May Aid Therapies For Prosopagnosia And Autism
  • PANDAS in the News: A Rare Childhood Neuropsychiatric Disorder Triggered by Strep
  • Headaches Common in Kids Months After Brain Injury
  • More Pediatric TBI in the News 
  • Pediatric Occupational Therapy in the News
  • Patients With A Rare Condition Associated With Autism Found To Have Altered Nerve-Fiber Pathways
  • Infants Take Cues From Trusted Sources, Ignore Unreliable Cues 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Occupational Therapy Activity of the Week: Dreidel Games
  • Speech Therapy Activity of the Week:  Kwanzaa Paper Chain Ideas 
  • Pinterest Ideas of the Week:  Four Cute Holiday Activities with a Christmas Tree Theme 
  • Therapy Resource of the Week: National Geographic Kids 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Therapist 
  • Guest Blog: How to Teach the 'L' Sound 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Activities for the Sensory Diet 
  • Worth Repeating: How to Teach Straw Drinking 
  • Also Worth Repeating: Teaching Children the Proper Scissors Grip          
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team





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Face Recognition in the News:  Face Recognition Research May Aid Therapies For Prosopagnosia And Autism

[Source: Medical News Today]

 

"Face recognition is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it," says Beijing Normal University cognitive psychologist Jia Liu. But what accounts for the difference? A new study by Liu and colleagues Ruosi Wang, Jingguang Li, Huizhen Fang, and Moqian Tian provides the first experimental evidence that the inequality of abilities is rooted in the unique way in which the mind perceives faces. "Individuals who process faces more holistically" - that is, as an integrated whole - "are better at face recognition," says Liu. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog 
PANDAS in the News:  A Rare Childhood Neuropsychiatric Disorder Triggered by Strep
Brody Kennedy was a typical sixth-grader who loved to hang out with friends in Castaic and play video games. A strep-throat infection in October caused him to miss a couple of days of school, but he was eager to rejoin his classmates, recalls his mother, Tracy.

 

Then, a week after Brody became ill, he awoke one morning to find his world was no longer safe. Paranoid about germs and obsessed with cleanliness, he refused to touch things and showered several times a day. His fear prevented him from attending school, and he insisted on wearing nothing but a sheet or demanding that his mother microwave his clothes or heat them in the dryer before dressing.


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

Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury in the News: Headaches Common in Kids Months After Brain Injury
[Source: Fox News]

Kids who have a concussion or other traumatic brain injury are more likely to develop headaches for up to a year afterward than children who have had a bodily injury, according to a new study.

 

While not entirely surprising, the results point to a difficult long-term problem for kids and their parents because adequate treatments are lacking, researchers say.

 

"It's an issue because they may have problems with sleep, and the headaches can make it harder to concentrate," said lead author Dr. Heidi Blume at Seattle Children's Research Institute.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
More Pediatric TBI in the News:  A New Worry for Soccer Parents: Heading the Ball
[Source:  New York Times, 'Well' Blog]

What happens inside the skull of a soccer player who repeatedly heads a soccer ball? That question motivated a provocative new study of the brains of experienced players that has prompted discussion and debate in the soccer community, and some anxiety among those of us with soccer-playing offspring.

 

For the study, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York recruited 34 adults, men and women. All of the volunteers had played soccer since childhood and now competed year-round in adult soccer leagues. Each filled out a detailed questionnaire developed especially for this study to determine how many times they had headed a soccer ball in the previous year, as well as whether they had experienced any known concussions in the past.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Occupational Therapy in the News: Bellevue's Kindering is Oasis for Special Needs Kids 
[Source:  The Seattle Times]

It was 4 in the afternoon when the driver of an SUV - talking on her cellphone and wearing an ankle cast that got stuck in the accelerator - plowed through a wall of a Redmond day care.

Three toddlers were hurt in the Aug. 3, 2009, crash, with injuries ranging from a rug burn to those suffered by Sterling Metz, who was all of 3 � months. He was pulled out from under the Toyota Rav 4's front bumper.

 

Sterling suffered "a compressed spine with injuries to multiple vertebrae as well as misalignment of his cranial plates," police said later. He also had a diagnosis of failure to thrive.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism Research in the News: Patients With A Rare Condition Associated With Autism Found To Have Altered Nerve-Fiber Pathways
[Source: Medical News Today]

It's still unclear what's different in the brains of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but evidence from genetic and cell studies points to abnormalities in how brain cells (neurons) connect to each other. A study at Children's Hospital Boston now provides visual evidence associating autism with a disorganized structure of brain connections, as well as defects in myelin - the fatty, insulating coating that helps nerve fibers conduct signals and that makes up the brain's white matter.

 

Researchers led by Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology, Simon Warfield, PhD, director of the Computational Radiology Laboratory, and first author Jurriaan Peters, MD, of both departments at Children's, used advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image the brains of 40 patients (infants to age 25) with tuberous sclerosis complex and 29 age-matched, healthy controls. Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic condition often associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits, including ASDs about 50 percent of the time.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Infant Behavior and Development in the News: Infants Take Cues From Trusted Sources, Ignore Unreliable Cues
[Source:  Medical News Today]

Babies love to imitate. Ask any parent and they'll report how infants mimic sounds, facial expressions and actions they observe. Now new research from Concordia University, published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development, has found that infants can even differentiate between credible and un-credible sources. Simply put, most babies won't follow along if they have been previously tricked by an adult.

 

"Like older children, infants keep track of an individual's history of being accurate or inaccurate and use this information to guide their subsequent learning," says senior researcher Diane Poulin-Dubois, a professor in the Concordia Department of Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development. "Specifically, infants choose not to learn from someone who they perceive as unreliable."


