January 28, 2011
Issue 1, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Hello again!  Is it spring yet?   Welcome to our first monthly issue of the new year.  It's a big one! 

I would like to welcome our newest occasional guest blogger, Sherry Artemko, CCC-SLP of 'Play on Words'.  She has written a lovely review of 'The King's Speech' from the point of view of an SLP.  Although we have covered this movie quite a bit already, I think her review is a really wonderful summary of why SLPs worldwide are so joyful about the portrayal of the profession in this movie. And now that the movie has earned so many Oscar nominations, it will be in theatres longer and will give more people a chance to learn about what you do!

Quick housekeeping comment:  In case you think we forgot, there is no "SLP Corner" this month.  Instead there are two "Pediatric Therapy Corner" features because our SLP Corner article by Tara McClintick turned out to be very 'interdisciplinary' so I felt it was important to re-name the column so everyone would read it.

I would also like to call special attention to our Bonus article this month.  Recent news about the Nintendo 3DS and the visual perception issues that may or may not result from the device, has put me in touch with several developmental optometrists.   As a result of one of these new relationships, we have a very interesting article by Lynn Hellerstein, OD on how OTs and Optometrists can collaborate.  While it is not strictly pedia-centric, we found it an excellent piece to share nonetheless.  

Without further ado, Here's what we have for you this month:

News Items:
  • Call for Books and Products to Review
  • The vGo Virtual Presence Robot
  • Fear of Dangerous Critters Learned During Infancy
  • Making ADHD Teens Better Drivers
  • 'The King's Speech' Earns 12 Oscar Nominations
  • 3-D MRI Helps Kids With ACL Tears: Surgery Without Harming the Growth Plate
  • The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard for Making an Imprint on the Brain
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Book Review:  The Big Book of Exclamations
  • Therapy Activity of the Week:  Movement Math
  • Resource: Questions for Spanish Speaking Parents About a Kiddo's Stuttering or Disfluency

Upcoming Events and CEU Opportunities:  

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech Training Institute

Articles and Blogs 

  • Pediatric Therapy Corner : Get to the Goal
  • Another Pediatric Therapy Corner:  What Therapists Mean to the Preemie Parent
  • Occupational Therapy Corner: Helping Parents Promote Fine Motor Skills
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  Why Do Children Code-Switch
  • Special Bonus Article: Collaboration Between Occupational Therapists and Optometrists
  • Q&A:  Ask the Expert - Using an Auditory Program in Your Practice
  • Guest Blog: Thrill of the Catch
  • Guest Blog: The King's Speech Enlightens About Stuttering and a Speech Therapist
  • Worth Repeating: Children Who Suffer in Silence

Please note: Much of our content here is provided by wonderful contributing authors and organizations. Please support our contributors and visit their websites. Links and bios are featured on each article! 

Have a great weekend and see you next month!
Heidi Kay, Newsletter Editor

The Career Center

The links to the right are "live" and reflect all open jobs with PediaStaff.  To further narrow your search by state use the drop down menus on the search page to select a specific state.   If a particular search is returning no hits it is Girlpossible that we do not currently have openings
for you in that state.

If any of your information (geographic, population or setting preference) has changed since we've last spoken, please let us know.   See an opening that interests you?  Just apply to that job and one of our staff will contact you right away.  

Remember, one of the things that makes PediaStaff unique is that we will actively "market" your skills to prospective employers of pediatric and school based therapists, so if you don't see a position that interests you make sure you let us know what you are looking for.
Speech Language Pathologist and SLPA Jobs

Occupational Therapist and COTA Jobs

Physical Therapist and PTA Jobs

School Psychologist Jobs

We Need You - To Recommend Books and Products for Review by PediaStaff
We are getting a great response to our efforts this year start reviewing products and books of interest to pediatric and school based-therapists.  We especially like to help promote books and products created by individual therapists and small companies looking to share their knowledge and ideas with others.  

