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October 7, 2011
Issue 31, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Can you believe its October already?  As a pediatric or school based therapist you know that means to start thinking about planning some engaging activities to do with your kiddos that incorporate one of their favorite holidays - Halloween!  Check out our Pinterest Pinboard of the Week with almost 250 Halloween themed ideas suitable for Speech, OT and PT!
News Items: 
  • Singing Therapy for Fluency in the News 
  • Not Peds But a Fun SLP Share: Klingon Language Helps Man with Dyslexia 
  • New Evidence Found for the Genetic Basis of Autism
  • Sensory Friendly Production of 'Lion King' is a Smash
  • Young Children Show Improved Verbal IQ After 20 Days of Exposure to Music-Based, Cognitive Training 'Cartoons'
  • Down Syndrome Study Finds Families Are Happy 
  • Anesthesia Before Age 2 May Be Linked with Learning Disabilities 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  Halloween Therapy Activities, Ideas and Treats! 
  • Resource of the Week: Reading Rockets 
  • Interactive Website of the Week: 'Smyface'  
  • Some Speech Language Pathology Humor 

Articles and Blogs

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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Fluency in the News:  Singing Therapy for Fluency in Scientfic American 

[Source: Scientific American]

Singing therapy is often used to restore fluency to sufferers of speech disorders due to stroke. Recent research found, however, it may not be the singing itself that helps. Christie Nicholson reports

Left-sided stroke victims are often left with a debilitating speech disorder. Yet many can sing entire pieces of text fluently.

Singing is thought to activate areas of the right hemisphere which can pinch hit for the stroke-damaged left side of the brain.

Recent research from the Max Planck Institute has found, however, that it's not the singing that matters. It's the rhythm. And if the lyrics are familiar the stroke sufferer finds it even easier to speak them. The research appears in the journal Brain.


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

Dyslexia in the News:  Not Peds But a Fun SLP Share: Klingon Language Helps Man with Dyslexia

[Source: BBC News]


A UK man has revealed how translating "Klingon" has helped him deal with dyslexia.

Jonathan Brown, 50, of Furzton spent 12 years learning the fictional language of the alien race from Star Trek films.


Then, after being appointed as the lead "linguist" on a CD for others wanting to learn it, he found a different way of dealing with words.


He said: "It helped me identify my problem and found a way of working with my dyslexia."


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

Autism in the News: New Evidence Found for the Genetic Basis of Autism

[Source:  Science Daily.com]


Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have discovered that one of the most common genetic alterations in autism - deletion of a 27-gene cluster on chromosome 16 - causes autism-like features. By generating mouse models of autism using a technique known as chromosome engineering, CSHL Professor Alea Mills and colleagues provide the first functional evidence that inheriting fewer copies of these genes leads to features resembling those used to diagnose children with autism.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Sensory Friendly 'Lion King' in the News:  Production is a Smash and Could have Sold-Out Twice 
[Source: MSNBC]

Last month, this blog featured a story first reported in Disability Scoop about a sensory-friendly performance of the Broadway hit 'Lion King' that was coming to New York.   Well, the show was a smash hit.


According to NBC News, the show could have sold-out twice, and was extraordinarily well received.   Brian Williams featured a piece on the show in the NBC Nightly News segment 'Making a Difference.'

Watch the Entire 'Making A Difference Segment' Through a Link on our Blog
Music for Cognitive Training in the News: Young Children Show Improved Verbal IQ After 20 Days of Exposure to Music-Based, Cognitive Training 'Cartoons'

[Source: MedicalXPress.com]


Canadian scientists who specialize in learning, memory and language in children have found exciting evidence that pre-schoolers can improve their verbal intelligence after only 20 days of classroom instruction using interactive, music-based cognitive training cartoons.


The study - conducted at York University by Dr. Sylvain Moreno, who is now with Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI) - is posted online today in Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science), ahead of print publication in the October issue of the journal.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Down Syndrome in the News: Study Shows Down Syndrome Families Are Happy 

[Source: Disability Scoop]


Having a child with Down syndrome may come as a surprise, but it's a good experience, families are reporting in a trio of new surveys.


Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 family members and people with the chromosomal disorder across the country for what's believed to be one of the largest looks at life with Down syndrome. The findings, which will be published in three articles in the October issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, offer a rosy picture.


The vast majority of parents said they have a more positive outlook on life because of their child with Down syndrome. And, nearly 90 percent of siblings indicated that they feel like they are better people because of their brother or sister with the developmental disability.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Learning Disabilities in the News: Anesthesia Before Age 2 May Be Linked With Learning Disabilities Later On
[Source:  Huffington Post]

If an infant or toddler has surgery requiring anesthesia, it could raise the risk of learning disabilities later in life, a new study suggests.


The study, published in the journal Pediatrics and conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers, found that kids who are administered general anesthesia before age 2 may have as much as a three times higher risk of learning problems.


However, the risk seems to only apply to small kids who have had more than one surgery, HealthDay reported.


"A single exposure to anesthesia in surgery has not been shown to be [a] problem, so parents can be reassured that this is not likely to cause any problems," study researcher Dr. Randall Flick, of the Mayo Clinic, told HealthDay.


Read the Rest of this Article Through Links on our Blog


Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: Halloween Themed Therapy Ideas, Activities (and Treats)! 

Kids love Halloween and therapists and teachers know that thematic units are the perfect way to engage their kiddos in their classes and sessions.     


Please enjoy our compilation (growing by the day) of great Halloween Themed Therapy Activities on Pinterest.  At this writing there are 242 items!     


You will find activities, crafts and games for fine motor, sensory exploration, and gross motor practice. You will also find great tools to use for fluency, phonological awareness, and articulation. We have also found great writing prompts, word work, recommended book lists, and even adaptive halloween costumes, social stories and PECS. Plus, what halloween resources page would be complete without ideas for treats to make with and for the kiddos!

Browse carefully, Some of our best pins were made early and may be deep on the page.  (Unfortunately, Pinterest doesn't let you arrange your pins inside a single board yet) 

Check out this Great Compilation of Halloween Therapy Ideas on Pinterest!
Therapist Resource of the Week: Reading Rockets 

Reading Rockets is a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.


There are a bunch of great resources on this site for teachers and clinicians that are appropriate for SLPs working with kiddos on literacy and language.  

Here are links to just a few of their excellent resources:


Check out Reading Rockets Through a Link on our Blog

Interactive Website of the Week : 'Smyface.com'

Special Thanks to Sean Sweeney of Speech Techie for suggesting this fun interactive website to use in speech (or occupational) therapy.  


Editor's Note: Although Sean highlighted this site through a speech-language pathology lens, I think this resource has equal value for school psychologists and pediatric occupational therapists, especially those working with children with autism.


Smyface is a simple interactive website you can use to emphasize feelings vocabulary and the connections between real-world events and internal responses.  Use the slider to view a huge variety of facial expressions, match them to emotional vocabulary, and work with students to link feelings to events. Smyface is a great stop to use in conjunction with a storybook or chapter book in order to  


Read More About and Check out 'Smyface' Through a Link on our Blog
Some Speech Language Pathology Humor : The Practice 
Thank you to our friends through Pinterest for the heads up on a collection of great cartoons by Jenny Loehr M.A. CCC-SLP


Check out 'The Practice': Cartoons by an SLP Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: ArticBrain, PediatricOT  
Playing With Boogers and Dog Food in Speech Therapy - By:  Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP

Remember when you used to have numerous magazine subscriptions and every single month the good ol' mail carrier would bring you a brand spankin' new magazine to read? Well, if you're like me, you cancelled all of your old subscriptions because you finally realized that you can obtain all of your favorite current events, news, and celebrity gossip from various internet sources (blogs, podcasts, etc.) for a fraction of the cost. So, what can we do with the hundreds of old

