weekly header

April 15, 2011
Issue 12, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Hello and Happy Friday!   

Greetings from Philadelphia!   Its Occupational Therapy Month and that also means its time for the AOTA Convention!   Hope you had a chance to stop by our booth and meet Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman and the PediaStaff-ers.  Carol and Joye are with us just today, but we will also be here tomorrow at Booth #413, so come on over.

Here is our offering for the week!  Have a wonderful weekend!
News Items: 
  • Robert MacNeil Returns to NewsHour for 'Autism Today' Series  
  • ABA in the News: Autism's $100,000 Question   
  • New Tools to Help Kids with Speech Disorders ('Speech Buddies' in the News)  
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Outstanding Penmanship Award Goes to Boy with No Hands   
  • New Clue Found for Fragile X Syndrome-Epilepsy Link  
  • Play Helps Japan's Youngest Victims Cope  
  • Non-Drug Therapy To Reduce Tics In Tourette Syndrome  
  • Kids with Autism Learn To Survive, And Thrive, In College  
  • $770,000 For Gastrointestinal Research In Autism Spectrum Disorders Awarded  
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Sound Sorting Pictures 
  • Wacky Web Tales 
  • Paper Towel Marble Run 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog / Book Review of  'A Whole New Mind' from an SLP's Perspective  
  • Guest Blog: More Than Just Words on a Page
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Why Treatment Should be Adapted to the Child First, and his Condition Second
  • Worth Repeating: Effectiveness of Virtual Reality using Wii Gaming Technology in Children with Down Syndrome   
  • Worth Repeating 'Video Edition': The Power of Dylexia (About Famous Dyslexics)                                                                
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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:  Robert MacNeil Returns to NewsHour for 'Autism Today' Series
[Source:  PBS.org]

For the first time in more than 15 years, Robert MacNeil is returning to the program he co-founded, with a major series of reports on "Autism Today." The subject that drew him back is one that resonates deeply with his own family and many others. Robin's six-year-old grandson, Nick, has autism.

The six-part series, "Autism Today," will air on the PBS NewsHour beginning April 18. It's the most comprehensive look at the disorder and its impact that's aired on American television in at least five years.

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

ABA in the News:  Autism's $100,000 Question
Editor's Note: We regret that the authors of this article did not choose 'person first' language, however we may not make changes to the article as excerpted.

[Source: Star Tribune.com]

It all started with a scientist and 19 autistic children.

Ole Ivar Lovaas, a psychologist at the University of California, wanted to see if he could change the way the children behaved, given enough time and effort. So he lavished them with intensive therapy for 40 hours a week for two years or more.

At the end of the experiment, Lovaas reported that nine children - 47 percent - had no visible sign of autism by first grade.

Read the Rest of this Article and Watch a Video Story Through a Link on our Blog

Innovations in the News: New Tools to Help Kids with Speech Disorders
Editor's Note: The article below mentions a product evaluation of the 'Speech Buddies' tools by SLP clinician David Hammer. PediaStaff was instrumental in the bringing David and the folks at Speech Buddies together to conduct an independent review of the product.

As an FYI, PediaStaff is unaffilated with 'Speech Buddies,' but seeks out interesting products and technologies that have promise for kiddos in the treatment of pediatric disorders and diseases. A link to the review by David Hammer, as it originally appeared in the PediaStaff Blog, can be found below.

[Source: Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Others]

by Anne Stein, Special to Tribune Newspapers


It sounds almost adorable when a toddler says "wabbit" instead of rabbit or "thocks" instead of socks, but those mispronunciations - known as articulation disorders - lose their cuteness if they don't go away as a child grows older.


For years, speech therapists have used tongue depressors, popsicle sticks and other objects to place a child's tongue in the proper spot to pronounce those difficult sounds. A speech therapist and a medical device engineer decided they could come up with better tools - and their products may revolutionize the field.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week: Outstanding Penmanship Award Goes to Boy with No Hands
[Source: The Daily Mail (UK)]

He once wanted to know why he couldn't ask Santa Claus to give him arms and legs.