PediaStaff needs you to recommend some items that you would like to see reviewed in these pages.   If you have an idea of a product that would be great for us to review (perhaps you even wrote the book or invented the product), please email Heidi Kay at   We do not pay our reviewers and instead ask for a complementary sample of the item that our reviewer can keep for their time and consideration.  

Thanks!  We look forward to hearing from you!
Robots in Education in the News - The vGo Virtual Presence Robot
Thank you to our PediaStaff recruiter Vicki Hill who found this article and brought it to our attention!

[Source: CNN]

Editor's Note: Although this story is not about a child with the types of diagnoses most of us work with as pediatric therapists, this is fascinating technology that might have a place for our kiddos with acute issues that might prevent them from being physically in the classroom.

Into the inbox comes another great link to a story about Lyndon Baty who suffers from Polycystic Kidney Disease and has virtually no immune system. Instead of staying at home, avoiding interaction, vGo is affording Lyndon the chance to be present with his classmates in his high school.

Watch this Video News Story Through a Link on our Blog
Child Psychology in the News: Fear of Dangerous Critters Learned During Infancy

There's a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren't born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly.

One theory about why we fear spiders and snakes is because so many are poisonous; natural selection may have favored people who stayed away from these dangerous critters. Indeed, several studies have found that it's easier for both humans and monkeys to learn to fear evolutionarily threatening things than non-threatening things. For example, research by Arne Ohman at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, you can teach people to associate an electric shock with either photos

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News - Making ADHD Teens Better Drivers

Gregory A. Fabiano, UB associate professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, has already established a therapeutic program that not only helps these teens become better drivers but also builds better relationship with their parents.

Now, thanks to a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Fabiano will extend his already successful program to other teens and their families, therapy that includes dramatic demonstrations of the unforgiving and often dramatic dangers of texting while driving.

"We had worked with children with ADHD for a long time at the university," says Fabiano, a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor for professionals at the early stages of their independent scientific research careers. "And as those kids grew up, we heard concerns from parents about the transition to independent driving

Read the Rest of this Article and Watch a Video Through a Link on our Blog
Speech Language Pathology in the News - The King's Speech Honored with 12 Oscar Nominations Including all the Biggies
More great news for 'The King's Speech' means more publicity for our profession!  'The King's Speech' has earned 12 Oscar nominations including nods for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay and several others!

Read the Full List of Nominations Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Orthopedics in the News - 3-D MRI Helps Kids With ACL Tears: Surgery Without Harming the Growth Plate
[Source: Science]

New technology has made it possible for surgeons to reconstruct ACL tears in young athletes without disturbing the growth plate.

John Xerogeanes, MD, chief of the Emory Sports Medicine Center, and colleagues in the laboratory of Allen R. Tannenbaum, PhD, professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, have developed 3-D MRI technology that allows surgeons to pre-operatively plan and perform anatomic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery.

ACL tears are one of the most common injuries in children who participate in sports including football, basketball, soccer and gymnastics. Traditional treatment for ACL injuries in kids has been rehabilitation, wearing a brace and staying out of athletics until the child stops growing - usually in the mid-teens - and ACL reconstruction surgery could then safely be performed.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handwriting in the News - Pen Mightier Than Keyboard for Making Imprint on Brain
[Source: BusinessWeek - HealthDay]

As keyboards increasingly replace pens, new research cautions that the switch may come with an unforeseen price: the loss of critical brain activity central to learning that is uniquely tied to the old-fashioned act of handwriting.

The concern stems from the results of a number of experiments recently reviewed by a pair of researchers in France and Norway, who concluded that writing by hand is actually a very different sensory experience than typing on a keyboard, with each activating distinctly different parts of the brain.

Read the Rest of this Story Through a Link on our Blog
Child Psychology Research in the News - Teen Brains Over-Process Rewards, Suggesting Root of Risky Behavior, Mental Ills

University of Pittsburgh researchers have recorded neuron activity in adolescent rat brains that could reveal the biological root of the teenage propensity to consider rewards over consequences and explain why adolescents are more vulnerable to drug addiction, behavioral disorders, and other psychological ills.

