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September 16, 2011
Issue 29, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Hope everyone had a great week.  For those of you in a school setting, here's hoping you are settling in and have a terrific year.   Please enjoy our weekly newsletter!    
News Items: 
  • Early Motor Experiences Give Infants a Social Jump Start
  • Study: Is SpongeBob Too Much for Young Minds?
  • Some Pediatric Therapy Humor! 
  • ADHD Doubles the Risk of Injury in Grade School Kids
  • First Biologically Distinct Subtypes of Brain Development in Autism Uncovered
  • Regular 'Green Time' Is Linked to Milder Symptoms for Kids with ADHD
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week - Therapy Activities & Resources with Autumn & Harvest Themes
  • Therapy Activities for Constitution Week 
  • Teaching Skills to Fasten a Belt
  • The Communication Matrix  

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: The Psychology of Color 
  • Guest Blog: The Process of Articulation Therapy  
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Treatment of Hypernasality in Children with Down Syndrome
  • Worth Repeating: Dysphagia Services in Schools
  • Also Worth Repeating: 56 Interesting Facts about Left-Handedness & Left-Handed People   
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Early Motor Development  in the News:  Early Motor Experiences Give Infants a Social Jump Start

[Source: Science Daily.com]


In a new study published September 9 in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.


This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired - as in autism - future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Attention in the News:  Study: Is SpongeBob Too Much for Young Minds?

Editor's Note: The sample size in the following study was quite small. That said, that the implications are cause for some concern or at least should give pause.


[Source: US News and World Report / Health Day]


Fast-paced TV shows like "SpongeBob SquarePants" seem to negatively affect children's concentration levels shortly after watching it, while slower-paced shows don't, a new study suggests.

"We found that young children who had just watched 'SpongeBob SquarePants' were handicapped in what you could say is their readiness for learning," said lead researcher Angeline S. Lillard, a University of Virginia psychologist.

"This included their ability to think and concentrate," she said.

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

Brighten Your Day With a Smile: Pediatric Therapy Cartoon Humor 

[Source: /Shine/Yahoo Parenting/Cathy Thorne/Everyday People]


As seen on the Shine website September 14, 2011 


Although it was written from the "Mom's point of view"  This cartoon is going viral through the pediatric OT community!

Check Out the Cartoon by Cathy Thorne on our Blog
ADHD in the News:  ADHD Doubles the Risk of Injury in Grade School Kids

[Source: Medical News Today]

Injury kills more 11-year-olds in the United States than all other causes combined, and a new study from University of Alabama at Birmingham reveals ADHD almost doubles the risk of serious injury among this age group.

"We found that children with more ADHD symptoms, those in the 90th percentile, are nearly twice as likely to get hurt as those with symptoms in the 10th percentile," says David Schwebel, Ph.D., director of the UAB Youth Safety Laboratory and lead author. Boys, he said, are nearly twice as likely to be injured as girls.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: First Biologically Distinct Subtypes of Brain Development in Autism Uncovered

[Source: Medical News Today]


It was announce on September 14, 2011, that the world's biggest and most comprehensive investigation of children with autism has uncovered the first biologically distinct subtypes of brain development in the condition.


The discoveries are similar to those of the first biological subtypes of cancer in the 1960s, which provided access to a better understanding of causes and effective treatments, cure and prevention, in addition to huge changes in public health polices, such as bans on smoking and asbestos. Over 200 biological subtypes of cancer have since been identified, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Like cancer, genetics, the immune system and the environment are believed to be factors in causes of autism.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News: Regular 'Green Time' Is Linked to Milder Symptoms for Kids with ADHD

[Source: Science Daily]


A study of more than 400 children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has found a link between the children's routine play settings and the severity of their symptoms, researchers report. Those who regularly play in outdoor settings with lots of green (grass and trees, for example) have milder ADHD symptoms than those who play indoors or in built outdoor environments, the researchers found. The association holds even when the researchers controlled for income and other variables.  

The study appears in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pinterest Resource of the Week: Therapy Activities and Resources with Autumn and Harvest Themes

This week's Pinterest Pin of the Week isn't a pin, rather it's an entire pinboard of activities, crafts and ideas to do with your therapy kiddos during the autumn and harvest season. The board is growing daily so check back often!  Working ahead?  Check out our Halloween and Thanksgiving Activities through the link below as well! 


 Visit our Fall & Harvest Themed Therapy Activities Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog

Therapy Ideas of the Week: Great Ideas for Constitution Week
Next Week is National Constitution Week!    Engage your kiddos during therapy with some activities to celebrate this most important document!
Find More Ideas and Links to All of the Activities on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Teaching Skills to Fasten a Belt

Here is a great idea from our friend Barbara Smith, the "Recycling Occupational Therapist" 


I have been been trying to think of an activity that would teach the motor skills used to open and/or close a belt. The following idea finally came to me while swimming laps. The pieces are made out of detergent bottles, so totally free and I didn't even have to use Velcro as I thought I might.


