weekly header

April 8, 2011
Issue 11, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Hello and Happy Friday!   

It's April and that means its Autism Awareness Month.     Lots of Autism articles out there worth sharing, so forgive us if this month is heavy on Autism content.

Let's welcome Chynna Laird and Eric Raj as new, occasional guest bloggers/contributors.  It's great to have you both!

Going to AOTA in Philadelphia?  We look forward to meeting you next week!  Don't forget to bring your copy of 'Growing an In-Sync Child' by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman to our booth #413 for a book signing.   You can also register for your free iPad2 and pick up a complimentary Klixx fidget while supplies last.  OTs love them!
 
News Items: 
  • As Seen in the Chicago Tribune: Exercise Strategies for People With Autism 
  • Brain Scans Reveal Differences in Brain Structure in Teens With Severe Antisocial Behavior  
  • The 10 Best Places to Live with Autism 
  • Clumsy Kids Who Don't 'Grow out of It'  
  • Early Brain Therapy May Help Movement in Dystonia Patients   
  • Behavior Therapy Trumps Medications for Autism, Study Says  
  • Prevalence Of 'Flattened Head' In Infants And Young Children Appears To Be Increasing  
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Sew the Alphabet 
  • Hoola Hoop Video Therapy 
  • Sparklebox   

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: So You Want to Be a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist?  Part 2 
  • Guest Blog: Chynna's Writing Pearls: Chynna's First Story-'The Gift'
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Child's Language Skills
  • Advocacy Issue Worth Repeating: Speech-Language Services: Not "Optional"
  • Also Worth Repeating:  Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade                                                                                                    
Feel free to contact us with any questions about our openings or items in these pages. Have you discovered our RSS feed? Click on the orange button below to subscribe to all our openings and have them delivered to your Feed Reader!  Don't have an RSS Feed Reader set up? Sign up at
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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:  As Seen in the Chicago Tribune - Exercise Strategies for People with Autism
[Source:  The Chicago Tribune]

For the typical adult, getting to the gym requires manipulation. You know it's good for you, that you'll feel better after you do it, and that you might actually lose weight and look great if you continue your daily sweat sessions.

But for some on the autism spectrum, it takes a lot more than some convincing words.

"They just don't get it," said Dr. Jim Ball, chairman of the Autism Society of America and author of "Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-life Answers" (Future Horizons, $16.47). "They don't want to do it, so they won't do it."

Most autistic adults don't understand why people exercise, Ball said. They can't figure out why they should plan for future health, they don't care about societal customs and they don't get the fact that if they don't work out, they stand a chance of dying at a younger age.

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

Pediatric Behavior in the News:  Brain Scans Reveal Differences in Brain Structure in Teenagers With Severe Antisocial Behavior
[Source: Science Daily]

Brain scans of aggressive and antisocial teenage boys with conduct disorder (CD) have revealed differences in the structure of the developing brain that could link to their behavior problems.

The study reveals that the brain differences were present regardless of the age of onset of the disorder, challenging the view that adolescence-onset CD is merely a consequence of imitating badly behaved peers.

CD is a psychiatric condition characterised by increased aggressive and antisocial behaviour. It can develop in childhood or in adolescence and affects around five out of every 100 teenagers in the UK. Those affected are at greater risk of developing further mental and physical health problems in adulthood.

Neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the size of particular regions in the brains of 65 teenage boys with CD compared with 27 teenage boys who did not display symptoms of behavioral disorder.

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

Autism in the News: The 10 Best Places to Live with Autism  
[Source: Autism Speaks]

A survey released Friday by Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, names the top 10 best places to live if you have autism.

The top place was New York City, closely followed by Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Boston. Other honorable mentions include Northern New Jersey, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle and Milwaukee. The criteria for the survey included the satisfaction of the availability of services and resources, the proximity of services to where they live, flexible employer policies, access to clinical/medical care and recreational opportunities.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Developmental Coordination Disorder in the News:  Clumsy Kids Who Don't 'Grow out of It'
[Source: ScienceDaily.com]

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is widely recognized by the medical community, and there are a number of therapies in place. But as many as six percent of all children suffer from the less familiar Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Demonstrating a lack of refined motor skills, children with DCD tend to have a more difficult time playing sports and staying organized at school. They appear to be uncoordinated -- and many parents think they'll grow out of it. But research shows that may not be true.