The team reports in the Journal of Neuroscience that electrode recordings of adult and adolescent brain-cell activity during the performance of a reward-driven task show that adolescent brains react to rewards with far greater excitement than adult brains. This frenzy of stimulation occurred with varying intensity throughout the study along with a greater degree of disorganization in adolescent brains. The brains of adult rats, on the other hand, processed their prizes with a consistent balance of excitation and inhibition.

Read the Rest of this Story Through a Link on our Blog
Upcoming Educational Opportunity - Childhood Apraxia of Speech "Boot Camp" 
Applications are due February 15th, 2011 for this very selective opportunity!

Childhood Apraxia of Speech Intensive Training Institute, July 28-31, 2011 at Duquesne University.

The goal of this four-day intensive training opportunity is to provide a small, select group of experienced pediatric speech-language pathologists with advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Expert faculty will guide approximately 40 hours of training and will mentor small groups of participants in order to develop advanced clinical thinking, skills and competencies with this very challenging population. For successful completion, participants will be required to attend all training sessions and case reviews, demonstrate proficiency on an exam, and submit an adequate post-training case study video/discussion. Those who successfully complete all requirements will receive recognition of their competence.

Structure of Training:
A four day course curriculum has been developed by and with the input of CAS expert clinicians from the CASANA Professional Advisory Board. The overall instructional aim is to provide participants with an in-depth,

Read More About this Opportunity Through a Link on our Blog
Book Review - "The Big Book of Exclamations" by Teri Peterson
Review Written for PediaStaff by Anne Coady M.S. CCC-SLP

"The Big Book of Exclamations" by Teri K. Peterson and illustrated by Chris McAllister is a wonderful book to help caregivers create interactive reading experiences with young children. Peterson, a speech-language pathologist, specializes in pediatric speech pathology. She has produced a book that promotes speech sound and language development including imitation of gestures, sounds, and words. The combination of prompts and engaging pictures offer parents and teachers an easy way to support speech-language development for infants and toddlers.
Therapy Activity of the Week - Movement Math

Thanks to Your Therapy Source with this week's Activity of the Week. I particularly like this one because it's one you can share with your colleagues in the math department to spread the word about how important it is to get kids moving!

Purpose: Practice sensory motor skills while reinforcing math concepts. This is a great in class energy release.

Materials: math flash cards, dice

Activity #1 - Flash Card Fun for a Group: Have the group sit or stand in a circle. Create one rule for the group to start. For example, if the answer is correct everyone should clap hands and if the answer is incorrect everyone should jump in place. Pick a student to go first. Hold up a flash card. Student responds verbally with the answer to the math problem.
Therapist Resource of the Week:  - Questions for Spanish Speaking Parents About a Kiddo's Stuttering or Disfluency
As I have mentioned in the past, Judith Kuster hosted a session at the most recent ASHA convention called "Internet Gold." Here is another one of her great resources!

Disfluencies/Stuttering Questions for the Parents - from Spanish Phrasing for SLPs is a wonderful set of questions in Spanish, that SLPs can use when visiting with the Spanish speaking parents of their kiddos.

The resource is an excerpt from a now out of print book of questions called Spanish Phrasing for SLPs by Dorothy Miranda Esckelson and Adulfa Aguirre Morales, but she obtained permission from the author to reprint the section on questions for disfluency and stuttering on her website for your free access.

Check out this Resource Through a Link on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner - Get to the Goal
By: Tara McClintick

One of the most important aspects of working with children who have special needs is working towards goals. When progress towards a goal isn't made, it can be discouraging (to say the least!) The following is an example of an experience I had during my first years of teaching with Sean. Sean was a 5 year old not yet verbal boy diagnosed with autism:

