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June 17, 2011
Issue 19, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Hello and Happy Friday!   

Hope everyone is well and enjoying their summer!   Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you!
News Items: 
  • Autism Linked to Hundreds of Genetic Mutations  
  • Dance School Gives Hope 
  • Kids Who Specialize in One Sport May Have Higher Injury Risk   
  • Sensory Processing Disorder in the News
  • Parents Divided on Screening for Conditions Without Cure 
  • Study Suggests That 'Hard to Read Fonts' May Increase Reading Retention 
  • Children With ADHD More Prone to Substance Abuse  
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Building with Toothpicks and Gumdrops  
  • Book Review:  The Practical (and fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools: Building or Improving Your District's AT Team  
  • 6 Fun Beach Ball Games for Pre-Schoolers 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: Eliciting Sounds-SH and CH  
  • Guest Blog: What Makes a Good Language Toy? 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: How to Tell Your Child He Has SPD 
  • Worth Repeating: Evidence-Based Care Guidelines for Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy  
  • Also Worth Repeating: When a Child's Play Themes Are Violent                             
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Autism in the News:  Autism Linked to Hundreds of Genetic Mutations
[Source: Los Angeles Times]

Three new studies conclude that autism disorders are genetically very complex, not caused by one or two gene defects. The potential changes in DNA may produce what are essentially different forms of autism.

Autism is not caused by one or two gene defects but probably by hundreds of different mutations, many of which arise spontaneously, according to research that examined the genetic underpinnings of the disorder in more than 1,000 families.

The findings, reported in three studies published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, cast autism disorders as genetically very complex, involving many potential changes in DNA that may produce, essentially, different forms of autism.

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

Feel Good Story of the Week:  Dance School Gives Hope
[Source: Your Nabe.com]

The pieces of a ballet uniform are meant to instantly signify and enhance the dancer's grace and mobility: ballet slippers, a unitard and - of course - a tutu.

But what if the slippers won't fit over the leg braces a little girl wears as a result of her cerebral palsy?

Chances are children living with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida would not be able to safely participate in a regular ballet class. That's why Bayside pediatric physical therapist Joann Ferrara created the Dancing Dreams school in 2002.

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

Pediatric Sports Injury in the News:  Kids Who Specialize in One Sport May Have Higher Injury Risk
Competitive young athletes are under increasing pressure to play only one sport year round, but such specialization could increase the risk of injuries, a Loyola University Health System study has found.

Preliminary findings of the ongoing study included 154 athletes from all types of sports, with an average age of 13. They came to Loyola for sports physicals or treatment of injuries. The injured athletes had a significantly higher average score on a sports specialization scale than athletes who weren't injured.

"Young athletes who were injured tended to have more intense specialized training in one sport," said Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola and senior author of the study. "We should be cautious about intense specialization in one sport before and during adolescence. Parents should consider enrolling their children in multiple sports."

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

Sensory Processing Disorder in the News: The Condition Many Parents have Never Heard Of
[Source: The 33 TV, Dallas/Fort Worth]

Seven-year-old Michael Collins fits in perfectly at Ima Dell Fitzgerald Elementary school in Arlington, Texas.   He loves school and his classmates love him, but his mom.. was uneasy.

"I was terrified," Rachel Collins said. "We couldn't go to the grocery stores, we couldn't be out in public, so I'm thinking, 'A class full of 20 or 30 kids with all their different needs?' I was pretty terrified."

Terrified because when he was younger, Michael didn't react well to noise and wasn't very social; experts said he was just a 'high needs' child -- until finally when he was three years old, he was diagnosed with 'Sensory Integration Disorder.'

It's something Michael's parents had never heard of.   "Nobody really speaks of it," Rachel said. "I had to learn to be his voice because for the longest time he didn't speak and I had to be his voice."


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Genetic Screening in the News: Parents Divided on Screening for Conditions without Cure
[Source: Disability Scoop]

Most moms want their newborns to be tested for fragile X syndrome, but a significant number of parents remain reluctant to find out if their children have the disability, new research suggests.

In a study of more 2,000 mothers in North Carolina, researchers asked why they did or did not agree to have their newborns screened for the FMR1 gene, which is responsible for fragile X.