Read the Rest of This Article Through Links on our Blog

 

Occupational Therapy Activity of the Week: Dreidel Games

Special Thanks to Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone for designing this fun game for us for the holiday season!

 

The blog at Pediastaff was looking for some therapy games that have a connection to Hanukkah, and I have been making a bunch of games lately. My son was thrilled to help me create a board game using a dreidel to determine the spaces you move.

 

I made a game board that would fit with my clothespin game board, but it can be played with any small manipulatives used as the game pieces. You could use pom poms or little toys to move around the board  


Check out the Rest of this Great Game on our Blog!
Speech Therapy Activity of the Week: Paper Chain Activities for Kwanzaa 

Thank You, Liz Gretz of Speech Lady Liz for answering our "challenge" to come up with culturally diverse therapy activities!  

 

Heidi Kay over at Pediastaff challenged some bloggers to create therapy activies related to Chanukah and Kwanza.  While the activity I came up with is pretty simple in nature, it was a really great motivator.  These chain links can be used in a couple different ways.

 

Articulation:

I introduced Kwanza to the kids first.  I explained what the colors mean and the basic traditions of the holiday. Then, depending on what level they are at, they get to add a link for every sound or sound in a

 
Finish Learning About these Activities our Blog!
Pinterest Therapy Ideas of the Week: Four Holiday Activities with a Christmas Tree Theme: Sequencing, Fine Motor, Comprehension and Discussion

Here are a few Christmas tree themed activities that have been extremely popular on our Christmas Pinterest page  that I thought were ideal for our kiddos.

 

The first are some great sequencing cards to print and talk about the adventure of bringing home a tree for Christmas.


See These Four Activities on our Blog

 

Therapy Resource of the Week: Therapy Resource of the Week: National Geographic Kids

Jam packed with exquisite photographs, games, activities and videos, National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids have something for every pediatric or school based therapist to utilize for therapy ideas

 

Here are some of my favorite spots on the site:   

 

Puzzles and Quizzes:  'Puzzles and Quizzes'is a sub section of the Games section of the website.  Choose online Jigsaw and Slide Puzzles to Complete, many with seasonal themes (the snowflake puzzler page is cool!)

 

Read More and Check out National Geographic Kids Through our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week:  PediatricOT, Mommy Speech Therapy 
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Therapist - By:   Loren Shlaes, OTR/L

In her book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua outlined her methods for raising her two daughters, and they were extreme. She never allowed them to watch television or go on sleepovers or playdates, drilled them incessantly on their academics, forced them to spend hours and hours practicing their musical instruments, locked them outside in the middle of winter for disobeying her, rejected handmade gifts that didn't show sufficient effort, and threatened to break or give away their toys when they couldn't master their music lessons.

 

She wrote the book in hindsight, not to show the world how much better Chinese methods of child rearing work in comparison to ours in the West, but as an apology to her children.

 

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
How to Teach the 'L' Sound - by Heidi Hanks, MS CCC-SLP

II have had several requests on how to teach the /l/ sound so I put some thoughts together and wanted to share them with you!

 

Three Steps for Teaching the /l/ Sound

  1. To teach the /l/ sound place the tongue tip on the alveolar ridge (the ridge behind the front teeth). To help your child do this touch your child's alveolar ridge with your finger or a lollipop. Then ask your child to place his tongue tip there.
  2. Then with his tongue tip in place ask him to relax and then let air flow out the sides of his tongue.
  3. Now to make it sound like an /l/ all he has to do is make the sound "loud" by turning on his voice.
Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Activities for The Sensory Diet
By: Lindsey Biel OTR/L & Nancy Peske

Editor's Note:  This article was written primarily for parents and caregivers of children with Sensory Processing Disorder. We include it here as an excellent resource that therapists may share with the parents and guardians of the kiddos they treat with SPD.

 

What is a sensory diet?


Just as your child needs food throughout the course of the day, his need for sensory input must also be met. A "sensory diet" (coined by OT Patricia Wilbarger) is a carefully designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a person needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day. Just as you may jiggle your knee or chew gum to stay awake or soak in a hot tub to unwind, children need to engage in stabilizing, focusing activities too. Infants, young children, teens, and adults with mild to severe sensory issues can all benefit from a personalized sensory diet.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - How to Teach Straw Drinking
by:  Debra C. Lowsky MS, CCC-SLP

  1. To start, cut a regular straw in half. Not only is a shorter straw easier to handle, but it also takes less strength for a child to suck liquid from a shorter straw.
  2. Dip the straw into a cup with liquid preferred by the child. Place the tip of your pointer finger over the top of the straw to keep the liquid in the straw. Remove the straw from the cup, keeping the top of the straw covered with your fingertip.
  3. Place the straw on the child's lips at a slightly tilted down angle (so that if you release your finger, the liquid will flow into the mouth).
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Teaching a Child the Proper Scissors Grip
[Source: School Sparks.com] 

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents but we share it with you because it may be something you would want to share with the parents of your kiddos


Like its close cousin the proper pencil grip, a child must be taught the proper scissors grip.

It is typical for children to explore with their palms facing downward and their little hands outstretched. The proper scissors grip requires a child to twist his hand from the palm-down position so that his thumb faces upward and his pinky finger points at the floor, like he's getting ready to shake someone's hand. As if that position wasn't unfamiliar enough for a child, he then needs to spread his thumb and pointer finger as far apart as possible to make the blades of the scissors open.

 

Due to the complexity of the correct scissors grip, it is common for young children to hold and try to use scissors incorrectly.

 

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