Sean "Speaks" Towards the end of the school year, we went to the bathroom once again to work on Sean's hand-washing goal. Every day the scenario looked something like this: Sean would come out from using the bathroom and approach the sink. I would say "Reach for the faucet" which Sean did, hesitantly. Each time he'd briefly touch the faucet, then immediately draw his hand back and rub his hands together. I'd say, "turn it" and show him by turning the faucet on, then turning it back off. I'd instruct him again "reach and turn it." He'd repeat the same hesitant touch while looking towards the floor, appearing hyped and anxious rubbing his hands together. Usually what occurred next is I'd physically hand- over -hand help Sean move through each step, telling him what to do. Not today. We'd done this all year. Today, I wanted him to at least get through step two independently. I decided to get firm. "Sean, TURN the faucet!" I said as sternly as possible. As always he touched and drew back. "C'mon Sean, you have to TURN IT!" I barked, my annoyance obvious. His response sent a chill through my soul. Sean looked straight up at me with wide, serious eyes piercing through his thick glasses and slapped himself across the face quite hard. What he could not say with words was very clear to me that day, "Listen, lady, I'm doing the best I can here. Sorry if it's not good enough to please you."

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Another Pediatric Therapy Corner: What Therapists Mean to the Preemie Parent
By: By: Deb Discenza

Between Early Intervention, ChildFind and Special Education services, preemie parents get to know the therapeutic community well. With so much effort going into helping their child thrive, parents would like you to know the inside scoop on what you do for them every day.

What We Love About You

We love the way you greet our family at each visit. Your positive attitude does so much to instill confidence in us. We may be struggling with a new diagnosis or trying to put on a brave face for family and friends who don't understand. But your welcoming attitude reminds us that we matter in a world that still focuses heavily on perfection.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: Helping Parents Promote Fine Motor Skills
By: Barbara Smith, OTR/L

 As a school-based occupational therapist, I have often wondered whether certain children-the ones who lacked a clear diagnosis and were obviously bright would have had fine-motor delays if they grew up in a sensory- motor rich home environment. I am talking about the students who refuse to paint because they hate getting dirty, know more about controlling a Game Boy than a crayon and have flat hand arches because they never squeezed play dough or ripped paper to make a collage.

Some environmentally at risk children receive occupational therapy services that include parent training as part of an early intervention program. Other children may not have their fine-motor delays identified until entering preschool, Head Start or kindergarten. Many parents don't know the ages children typically develop motor milestones so are not concerned when their toddler cannot use a pincer grasp, a three-year old does not scribble or five- year-old cannot snip with scissors. I wrote my soon to be released book- From Rattles to Writing: A Parent's Guide to Hand Skills (Published by Therapro, Inc.) for parents of all children so that they can learn about typical sensory and visual-motor development and the activities that promote them. However, parents of children with disabilities will benefit from the many adaptations I describe that make learning easier.

Please Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Q&A - Using an Auditory Program in your Practice
By: the Staff at Integrated Listening Systems

If I am considering integrating an auditory component to my OT or SLP practice, what questions should I be asking? Is the additional investment worth it? How do I know which auditory program to choose?

We've asked Sarah Schoen, PhD, OTR for her thoughts on the topic. Dr. Schoen is Director of Applied Research at SPD Foundation and teaches the auditory component of the Mentorship training.

Why do you combine an auditory program with OT at STAR?


I think the rationale behind using an auditory program is that it's a sensory system we haven't adequately tapped in our OT approach. In addition, we have many children with auditory issues, for which the auditory program is beneficial.

In what areas do find an auditory program most helpful?


I should preface my answer with the caveat that since we use the 2 methods together - OT and auditory training - it's hard to attribute attribute gains to just one or the other. The gains we see are from the combination. Generally speaking we see motor and language gains, improvements in organization and attention. I think what's really important about those gains is that we are seeing them in a shorter period of time. They are accelerated from what we might see otherwise. In some cases we learn from parents of changes in academic abilities such as math and reading. We also get reports from parents of improved sleep patterns, self-regulation and self-confidence. 


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism - Why Do Children Code Switch?
By: Ellen Stubbe Kester and Alejandro Brice

There has been a lot of recent attention to the topic of code-switching. Code-switching is defined as a switch from one language to another in a single discourse. It is often misunderstood as a bilingual's lack of understanding of either language. However, both early and recent research suggest that code-switching is used for a variety of functions, is rule-based, and is indicative of sociolinguistic competency.