Now Dr. Orit Bart and her colleagues at Tel Aviv University's Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions have developed a questionnaire to assess how DCD kids socialize, and participate in daily activities, which may lead to new treatments and interventions.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dystonia in the News: Early Brain Therapy May Help Movement in Dystonia Patients
[Source: US News and World Report/HealthDay]

For people with the movement disorder dystonia, starting deep brain stimulation therapy early in the course of the disease provides better results, according to a new study.
Click here to find out more!

Dystonia is a potentially crippling disorder that causes muscles to contract, resulting in involuntary twisting of affected areas of the body. Deep brain stimulation is approved in the United States for certain treatment-resistant dystonias.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: Behavior Therapy Trumps Medications for Autism
[Source:  ABC News]

Shannon Penrod, 48, of Saugus, Calif., could feel a change coming over her son Jem Miller. By the time he was two, parts of his speech gradually began to disappear.

In just a few months, what started as, "Mama what are you doing?" turned to "Mama, what doing?" Then he retreated into silence.

"He didn't even acknowledge me in a room or seek me out," said Penrod.

Within six months, Jem was diagnosed with autism, a disorder characterized by withdrawn social and behavioral skills.

"Autism was like a thief coming into the night and stealing pieces of my child," said Penrod. "Something in him seemed like it was just going away."

   

Read the Rest of This Article and the Video Story Through a Link on our Blog
Plagiocephaly in the News: Prevalence Of 'Flattened Head' In Infants And Young Children Appears To Be Increasing
Editor's Note:  This study is yet another reason to promote 'Tummy Time' to the parents and guardians of your kiddos.   Be sure to read the comment at the foot of our blog by Amanda Krupa of Pathways Awareness.  and Tummy Time Central

[Source: ScienceDaily.com]

The prevalence of plagiocephaly, a condition marked by an asymmetrical, flattening of the skull, appears to be increasing in infants and young children, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Plagiocephaly is characterized by unilateral flattening of the head either in the frontal or occipital [rear] region," the authors write as background information in the study. "The presence of plagiocephaly has reportedly increased since 1992 while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that infants be put to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, although the plagiocephaly is then an acquired and not congenital condition."

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Sew the Alphabet
Thanks to our great friends at YourTherapySource.com for this week's Therapy Tip. Create a set of tactile alphabet cards or a child's name using our alphabet cards. The purpose of this activity is to encourage fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and tactile input.

Watch a Video Demonstration of this Activity on our Blog

Therapy Activity of the Week: Hoola Hoop Video Therapy
By: Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP

When is the last time you showed one of your students a YouTube clip in speech therapy? Probably never, right? Let me tell you, by not doing this, you're totally missing out! I'm a huge fan of incorporating audio-visual media into my therapy sessions whenever possible. Thanks to the constant improvements in internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones (iPhone, Android, etc) and digital tablets (iPad), it has never been easier to introduce videos into your therapy sessions.

View this Video and Read Eric's Therapy Idea on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Sparklebox

Special Thanks to Shareka Bentham of Easy Speech and Language Ideas for the heads up on this fabulous website!   

 

Sparklebox is a teacher website that started in the U.K. There you can find a large assortment of downloadable, free classroom management tools and special ed resources including reproducible and printable materials for: 

  • Speech and Language
  • Fine Motor Skills practice
  • Dyslexia
  • English as a Second Language
  • Behavior, and more
Find Links to this Site on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: ASHASphere, The Gift 
So You Want to Be a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist Making Sense of (and Choosing) the Best Settings and Terms for You (part 2) - by Heidi Kay

Editor's Note: I was asked to write this article for the ASHA blog. We thought it would be a nice resource to share with our readers as well, and are reprinting it here with the permission of ASHA.

(This article was adapted for ASHA from the the "PediaStaff New Graduate Guide" [PDF])

In my last article I reviewed some of the basic terminology that you need to know before starting your job search as a pediatric or school based SLP. We talked about 'terms' ('direct hire' vs. 'contract' and 'travel') as well as definitions of the different pediatric settings such as school-based, outpatient clinic, hospital or early intervention. The 'term' part isn't too hard to decide if you sit down and make a list of your priorities. However, it is much more slippery for someone like me to suggest exactly which setting is best for you, because there are a variety of factors specific to your particular search that should have a far greater impact on your choice over just the setting. So we will chat more about those factors and other practical considerations, rather than the 'pros and cons' of each.

 Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Chynna's Writing Pearls: Chynna's First Story-'The Gift' - By: Chynna Laird

Editor's Note: Chynna's blog is typically directed at parents but we felt it was something you might enjoy and also want to share with the parents of your kiddos

Reprinted with the express permission of the author as it appeared on her blog, The Gift.


I'm going to kick off Autism Awareness Month with the very first published story I wrote about our journey with Jaimie. It's called 'The Gift' and it's all about the very first REAL hug she gave me. And it's also why I see these children, and everything they show us, bring to our lives and teach us, as a gift.

Enjoy! (And be sure to drop by 'The Gift' blog throughout the month of April as we'll be focusing many of our interviews, book reviews and other tidbits on the subject of Autism, Aspergers' and SPD.)

My daughter, Jaimie, was my miracle girl. She reminded me of one of those little babies you see in photos from the early 1900s: big blue wondering eyes, poker straight strawberry blonde hair, and creamy porcelain doll skin. Looking down on her each night as I watched her sleep, my heart filled with pure love I didn't know existed before she did. But as she grew, we noticed she struggled in her environment and with the people in it. Jaimie was born with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

 Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: 7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Child's Language Skills
[Source: Autism Asperger's Digest]

Excerpted from the article, "Breaking the Language Barrier" that appears in the March/April 2011 issue of Autism Asperger's Digest magazine. Reprinted with permission.  The magazine is offering a subscription special during April, to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month.

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents of children with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. We reprint it here so that you might share it with the families of your kiddos.


Language and communication - we use them to get our needs met, express ourselves and bond with others. Except, that is, if your child is on the autism spectrum. The one comment I hear most from other parents of children with ASD is that they just wish their child could communicate "better." However, given the structure of the English language, this is not an easily learned skill. Our language is filled with prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, idioms and metaphors, clich�s - all pretty foreign concepts to our kids who think in literal terms and tend to learn specific to general, rather than the other way around, as do typical kids.

Some easy ways I discovered to improve communication with (my son) Brett follow. You can use them with your child with autism, no matter where he or she falls on the spectrum. These techniques are not, in themselves, end products. They are actions meant to be adjusted and played with, so they become relevant for your child.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: - Speech-Language Services: Not "Optional"
By: Steven C. White, ASHA Leader, April 5, 2011

ASHA Responds to Error in Letter from Health and Human Services

 

ASHA is helping state associations respond to an erroneous characterization by Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, who informed all 50 state governors that "speech therapy" is "optional" under Medicaid.

 

In a Feb. 3 letter, Sebelius stated that "While some benefits, such as hospital and physician services, are required to be provided by state Medicaid programs, many services, such as prescription drugs, dental services, and speech therapy, are optional."

 

Under Medicaid, however, speech-language and hearing services (and speech-generating devices and hearing aids) for children up to age 21 are required under the federally mandated Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program.

 

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

Also Worth Repeating - Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade
by:  Adam J. Slagel

[Source: Thinking Person's Guide to Autism]


We thank Liz Ditz of the 'I Speak of Dreams' Blog for directing us to this article.

Editor's Note: I posted this article on our in our Pediatric Therapy LinkedIn Group, and it encouraged a lot of interesting discussion. Several posters feel that the product discussed is a good one, while others sided with the author of this article. Sharon Gretz of Apraxia-Kids said it best.

"Congratulations to this parent for knowing that it is ok to be a skeptic first. In fact, most parents should keep a critical eye on such therapies and feel perfectly fine about asking the challenging questions and asking for the actual research evidence. There are so many products peddled these days on the internet by savvy marketers and also by well intentioned individuals who lose sight of the science. I would feel better if practitioners and sellers just admitted the truth... "we really don't know if this works, but some people report that they think it helps. We have no way of knowing if their report really reflects our product..." oh, how refreshing that would be!"

 

 

Being involved parents of an autistic child, my wife and I go to many different groups and meet lots of other parents of children with PDD (Persistent Developmental Delay) or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I am used to the barrage of pseudoscience and misinformation from well-meaning parents (e.g, anti-vaccination, chelation, gluten-free diets, etc), but I have always expected that professional Occupational Therapists (OTs) would steer us towards evidence-based treatments. They have certainly been critical of many of the common autism myths, like the vaccines and autism non-connection. Unfortunately, my expectations were overly ambitious, and I let my skeptical guard down.

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

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