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April 22, 2011
Issue 13, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Hello and Happy Friday!   

Last week we reported that PBS was doing an in depth look at Autism.   This week we have the four of the episodes in our newsletter.   I am sure you will agree, that they are very well done, indeed.

Here is our weekly offering for you!  Have a great holiday weekend!
 
News Items: 
  • Parts One Through Four - PBS Series Autism Now - Complete Videos  
  • Phonetic Clues Hint Language Is Africa-Born   
  • Premature Birth Tied to Increased Risk of ADHD 
  • Screening Begins For Active Ingredients For The Treatment Of Batten Disease  
  • Childhood Music Lessons May Provide Lifelong Boost in Brain Functioning
  • New Data Shows Half of All Children with Autism Wander and Bolt from Safe Places  
  • Andrew Wakefield Still Fighting a Public Fight for His Credibility  
  • Feel Good Story of the Week:  College Student Finds Therapy Through Acting
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • An Operetta for Picky Eaters 
  • Drawing with Alternative Materials 
  • Free Parent/Teacher Handouts 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: Reflections while studying for the PCS Exam 
  • Guest Blog: Teaching Honesty to People With Aspergers and other Social Language Challenges  
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: What's the Difference? Clinic-Based Versus School-Based Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy?
  • Worth Repeating: 'Helpful Hints for Those Working with a Speech Pathologist' - (Editor's Note: This is REALLY Funny)  
  • Also Worth Repeating: When Should You Tell a Child They Have Asperger's?                                                                
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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:  Parts One Through Four : PBS Series Autism Now
Episode: Autism Now: Meet Nick, Robert MacNeil's Grandson

In the first of six reports in his Autism series, former NewsHour anchor Robert MacNeil takes viewers on a visit with his 6-year-old grandson, Nick, to see how autism affects the whole family. Nick experiences autism not just as a brain-development disorder, but also as physical ailments affecting his whole body.

Watch Part One (Entire Segment) on our Blog

Episode: Autism Now: Exploring the 'Phenomenal' Increase in U.S. Prevalence


In the second report in his Autism Now series, Robert MacNeil investigates why the number of children with autism is increasing in the U.S. MacNeil meets children at different points on the autism spectrum and gets several views on the increase in prevalence -- from better diagnosis to a variety of environmental factors.

Watch Part Two (Entire Segment) on our Blog

Episode:  Autism's Causes: How Close Are We to Solving the Puzzle?

 

The rise in the number of reported autism cases has caused a surge in research to find the causes. For the latest thinking, Robert MacNeil speaks with four leading researchers about the issue. It's part three of the Autism Now series of reports.  

 

Watch Part Three (Entire Segment) on our Blog

 

Episode:  Demand for Educational Resources for Children Outstrips the Supply  

 

For public school systems, the demand for special educational and treatment resources for children with autism often outpaces what is available. In the fourth report in his Autism Now series, Robert MacNeil looks at how two schools in the New York City area handle teaching children and teens with autism.  

 

Watch Part Four (Entire Segment) on our Blog

Origins of Modern Language in the News: Phonetic Clues Hint Language Is Africa-Born   
Thank You to our friends at Healing Thresholds for the heads up on this fascinating article.

[Source: New York Times]

A researcher analyzing the sounds in languages spoken around the world has detected an ancient signal that points to southern Africa as the place where modern human language originated.

The finding fits well with the evidence from fossil skulls and DNA that modern humans originated in Africa. It also implies, though does not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of considerable controversy among linguists.

The detection of such an ancient signal in language is surprising. Because words change so rapidly, many linguists think that languages cannot be traced very far back in time. The oldest language tree so far reconstructed, that of the Indo-European family, which includes English, goes back 9,000 years at most.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News:  Premature Birth Tied to Increased Risk of ADHD
[Source: Reuters]

Researchers found that babies born as little as three weeks before their due dates had an elevated risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The findings suggest that mothers considering scheduling cesarean births a few weeks early reconsider and deliver as close to term as possible, the authors say.

People with ADHD have trouble paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviors, and can be treated with behavioral therapy or medication.   The condition is diagnosed in about three to five percent of school-aged children in the United States.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed a Swedish database of more than a million children aged 6 to 19 years; 7,506 of them had received a prescription for ADHD medication.

The children born extremely prematurely - between 23 and 28 weeks of pregnancy - were most at risk of later developing ADHD, with their chances being two and a half times greater than a baby born at full term (after 39 weeks).