Overall, nearly two out of three parents agreed to have their babies tested. Black mothers were least likely to consent to the screening while those with graduate degrees were more likely than parents with only a high school diploma to consent, according to the study published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Cognition in the News: Study Suggests that 'Hard to Read' Fonts May Increase Reading Retention  
[Source: Medical XPress.com]

Researchers from Indiana University and Princeton, in a paper published in Cognition, describe two experiments they conducted that appear to show reading retention improves when fonts that are considered harder to read are used.

In the study, as described by lead author, Connor Diemand-Yauman in an interview with ABC Radio National, a first group of volunteers, comprised of 28 adults, were asked to read some fictional text and then were asked questions about the characters involved afterwards. The volunteers were divided into three groups, with each being given the same text but printed in a different font; the first got 16-point Arial, the second 12-point Comic Sans MS and the third 12-point Bodoni MT. The group that had the so-called hard to read Comic Sans outperformed the other two on the questions given afterwards.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News:  Children With ADHD More Prone to Substance Abuse
[Source: Yahoo News]

Boys and girls diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a significantly higher risk of developing a substance abuse problem -- including cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, new research reveals.

"Our study, which is one of the largest set of longitudinal studies of this issue to date, supports the association between ADHD and substance abuse found in several earlier studies and shows that the increased risk cannot be accounted for by co-existing factors such as other psychiatric disorders or family history of substance abuse," lead author Dr. Timothy Wilens, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Book ReviewThe Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools: Building or Improving Your District's AT Team
Book By: Christopher R. Bugaj and Sally Norton-Darr ;   Reviewed By: Sean J. Sweeney

Chris Bugaj and his colleague Sally Norton-Darr have penned an informative (and indeed, fun to read) guide to the role of Assistive Technology (AT) and its practitioners in the school setting. AT, a still-emerging discipline, is likely an area that is blurry or unfortunately non-existent in many school districts, so the authors aim to not only clarify that but also empower readers to create an AT team if none exists. That said, you should not be scared off by the title of this book if the idea of creating something from nothing within your educational setting seems a tad ambitious for your taste. The book will still provide a treasure trove of valuable information about AT and how it shapes our practice as therapists.

If you have ever heard Chris present a workshop or listened to his A.T.TIPSCAST podcast- and if you have not, I recommend doing so- you'll find that his and Sally's voices lend a fun, very readable approach to what could have been a dry textbook. In conveying the nitty-gritty of what AT Trainers do from day to day, the authors use cartoons, anecdotes, analogies about judgmental Aunt Ida (one of many examples), modified nursery rhymes and all-around humor (One section heading is entitled "Don't Procrastin...Ah, We'll Finish That Later."). All of this lends an approachable and relatable quality to the informative text without ever overdoing the "fun."

Read the Rest of this Review on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Building with Toothpicks and Gumdrops
Special Thanks to Therapy Fun Zone for this Activity of the Week. Please support our contributors and visit Therapy Fun Zone

I saw this on a preschool activity site, and saw a lot of therapy potential in it. You can have a client build their own designs and structures, or you could have them copy a design that you show them.

See the Rest of this Activity with Photos on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: 6 Fun Beach Ball Games for Pre-Schoolers
Editor's Note: Thank you to our friends at Your Therapy Source for the heads up on this great list of beach ball games!

[Source: The BodySmart Blog]

Research shows that adding play props such a balls and hoops is a great way to get kids moving during play. They provide children ample opportunity to practice motor skills and increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), while keeping the focus on fun!
Here are six fun ideas that involve a beach ball:

Catch and Do! On each section of a beach ball (traditionally sectioned by color) write an action word such as jump, turn, shake, etc... Children can play catch with a partner or in a group. Roll or throw the ball to each other. When the child catches the ball, they should look to see where their hand is on the ball and do that action. Throw the ball to another child.

Read About the Rest of these Games Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: 2 Gals Speech Therapy, Play on Words   
Eliciting Sounds-SH and CH - By:  Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout

Good Morning Everyone! Today we will look at a few techniques and strategies to elicit SH and CH. This is in no way everything you need to know about teaching SH and CH. These are just some tips we found worked for us and would like to share. Usually when the child learns the correct tongue position for /s/ the other sibilants simply fall into place with little to no attention. However, as with everything else in life, there are exceptions and some need direct instruction so we will share our tips for eliciting these sounds.