Now Nicholas Maxim has proved that he doesn't need either, by winning a national award for handwriting - despite not having hands.

The fifth-grader at Readfield Elementary School in Maine writes - in cursive, no less - by holding a pencil between his arms, which end just above where the elbow should be.

His efforts are so impressive that teachers at his school quietly submitted one of his papers to the National Handwriting Contest.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Fragile X in the News:  New Clue Found for Fragile X Syndrome-Epilepsy Link
[Source: Science Daily.com]

Individuals with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, often develop epilepsy, but so far the underlying causes are unknown. Researchers have now discovered a potential mechanism that may contribute to the link between epilepsy and fragile X syndrome.

The protein that is missing in fragile X syndrome, FMRP, controls the production of a protein that regulates electrical signals in brain cells, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found. The results were published April 13 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
The Importance of Play in the News: Play Helps Japan's Youngest Victims Cope (Video) 
[Source: CNN]

Thank you to our Twitter friends Playworks and Kaboom.org for catching this great video about the importance and relevance of play!!


Watch this Wonderful Video Story on our Blog
Tourette's Syndrome in the News: Non-Drug Therapy To Reduce Tics In Tourette Syndrome
[Source: Medical News Today]

The use of cognitive-behavioural therapy to treat tics in Tourette syndrome may be as effective as and even superior to medication in certain cases. According to a new study published in a special edition of the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy by researchers from the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital affiliated with Universite de Montreal, it was observed that therapy has an effect not only on tics, behaviour and thoughts, but also on brain activity.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: Kids with Autism Learn To Survive, And Thrive, In College
[Source:  NPR.org]

In many ways, Mark Heim is a typical senior at Colorado State University. He has the kind of smart humor you'd expect from someone who excels in computer science, engineering and math; his T-shirt reads, "Department of Redundancy Department."


But as a student living with Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, the everyday social interactions of college life can be awkward. Heim is part of a new influx of kids with autism who are heading off to college, creating a new demand for college services to help students with autism fit in, graduate and find jobs.

Read the Rest of This Article and Listen to the Podcast Through a Link on our Blog
Autism Funding in the News: $770,000 For Gastrointestinal Research In Autism Spectrum Disorders Awarded By Autism Speaks
[Source: Medical News Today]

Recognizing that gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction affects many children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, has announced a major Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Award for research into the biological mechanisms of GI disorders in ASD. Paul Ashwood, Ph.D., of the M.I.N.D. Institute of UC Davis, the lead Principal Investigator and his collaborators Alessio Fasano, M.D. at University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Paul Patterson, Ph.D. of the California Institute of Technology will receive $769,943 over a two year period to investigate the underlying biology of GI dysfunction in children with ASD, and in an animal model, test a novel probiotic therapy to restore function of the GI system.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Resource of the Week: Sound Sorting Pictures
by:  Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout

Their slogan says Virginia is for lovers. I say Virginia is for some quick and easy printable sound sorting pictures! Yes today's shared tip comes from the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia and the Rockingham School District. Thank you for sharing this delightful resource with us.

Who has not found themselves starting a day of therapy only to realize what you need is at your other school, or at home, or in your car? (And yes, we have all left something in the car at one time or another and can't run out to get it.) Hey, we are only human! Nevertheless, therapy must go on. Well, this little site just might save the day for you in that instance. Just quickly click and print a few sound sorting pictures and you are good to go for articulation/phonology therapy.

Read the Rest of this Post and Access This Resource on our Blog

Therapy Resource of the Week: Wacky Web Tales 
Special Thanks to Sean Sweeney of Speech Techie for suggesting this fun site to use in speech therapy.

Wacky Web Tales is a free, on on-line version of what most of us remember as 'Mad Libs' that is on the Houghton-Mifflin Education Place Website.

Choose a tale by Title, and then fill in the blanks with words for various parts' of speech that will appear in your story, and then start laughing. Too Much Fun!