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Batten Disease in the News: Screening Begins For Active Ingredients For The Treatment Of Batten Disease
[Source: Medical News Today]

It is a rare disease with devastating consequences: Around first grade, the children start experiencing vision impairments, which two to three years later progress to complete blindness. This is the first indication of a progressive destruction of brain cells. Later on, the patients experience hallucinations, epileptic seizures, dementia and, finally, failure of all motor abilities. In this last stage, the immobile patients must be artificially ventilated. To date, there is no therapy for Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis (JNCL, also called Batten disease), so patients pass away in their teens or twenties. Four years ago, the working group lead by Dr. Mika Ruonala started their research at the Center for Membrane Proteomics of the Goethe University to study the consequences of the underlying genetic defect on the whole complex network of cellular proteins., In the meantime, by studying a JNCL mouse model with a novel method of fluorescence microscopy the scientists have detected several 'biomarkers' that can now be used in search for screening for potentially active drugs in cooperation with the Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
The Role of Music Study on the Brain in the News: Childhood Music Lessons May Provide Lifelong Boost in Brain Functioning
[Source: Medical Express.com]

Those childhood music lessons could pay off decades later - even for those who no longer play an instrument - by keeping the mind sharper as people age, according to a preliminary study published by the American Psychological Association.

The study recruited 70 healthy adults age 60 to 83 who were divided into groups based on their levels of musical experience. The musicians performed better on several cognitive tests than individuals who had never studied an instrument or learned how to read music. The research findings were published online in the APA journal Neuropsychology.

   

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
More Autism in the News: New Data Shows Half of All Children with Autism Wander and Bolt from Safe Places
[Source: Newswise.com]

Today (April 20, 2011) , the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), www.ianproject.org, the nation's largest online autism research project, reveals the preliminary results of the first major survey on wandering and elopement among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and announces the launch of a new research survey on the association between pregnancy factors and ASD. The wandering and elopement survey found that approximately half of parents of children with autism report that their child elopes, with the behavior peaking at age four. Among these families, nearly 50% say that their child went missing long enough to cause significant concern about safety.

"This survey is the first research effort to scientifically validate that elopement is a critical safety issue for the autism community," said Dr. Paul Law, Director of the IAN Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "We hope that advocates and policy makers use this research to implement key safety measures to support these families and keep these children safe."

   

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
More Autism in the News: Andrew Wakefield Still Fighting a Public Fight for His Credibility
[Source: The New York Times]

As people streamed into Graceview Baptist Church in Tomball, Tex., early one Saturday morning in January, two armed guards stood prominently just inside the doorway of the sanctuary. Their eyes scanned the room and returned with some frequency to a man sitting near the aisle, whom they had been hired to protect.

The man, Andrew Wakefield, dressed in a blazer and jeans and peering through reading glasses, had a mild professorial air. He tapped at a laptop as the room filled with people who came to hear him speak; he looked both industrious and remote. Broad-shouldered and fair at 54, he still has the presence of the person he once was: a conventional winner, the captain of his medical school's rugby team, the head boy at the private school he attended in England. Wakefield was a high-profile but controversial figure in gastroenterology research at the Royal Free Hospital in London when, in 1998, he upended his career path - and more significant, the best-laid plans of public-health officials - by announcing at a press conference that he had concerns about the safety of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (M.M.R.) and its relationship to the onset of autism.
  
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week: College Student Finds Therapy Through Acting
[Source: the SUNY Leader]

According to the dictionary, a stutter can be defined as "distorted speech characterized principally by blocks or spasms interrupting the rhythm." In the United States alone, over three million people are affected by this disorder says the Stuttering Foundation of America. While this may be a reason for some to be shy or anti-social, often times this isn't the case. Many other people find ways to overcome this impairment. Through classes, practice and other methods they prevent this from hindering their lives. You probably wouldn't think that theater and acting would be a potential solution; but one student here at Fredonia found this worked for him.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Resource of the Week: An Operetta for Picky Eaters
Special Thanks to Melanie Potok of My Munch Bug for the link to this fun YouTube Video Celebrating Food.  

Enjoy this Video with your favorite picky eater!

Watch 'A Peas Operetta' on our Blog

Therapy Activity of the Week: Drawing with Alternative Materials 
Special Thanks to Pamela Ullmann and her Full Spectrum blog for this week's Therapy Activity of the Week.

Some children on the spectrum seek sensory input when I work with them in art therapy. One client that I work with can not use tradition drawing materials for any focused amount of time. I have found that there are other ways to "draw" images that keep him engaged better.

Wiki sticks (above) are thin, bendable waxy materials that stick to surfaces and each other. We have been able to use them in image making quite successfully. This child loves the "stickiness" of the sticks and it encourages him to explore twisting and shaping them to create images on the paper. The sticks can be cut as well to help manage details in picture making. What is wonderful about this method, is that I am able to help the child learn some basic drawing skills; while at the same time engaging him and adapting to his sensory needs.

See Pictures of Pam's Great Ideas and More Tips on our Blog
Therapy Resource of the Week: Free Parent/Teacher Handouts 
Special Thanks to our friend Jourdan of Future SLPs for the heads up on this great resource for therapists to share with parents/guardians.