SH:  Since those of you reading this are professional SLPs I am not going to tell you the correct tongue placement. You know it. I will instead elaborate on how to fix what they might be doing wrong.

The most common label for the SH sound is the "be quiet sound." We visually cue by putting one finger in front of our mouth, pucker our lips, and blow. The simple act of putting one finger in front of our lips causes us to naturally round them which is necessary to produce this sound correctly. Most of us do not even realize we do this. Cue with this to get lip rounding.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
What Makes a Good Language Toy? - By:  Sherry Y. Artemenko M.A., CCC-SLP

When your baby arrives, it's time to play. Since newborn babies prefer a variety of shapes, curves, angles and contrasts in light and dark, your face is his first favorite toy! He reacts as you talk to him and smile, watching your mouth, eyes and face move, casting shadows and changing expressions.

But by the time your baby reaches three months, he can see more clearly, focus on an object and is interested in a toy. You're still a favorite but now it's time to pick great toys that will enhance language. Certain features in a toy will invite more language, giving you more to talk about as you play with your baby.

Find a Friendly Face: Choose toys that have a friendly face. A rooster, a caterpillar or even an apple can all have a face, ready to engage in your baby in conversation with you. Babies are naturally attracted to faces and actually talk more to a face, especially one with lots of expression. Take on the voice for your bug or pony and talk to your baby, describing actions like eating, sitting, playing, or galloping while moving your toy. Blocks and stacking rings are great toys for building that can be animated when they have a face on them. Look for toys with a face.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: How To Tell Your Child He Has SPD 
[Source: SPD Blogger Network]

by;  Hartley Steiner

Reprinted with the express permission of the author as it originally appeared on the SPD Blogger Network, May 4, 2011

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents of children with SPD. We share it with our therapist readers here so that they might share it with the parents of their kiddos with Sensory Processing Disorder. 

A young couple walked into a support group meeting I attended the other day; holding hands, exchanging glances, and looking worried and nervous. I quickly offered them a seat next to me, and listened closely when it was their turn to introduce themselves. They had two young boys, one four and one two. Their oldest was newly diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and they were very confused. I could relate immediately - that was me five years ago.

Before long I was sharing information on resources, support organizations and what books to read. I even made suggestions on to how to help their child eat better and get a haircut without melting down. But then, the husband asked me a question I just wasn't expecting: How do I tell my child he has Sensory Processing Disorder?

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: - Evidence-Based Care Guidelines for Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy
[Source: Cincinnati Children's Hospital]

One of three children with cerebral palsy (CP) experiences hemiparesis: impairment affecting one side of the body (Himmelmann 2005 [D], Hagberg 2000 [O]). Hemiparesis is also common among children who experience traumatic brain injuries, childhood strokes, and other central nervous system conditions.

Neonatal brachial plexus injury (BPI) caused by a birth or traumatic injury to the brachial plexus (an injury of the peripheral nervous system), occurs in about 1.5 per 1000 live births.(Foad 2008 [D]) Similar to children with hemiparesis, these children often present with poor functioning of one arm while the other arm is usually without problems.

Children with impaired functioning of one of their arms can have disabling symptoms affecting play, school, and self-care. Hand and arm functioning may be affected by abnormal muscle tone and flexion synergies, decreased strength, decreased active and passive range of motion, altered sensation, and neglect (Eliasson 2006 [X]).

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

Also Worth RepeatingWhen a Child's Play Themes Are Violent
by:  Stanley Greenspan, MD

I'm concerned about some of the play themes of a 5-year-old in my program. They're often about disasters or monsters. Other times they're aggressive or about bullying. For instance, he likes to set up wooden blocks or other manipulatives, then wade through them, knocking them down while growling. I'm wondering whether the violence in his pretend dramas is normal and how to help guide him toward more friendly play.

Children often play out what's on their minds in their pretend dramas. A child's destruction of a city made of wooden blocks could simply be related to something he saw on TV or experienced at school or in the family. Or, it may just reflect the way he is feeling at the moment. In addition, children's nervous systems are organized in such a way that a child who is active and a risk-taker will naturally crave lots of sensation. This child would be attracted to risky or aggressive themes. Conversely, a more over-sensitive child, or one who overreacts to sensations such as light and sound, is more cautious and would likely choose themes having to do more with fear and caution.

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

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