Check out Wacky Web Tales Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Paper Towel Marble Run
Special Thanks to Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone for the heads up on this terrific activity she found on TPCraft.com

Supplies needed are: 10-12 paper towel rolls, hot glue gun, magnets, scissors, a marble - and a metal door or refrigerator. Looks like it would be a huge hit!

Learn How To Make This Activity and Watch YouTube Video Demonstration
Guest Blogs This Week: Bilinguistics, Easy Speech and Language   
Book Review: 'A Whole New Mind' by Daniel Pink from an SLP's Perspective - By:  By: Scott Prath, M.A., CCC-SLP

I read the book A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink while searching for new ways to approach issues at work, such as having difficulty staying organized or trying to deal with an increasingly complex work day. Technology has improved our lives to such a great degree, but it has also increased the demands that are put upon us and the amount of information that we are expected to digest on a daily basis. Growing tired of optimistic clich�s such as "think outside the box," I was struck by how funny the notion of doing things differently really is. What is the box that we are trying to think outside of, and why is it so bad to be in it? If it is so bad, why do we spend so much of our time in there?

 Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
So Much More Than Words on a Page - By: Shareka Bentham, SLT

The More that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go -
-Dr. Seuss

"Come let me take you on a journey; to teach you, to fascinate you, to engage you. To keep you wanting more of the knowledge within, the new experiences, surprises, fun, laughter. Come read with me. "

This is the message that we should be relaying to a child every time we open a book.*

As a therapist I have always valued books as essential components in not only literacy development, but in language building, vocabulary enhancement, increasing moments of engagement, building social interaction skills, and many other areas of a child's development. I try to encourage all of my parents to read to their children and, most importantly, make it an interactive experience. I am sometimes amazed at the responses I get to this request:

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Why Treatment Should be Adapted to the Child First, and his Condition Second
By: Natan Gendelman

When a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy or any other neurological disorder, people often accept that there will be certain things which he can and cannot do. Yet, what we often forget is that that this is a child which we are labeling; a child who possess his own character, will, dreams, opinions and personality. Each person thinks, communicates and makes choices in his own unique way, and that is something that both the medical and therapeutic worlds cannot predict. In fact, I think that trying to do so would be a huge, grave mistake, and I apologize to those who do not think this way.

Every child is different
Now, I'm not trying to offending anybody here. However, a lot of times we see a child's cerebral palsy or disorder first, and the child himself second. How does this change anything, you may ask? Well, if you asked a therapist if they have seen two children with the exact same condition,the answer would be no. That is because every person experiences life in different ways and different forms, meaning that one child's cerebral palsy will look completely different from the condition of another child.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: - Effectiveness of Virtual Reality using Wii Gaming Technology in Children with Down Syndrome  
By: Sullivan, on the blog 'Left Brain, Right Brain'

I've read a lot about the benefits of the iPad over the past year. And, yes, it is a very good thing to add to the arsenal of tools to help disabled people. But the iPad is not the only new technology gadget on the market, and this was made clear in an article: Effectiveness of virtual reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down syndrome.

Yep. The Wii. Here is the abstract:

Effectiveness of virtual reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down syndrome.


Wuang YP, Chiang CS, Su CY, Wang CC.


Department of Occupational Therapy, Kaohsiung Medical University,

This quasi-experimental study compared the effect of standard occupational therapy (SOT) and virtual reality using Wii gaming technology (VRWii) on children with Down syndrome (DS). Children (n = 105) were randomly assigned to intervention with either SOT or VRWii, while another 50 served as controls. All children were assessed with measures of sensorimotor functions. At post-intervention, the treatment groups significantly outperformed the control group on all measures. Participants in the VRWii group had a greater pre-post change on motor proficiency, visual-integrative abilities, and sensory integrative functioning. Virtual reality using Wii gaming technology  


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

Worth Repeating 'Video Edition'The Power of Dylexia (About Famous Dyslexics)
by:  The Power of Dyslexia (Blog)

Thanks to our Twitter friend @susanotkids for letting us know about this video. Please enjoy and share!

Watch this Video on our Blog 

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