Below are some great websites to distribute to parents/teachers if they want to find out more information on a specific topic or general information regarding speech and language development. It is important to have handouts that provide information in a format that is quick and easy to read.

Handouts on Super Duper
FREE online, informational newsletters for teachers and parents. In order to download the handouts you have to sign up for a free account. This website also allows you to type keywords into a search box and it pulls up a list of articles related to the keywords that you typed. Some of the handouts are available in Spanish as well.

Handouts are related to the following topics: ~AAC ~Articulation and Phonology ~Auditory Processing and Listening~Autism~Basic Concepts~Describing~Questioning & Sequencing~Grammar and Syntax~Hearing and Sign Language~IEPs and Testing~Occupational and Physical Therapy~Oral-Motor and Apraxia~Parent Resources~Phonics~PreReading and Reading~Social Skills~Special Education and LD~Speech & Language Therapy~Vocabulary

Learn About More Great Parent/Teacher Handout Pages
Guest Blogs This Week: Kid PT, SLC Therapy   
Reflections while Studying for the PCS Exam - By:  Joni Redlich, DPT

The past several months I spent every extra moment I had studying. I took an exam on Saturday to obtain the credential Pediatric Certified Specialist. During every patient cancellation, after my daughter went to bed, and another other time I could grab was put towards learning everything I could about the field that I have devoted myself to professionally over the past 11 years. Along the way I learned a lot of new things, sometimes a small detail, sometimes familiarizing myself with a diagnosis I have not see in person (you tube was an awesome resource since I'm a visual learner), and other times a reflection on my personal life and professional practice. I thought I would share some of these things today.I am amazed at how much goes right with our amazing bodies.
  • I am amazed that for most of us our bones strengthen when stressed, our bodies take immediate action to heal when we bleed, and we literally move through our lives
Read the Rest of this Guest Article on our Blog
Teaching Honesty to People With Aspergers and other Social Language Challenges - By:  Landria Seals Green, M.A., CCC-SLP

For as long as I can remember, the very popular phrase "Honesty is the Best Policy". While there are many others, I remember hearing this one frequently in classrooms, in church, and at home. It is true, honesty equals peace. And peace is priceless. Recently on a listserve to which I belong the question was posed "Do we Teach Honesty is the Best Policy" to people with social language challenges such as Aspergers. The person who posed the question went on to illustrate how this particular population may be too honest when following this rule based policy regarding honesty. While it is true that honesty does not always make everyone feel comfortable, it is needed.

So my emotional, personal, and professional answer to the question "Do we Teach Honesty is the Best Policy?" is a resounding Yes!

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: What's the Difference? Clinic-Based Versus School-Based Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy?
by: Stephanie LaBandz, PT

Editor's Note: This blog post was written primarily for parents, but it may be useful to you when explaining the difference between school and clinic based services to the parents' of your kiddos.

A child with motor or sensory impairments may benefit from skilled Physical or Occupational Therapy intervention. The way the need for services is determined and how the services are delivered vary based on whether services are delivered in a medical or educational setting.

Who Qualifies?
In the medical or clinical setting a child receives therapeutic intervention based on some combination of physician recommendation, medical diagnosis that tends to have an

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: 'Helpful Hints for Those Working with a Speech Pathologist' - (Editor's Note: This is REALLY Funny)
By: Penny Castagnozzi

Editor's Note: While I am not personally an SLP, I have already been told several times this morning that this article is hilarious if you are one. So, Speech Paths, does this article describe you too? Let us know which parts 'speak to you.' Enjoy!

[Source: EducationNews.org]

Okay, you may see where I'm coming from. As wonderful as SLPs are, they are in a class by themselves among professionals, and it's just going to make life easier for all concerned if people realize that they don't have to try to change the SLPs in their lives -they just have to understand them. Having spent the last twenty years as the business partner of a speech pathologist, and the last 52 years living in close contact with that same SLP (this brilliant business partner is also my adorable sister!), I feel not only qualified to share my thoughts, but actually justified to finally be unleashing my opinions on life with an SLP!

 

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

Also Worth Repeating - When Should You Tell a Child They Have Asperger's?
by:  John Robison, blogger to the Huffington Post

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents. We feature it here so that you might choose to share it with the parents of your kiddos


[Source: John Robison's Blog on the Huffington Post]

Parents often ask me when they should talk to their kids about Asperger's or autism. I don't think there is a hard and fast answer, but in my opinion, the time to discuss brain differences is when the teen years are close. Before then, most kids won't be able to grasp the idea of why and how their brain is different from other people's. Any attempt to "label" them runs the risk of being counterproductive and damaging to their vulnerable self-esteem.

So what should a parent say to a young child with Asperger's? And how can they guide their child through the difficult early years in a way that most helps them grow into a happy, productive adult? Here are a few tips derived from my own life as a free-range Aspergian and my experience raising my son Cubby, who's now a fine young adult Aspergian himself.

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

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