Code-switching is a natural part of being bilingual, allowing bilinguals to draw on their resources of both linguistic codes at once (Palmer, 2009). Palmer's research encourages teachers to allow conversational code-switches, yet set expectations for students to produce monolingual spoken and written texts where appropriate. In a study with 4-to-6-year-old bilingual children, Vu and colleagues (Vu, Bailey, & Howes, 2010), found that many instances of code-switching were sociopragmatic in nature. For example, they found that children code-switched to try to gain the interviewer's attention or to change speaking roles. This suggests that these young children have the facility to use their two languages strategically for both linguistic and nonlinguistic purposes from a very early age. This is consistent with

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Special Bonus Article: Collaboration Between Occupational Therapists and Optometrists
by: Lynn Fishman Hellerstein, OD and Beth Fishman, OTR/L

Editor's Note: This article was published specifically for a journal.  The author has given us express permission to feature it in our newsletter, but we must link to most vs. print it all here, as the journal owns the rights.

Abstract: Many occupational therapists have close professional ties to optometrists because of their common philosophy and exposure to similar patient population. The greatest advantage of collaboration between the occupational therapist and optometrist is the opportunity to provide the most appropriate and efficient treatment for patients with special needs who also have vision dysfunction. A collaborative model for visual screening, evaluation, and management between the occupational therapist and the optometrist is presented in this article.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: SpeechTechie, Play On Words
The Thrill of the Catch:  By: Sean Sweeney

I was never a fisherman, but Thrill of the Catch from Discovery Education is a really fun resource. The site allows you to create a fish from a chosen species, release him into the lake, then do some fishin'! It's really easy and not frustrating to catch fish, and then you just "throw them back" after finding out their names and who created them. The site also allows you to move to different areas of the lake and on to advanced boats.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
The King's Speech Enlightens About Stuttering and a Speech Therapist - By:  Sherry Y. Artemenko.

Editor's Note: I know we have been talking about this movie a lot, but I thought that this blog post was especially interesting to share because it addresses questions many of us (who are not SLPs) have regarding the therapy techniques demonstrated in the movie. Talking to author today she also commented "I was actually most taken by the kindness and relationship the SLP had with the king-much like we have to forge with a good client-therapist relationship."

I just saw "The King's Speech" last night. It was every bit as good as everyone said it would be. Of course I had an added interest in the story since I am a speech therapist and wondered how stuttering would be depicted and what character would be portrayed as the therapist. I was pleased on all counts.

As far at the movie's treatment of the subject of stuttering:

Even though some of the "tricks" that Lionel proposed to increase the king's fluency

Read the Rest of this Guest Post Through a Link on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Children Who Suffer in Silence
By: Jean Jardine Miller

Despite the greater understanding created by significant research during the last decade, children with selective mutism are still, far too often, misdiagnosed. The inability to speak is attributed to shyness, developmental delay, learning disabilities or autism. Worse, children are accused of being defiant, oppositional, manipulative or insolent. They are alternately punished and bribed.

Their school life becomes a nightmare as they are made to repeat grades or attend inappropriate special education classes. And their parents undergo suspicion, or sometimes even charges, of child abuse. And, we'll point out right here and now, that there is absolutely no evidence that the selective mutism is caused by abuse or neglect by parents.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
The PediaStaff Website - is "Not Just for Job Searching Anymore"
If you haven't been to the our website lately you are in for a treat.  Not only have we completely redesigned it and added a whole lot of great information about our company, services and philosophy but we are stuffing it jam packed with fantastic pediatric and school based therapy resources for you and your staff to use everyday.  

There you will find links to resources, organizations and websites on topics in pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapy including dozens of articles and videos.  Topics are organized by therapy discipline and include Stuttering, Bilingualism, Autism, Down Syndrome, Pediatric Stroke,  Oral Motor Issues, Speech Language Delay and much more.   All articles and videos are resident on our site.  No abstracts, no fees.  

We hope you enjoy it!  It is still very much a work in progress, but we think there is enough there to suggest that you check it out at your earliest convenience. 

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