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
Twenty Reasons Why a Child Can't Sit Still - By: Loren Shlaes, OTR/L
  1. The child does not get enough exercise. Children require huge amounts of movement, preferably outside, every single day. Movement and exercise is as essential as food for children in order to stay organized, develop and mature their nervous systems, improve their coordination, strength and motor planning, and to be healthy! So many of us live in cities now and have just forgotten how vital it is for a child's health and development to go outside and play. Have parents bring the child to the playground for half an hour before school starts, and let him play on the equipment, or have a game of touch football, statues, or tag. And if his teacher takes away recess as a punishment, you must insist that she find another way to help him manage his behavior. He is acting out because he needs to move more, not less!  
  2. The child has poor postural stability, low muscle tone, and a weak trunk and spine. This makes sitting physically exhausting, uncomfortable and painful. Circle time is especially grueling since sitting unsupported is such hard work.
Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Homework: Teaching Organizational Skills to Individuals with ASD
[Source: Autism Asperger's Digest Magazine]

By: Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP

Our daily lives are made up of an endless stream of thoughts, decisions, actions and reactions to the people and environment in which we live. The internal and external actions fit together, sometimes seamlessly sometimes not, largely dependent upon a set of invisible yet highly important skills we call Executive Functioning (EF). These skills, which involve planning, organizing, sequencing, prioritizing, shifting attention, and time management can be well-developed in some people (think traffic controllers, wedding planners, business CEOs, etc.) and less developed in others.

They are vital in all parts of life, from making coffee to running a profitable business. The skills develop naturally, without specific, formal training, and we all have them to some degree - or at least, we all assume we all have them. Things are never quite as simple as they seem, and these EF skills are no exception. They require a multitiered hierarchy of decisions and actions, all coming together within the framework of time, knowledge and resources. 

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

Worth Repeating - Debating the Efficacy of Bilingual Education Programs
by:  Matthew Lynch EducationViews Contributor

[Source: EducationViews.org]

The debate on how best to educate ELL students continues, with little promise of a clear-cut way to proceed emerging anytime soon. At the same time, the diversity of languages of spoken in U.S. schools continues to expand. Languages include Spanish, Hmong, Urdu, Russian, Chinese, Polish, Korean, Tagalog, Swahili and more. Achieving the goal for all students to obtain a satisfactory level of learning is often compromised by the cultural, social, and language differences among various groups. The inability to come to grips with how to best approach the learning needs of ELL student's, places them at greater risk of falling behind.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog  
Also Worth Repeating - Bullying In Class, On Playgrounds and Online: Schools Still Out of Touch
By Charles Fox

[Source: Special Ed Law Blog]

The Office for Civil Rights recently provided guidance on when bullying can rise to the level of a federal civil rights violation. Discrimination based on disability status was a topic covered in the OCR letter. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) prohibit disability-based discrimination. The recent OCR letter outlines several examples of harassment and discrimination, here is just one example and the letter's response:

Several classmates repeatedly called a student with a learning disability "stupid," "idiot," and "retard" while in school and on the school bus. On one occasion, these students tackled him, hit him with a school binder, and threw his personal items into the garbage. The student complained to his teachers and guidance counselor that he was continually being taunted and teased.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
One More Worth Repeating - A Student With Dysgraphia's Pespective on Writing
By Regina G. Richards

[Source: Reading Rockets ]

Eli, a young boy, tells us what it is like to have dysgraphia. Regina Richards, a well-known expert on dysgraphia (and Eli's mom), explains how to help children who struggle with the challenges Eli describes. Practical techniques discussed include POWER: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, Revise.

"Writing is definitely the worst task of all. It's just way too hard to remember all the things I need, like periods and capital letters. Then, it's almost impossible to think about how to spell words when I'm busy trying to think about the story. It's so hard to remember what I'm writing about .... I figure it's easier to write just a few sentences. That doesn't hurt my hand so much either. My teachers complain, but I just keep writing very short stories. After all, teachers don't understand what it's like to struggle and struggle to write and still

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