weekly header

June 10, 2011
Issue 18, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Hello and Happy Friday!   

Welcome to our weekly edition!  We would like to introduce a new guest blogger, Shelley Mannel to these pages.   Shelley is a registered physical therapist with a private practice in Canada.  I am sure you will enjoy her posts as we do.  Thanks for coming on board, Shelley! 

News Items: 
  • Children of Divorce Score Worse in Math, Social Skills  
  • Rett Syndrome Re-Created in Adult Model  
  • Adapting Live Theatre for Children with Autism 
  • Automated Sign Language Translater Adds Gestures to Subtitles  
  • Study: Attention Different from Awareness   
  • Lefties More Gifted?  Study Suggests Its a Myth 
  • Autism Experts Urge Reform of US Chemicals Law 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Outdoor Bingo  
  • Articulation Activity - Fun with Phobias! 
  • OTseeker

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: Every Motor Event is a Sensory Event First 
  • Guest Blog: Developing Attention, Listening and Memory Skills 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Can a Passive Standing Program Improve Bone Density? 
  • Worth Repeating: What is the Role of Audition in Literacy
  • Also Worth Repeating: Multiple Sclerosis in Children                                                              
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Social Skills/Anxiety in the News:  Children of Divorce Score Worse in Math, Social Skills
[Source: Reuters/MSNBC]

Children of divorced parents often fall behind their classmates in math and social skills and are more likely to suffer anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, according to a new study.

Researcher Hyun Sik Kim, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the study showed that the detrimental effects on the children do not start until after the parents begin divorce proceedings.

"People tend to think that couples go through intense marital conflict before the divorce," Kim, a PhD candidate in sociology, he said in a statement.

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

Rett Syndrome Research in the News:  Rett Syndrome Re-Created in Adult Model
[Source: International Rett Syndrome Foundation]

An IRSF funded study published today in the journal 'Science' has shown that the childhood disorder Rett syndrome, can be reestablished in adult animals by "switching off" a critical disease causing gene in healthy adult animals. The gene was "switched off" in adult mice by use of a sophisticated genetic trick, resulting in the appearance of behaviors typically seen in Rett syndrome. The leading author Christopher McGraw, MD/PhD student, carried out the study in the laboratory of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, a renowned neuroscientist based at Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston TX.

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

Autism in the News: Adapting Live Theatre for Children with Autism 
[Source: NY Times]

When Lisa E. Cooney, director of education for the Paper Mill Playhouse, called a meeting last November to discuss the particulars of "Stone Soup and Other Stories," a children's show to be presented June 11, there was crying at the conference table.

The attendees moved to tears were two Maplewood mothers who had contacted Paper Mill, in Millburn, last spring about adapting a show for autistic children, said Ms. Cooney, 45, of Woodbridge.

"Just the idea that we were asking, 'What can we do to help prepare your kids for this performance? How can we be helpful?' meant so much to them that they got very emotional," she said. "These are people who would love to bring their children out, but they hold back."

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Sign Language in the News:  Automated Sign Language Translater Adds Gestures to Subtitles
Thanks to our Twitter friend @DebTruskey for telling us about this cool story!

[Source: Engadget.com]

We've seen quite a few devices designed to help hearing impaired users communicate via phone or computer, but Japan's NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories has just announced a new animated translation system to help get important news to deaf viewers . While televised subtitles may work for those who understand the language, people who were born deaf and learned sign language from an early age can have significantly more difficulty. NHK's system, unveiled at Technology Open House 2011, bypasses this problem by automatically comparing Japanese text to sign language, converting equivalent words into animated onscreen gestures, and replacing differing words with appropriate synonyms.

Read the Rest of this Article and a YouTube Demo on our Blog
Attention in the News: Study: Attention Different from Awareness
[Source: ScienceDaily.com]

Paying attention to something and being aware of it seem like the same thing -they both involve somehow knowing the thing is there. However, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that these are actually separate; your brain can pay attention to something without you being aware that it's there.

"We wanted to ask, can things attract your attention even when you don't see them at all?" says Po-Jang Hsieh, of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and MIT. He co-wrote the study with Jaron T. Colas and Nancy Kanwisher of MIT. Usually, when people pay attention to something, they also become aware of it; in fact, many psychologists assume these two concepts are inextricably linked. But more evidence has suggested that's not the case.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handedness in the News: Lefties More Gifted? Study Suggests Its a Myth
[Source: ScienceAlert.com]

Left-handed people consistently perform worse than right-handed people in measures of cognitive ability, or IQ, with the 'level of disability' equivalent to being prematurely born.

This is the finding of a recent study led by Professor Mike Nicholls (pictured), newly-appointed Director of the Brain and Cognition Laboratory in Flinders University's School of Psychology, which dispels the common myth that left-handed people are more likely to be gifted.

"The evidence, based on our analyses of very large databases of handedness and other attributes in people across Australia, the UK and the USA, doesn't bear out that myth," Professor Nicholls said.

"Our study of members of the same family confirms that left-handed children will do worse than their right-handed siblings," he said.
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: Autism Experts Urge Reform of US Chemicals Law
[Source: Environment News Service via the Autism News]

Environmental health and autism experts Tuesday called for reform of the outdated U.S. law regulating chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

They warned that the recent sharp rise in autism is likely due, in part, to the cocktail of toxic chemicals that pregnant women, fetuses, babies and young children encounter.

"Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe. With some complex combination of insults, little brains reach a tipping point," warned Donna Ferullo, director of program research at The Autism Society, told reporters on a conference call convened by the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Outdoor Bingo 
Special Thanks to Your Therapy Source for this week's Therapy Activity of the Week. Please support our contributors and visit Your Therapy Source


Check out this Great Outdoor Activity on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Articulation Activity - Fun with Phobias
Special Thanks to Erik Raj of the Artic Brain blog for this week's activity of the week. Please support our contributors and visit Artic Brain!

I'm not sure if Homeworkphobia is a "real" phobia, but I'm starting to think it has to be because some of my students consistently come up with the most hilarious excuses for not doing their speech homework. You name it, I've heard it. Here is an example of one I heard today from a 2nd grader, "I left my speech homework at Toys R Us."

(Why would he possibly want to bring his homework to a toy store? I'd like to think it's because my worksheets are just THAT fun hehe!)

Here is a great little articulation activity I like to do with with my 3rd and 4th graders. I looked up phobias online at a site called PhobiaList. There are thousands of phobias out there and they are usually kinda tricky to articulate. I collected some that had my students' target sound in them and we had a blast trying to properly pronounce the words. Here were some of our favorites:


Learn More About this Clever Activity on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: OTseeker
OTseeker is a database that contains abstracts of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy. Trials have been critically appraised and rated to assist you to evaluate their validity and interpretability.

These ratings will help you to judge the quality and usefulness of trials for informing clinical interventions. In one database, OTseeker provides you with fast and easy access to trials from a wide range of sources.


Check out this Resource Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: HeartSpace PT, Down Syndrome Centre   
Every Motor Event is a Sensory Event First - By:  Shelley Mannell, PT

Often we tend to think of voluntary motor tasks as events involving the musculoskeletal system and the motor control system. But long before the motor task comes into being, there is a plan for the motor task. And long before the plan for the task is the sense of where our body is in space and the sense of midline is for our body. This is where the sensory systems come into play for postural control. It is our postural control that allows us to keep our balance during that voluntary motor task.

There are 3 senses that are hugely important to postural control/balance - proprioception, vestibular and vision.

Vision: our visual sense not only registers the characteristics of the object but also where it is in space in relation to our body.

Proprioception: the sense of where our body is in space, as registered by our joint and muscle receptors.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Developing Attention, Listening and Memory Skills - By:  Marinet vanVuren

What do you mean by developing 'attention'?
Attention is 'the ability to focus on, stay interested in and respond to the things we see, feel, hear and experience'.

Why is it important?

It is not unusual for young children to have a short span of attention. Working on 'attention' aims to extend the time a child is able to concentrate on, or attend to, one activity. A good attention span will help children learn and understand language more easily.

There are a few steps involved in developing attention in young babies:

First, the child has to show visual regard. This means that the child watches for a few seconds when a voice, sound or object is present. In the next developmental step, the child will be able to focus on the voice, sound, or object. This means that the child will pay extremely close attention to the activity, person or object. The last step is when the child responds to the voice, sound or object. This can be through reaching (it may initially be accidental, but over time child learns to reach with a purpose), smiling/crying or vocalising in response to the stimulus.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Can a Passive Standing Program Improve Bone Density?  
by:  Ginny Paleg, PT

The evidence linking passive standing and bone density is the strongest we found in our systematic review. While the data can be divided and analyzed in many ways, clinically the delineation between those that used traditional standing equipment and those that incorporated whole body vibration or oscillating standers seemed uniquely important. Whole body vibration (WBV) is a new application and while we found some promising literature, it is not widely accepted in mainstream Physical Therapy practice. The oscillating stander is also not commercially available or used in clinical practice.

We located ten studies that looked at passive standing and bone density in patient populations with diagnoses of neuromuscular dysfunction.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: - What is the Role of Audition in Literacy
Geffner, D. (2005, September 27). The ASHA Leader.

Over the years, it has become clear to me that hearing plays an important role in the acquisition of early literacy skills, particularly when one considers the relationships among phonological awareness, temporal integration, the impact of training, and the effects of deprivation, such as early otitis media, on the auditory system. This article will focus on the interrelationships among hearing, phonological processing, reading, and dyslexia, as linked by definitions, neuroanatomy, and neuroimaging.


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

Also Worth Repeating - Multiple Sclerosis in Children
by: Jean Marie B. Ahorro, MD


Multiple sclerosis (MS) in children is being recognized with increasing frequency. The first descriptions of MS in children were published by Charcot between 1829 and 1849, though it was not for another 50 years that MS in children was again described in the literature (Hanefeld, 2007). There are now several national programs focused on the research and clinical management of children with MS. Recently, an International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study group was constituted with the goal of fostering collaborative efforts (for more information, email: info@ipmssg.org).

Demographics and Epidemiology of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
How common is MS in children?  Analysis suggests that 2% to 5% of all patients with MS are diagnosed before their 16th birthday (Ness et al., 2007). These estimates, however, are based on retrospective review of established adult MS populations and may underestimate the true prevalence of the disease in the pediatric population. The annual average incidence of a first demyelinating event in Canadian children is 0.9/100,000, but has been reported as lower in other parts of the world (Banwell et al., 2007; Pohl, 2008). The incidence of MS diagnosis following an acute demyelinating event is the subject of ongoing research.

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

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