First I made a round cut around a large bottle.


Then I continued trimming to make the round shape shown in the picture with the blue round piece.

Cut two slits for insertion. Trim the inserting end so that the part inserted is a bit more narrow than the rest. This will make it easier to see which part gets inserted. Detergent and dishwasher bottles are easy to suspend and incorporate into fine motor activities. This

Check out this Activity with Photos on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: The Communication Matrix: Free Online Assessment Instrument

The Communication Matrix is an assessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how an individual is communicating and to provide a framework for determining logical communication goals.


It was first published in 1990 and was revised in 1996 and 2004 by Dr. Charity Rowland of Oregon Health & Science University. It was designed primarily for speech-language pathologists and educators to use to document the expressive communication skills of children who have severe or multiple disabilities, including children with sensory, motor and cognitive impairments.  


The original version for professionals is still available in print for purchase in both English and Spanish at www.designtolearn.com. It uses a concise format that is designed for rapid administration by persons familiar with the assessment. The online version is free with registration.

Check out the Communication Matrix Through a link on our Blog


Guest Blogs This Week: Full Spectrum, Mommy Speech Therapy  
The Psychology of Color - By:  Pamela Ullmann, ATR-BC, LCAT

Some believe that color is a very powerful force in our lives and can have subtle effects on our bodies and minds. Interior designers and artists have used color to dramatically affect moods and feelings with their work. Institutions such as hospitals often use soft blues to decorate the rooms; creating a calming environment. However, your feelings about color can also be very personal and can be rooted in your own experience or culture. But there are certian characteristics and qualities of colors that can be useful when working with sensory sensitive children.


Color therapy or "chromotherapy" was practiced by ancient cultures including Egyptian and Chinese. They used color to heal and today in holistic or alternative settings, practitioners include it as well. Here are some interesting characteristics:  


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
The Process of Articulation Therapy - by Heidi Hanks

For those of you that have read some of my previous posts on how to teach specific sounds you may have noticed a pattern. That's because when teaching kids how to say sounds there IS a general pattern I follow even though each specific sound changes. I wanted to outline this for you because if you understand this pattern, it will make teaching the sounds so much easier!

Before I get into the details of this process, please understand that there are many other factors that affect speech intelligibility such as hearing loss, apraxia, oral motor deficits, sensory issues, and phonological processes to name a few, but I will not be addressing any of these here. This post is intended to simply explain the basic structure of articulation therapy and how you can work with your child on their sounds.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Treatment of Hypernasality in Children with Down Syndrome
by:  Bridget A. Russell, Ph.D., CCC-SLP



Adenoidectomy has been reported to be a causal factor of velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) and associated hypernasal speech in patients with and without palatal and oral-pharyngeal defects. Children with Down Syndrome (DS) often have tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy to treat otologic, upper airway and sinonasal disease. Secondary to their altered head and neck structures, there is an increased possibility for VPI. Treating hypernasality may require surgical intervention including sphincter pharyngoplasty or pharyngeal flap, prosthetic devices or behavioral speech therapy to improve velar contact with posterior and lateral pharyngeal walls. Specific speech treatment regimens may include direct articulation-phonological therapy, biofeedback and muscle training. Combined surgical intervention and speech therapy may also be implemented. The following discussion addresses previous and current surgical, physical and behavioral treatment regimens to improve hypernasality in patients with VPI.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Dysphagia Services in Schools
[Source ASHA]


Contains Practice Policies and Guidelines for:

  • Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Swallowing and Feeding Services in Schools
  • Technical Report: Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists in Swallowing and Feeding Disorders
  • Position Statement: Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists in Swallowing and Feeding Disorders
  • Knowledge and Skills Needed by Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Services to Individuals With Swallowing and/or Feeding Disorders
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools
Read This Article Through a Link on our Blog

Also Worth Repeating - 56 Interesting Facts about Left-Handedness & Left-Handed People
Editor's Note: Here's something fun to share with your handwriting kiddos or maybe even as a conversation starter in speech therapy!

[Source: RandomHistory.com]

  1. Between 10-12% of people on earth are "lefties." Women are more likely to be right-handed than men by about 4 percentage points.
  2. August 13th is "Left-Hander's Day." Launched in 1992, this yearly event celebrates left-handedness and raises awareness of the difficulties and frustrations left-handers experience every day in a world designed for right-handers.
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
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