January 27, 2012
Issue 1, Volume 6  
It's All About the Choices!     

Welcome everyone to the January Monthly Edition of the PediaStaff Newsletter.  Very big issue today.   I would like to welcome Abby Brayton, MS, OTR/L to our guest blogging team.  Today, Abby is sharing an article she wrote on making and using weighted pencils in therapy.   Welcome, Abby!

Exciting news on Pinterest:  PediaStaff has started two discussion boards on Pinterest.  Therapists are meeting there as we speak to discuss ideas on Pinterest that can be creatively modified to achieve speech, language and occupational therapy goals.  You can read more about them below.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

News Items:
  • DSM Changes in the News:  Interview on The Coffee Klatch with Temple Grandin, Rebecca Banks and Diane Kennedy  
  • Scientific American Article: Stuttering Reflects Irregularities in Brain Setup  
  • Brain Scans Spot Early Signs of Dyslexia 
  • Washington, DC Handwriting Summit in the News
  • Please Help a School SLP with a Homework Survey
  • Announcing Two Therapist Discussion Groups on Pinterest  
  • Study Links Autism, Intestinal Bacteria Levels 
Tips, Activities and Resources:
Articles and Special Features

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

Bilingual Therapy Jobs 
DSM Controversy in the News: Excellent Interview on The Coffee Klatch with Temple Grandin, Rebecca Banks and Diane Kennedy

[Source:  The Coffee Klatch]


Thanks to our friends at The Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio for letting us know about this excellent interview (part one of three planned to air) about the proposed changes to the DSM.   This episode focuses on Autism.   Special Guests are Dr. Temple Grandin, Rebecca Banks and Diane Kennedy.


 Listen to this Radio Broadcast Through a Link on our Blog
Stuttering in the News: Stuttering Reflects Irregularities in Brain Setup - Scientific American Article 

Thank You to our Twitter friend @BrainworksRehab for the lead on this excellent article!


[Source:  Scientific American]

Put on a pair of headphones and turn up the volume so that you can't even hear yourself speak. For those who stutter, this is when the magic happens. Without the ability to hear their own voice, people with this speech impediment no longer stumble over their words-as was recently portrayed in the movie The King's Speech. This simple trick works because of the unusual way the brain of people who stutter is organized-a neural setup that affects other actions besides speech, according to a new study.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyslexia in the News: Brain Scans Spot Early Signs of Dyslexia
[Source:  Reuters via Yahoo News]

Instead of waiting for a child to experience reading delays, scientists now say they can identify the reading problem even before children start school, long before they become labeled as poor students and begin to lose confidence in themselves.


Although typically diagnosed during the second or third grade of school - around age 7 or 8 - a team from Children's Hospital Boston said they could see signs of the disease on brain scans in children as early as 4 and 5, a time when studies show children are best able to respond to interventions.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on Our Blog
Handwriting in the News - Washington DC Handwriting Summit

Thanks to our friends at Your Therapy Source for the heads-up on this story



On Monday, educators met for a handwriting summit at the Newseum in the district to discuss the future of the written word in the age of digital media.


Dr. Karin James, from the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, joined FOX 5 to discuss the importance of raising awareness to the public about the on-going research of handwriting and human development.


Watch a Video of this Story Through a Link on our Blog
School SLP Needs Your Help:   Please Take This Survey on Speech Homework

A blogger friend of ours Annie, from the Learning Curve blog is concerned about how hard it is to get speech homework back.   She has created a survey on SurveyMonkey to understand whether others are having similar dificulties.

From Annie's blog:  Getting homework back from students is HARD! Especially in speech! I think it'd be awesome to hear from everybody what works and doesn't work with their homework programs. Please, please, please, click on the link below and fill out this survey on homework programs. It's only ten questions long and your answers do not have to be anything profound or life-altering. We just want as much input as possible so we can get a good representation of what is happening with other SLPs out there. Let's problem solve together!


Access the Survey from our Blog
PediaStaff Announces:   Two New Therapist Discussion Groups on Pinterest
Earlier this week, the SLPeeps were talking on Twitter about Pinterest and ample discussion went around about having a place there to talk about ideas that we all see.   So I wrapped my head around it and came up with a way to discuss ideas and collaborate on Pinterest.

Learn More about both our SLP and OT Pinterest Discussion Groups HERE
Autism in the News:  Study Links Autism, Intestinal Bacteria Levels
[Source:  Columbia Spectator via The Autism News]

Researchers at Columbia may be making strides toward understanding the neurological disorder of autism-starting with, of all places, the intestine, according to a recent study.  

Dr. Brent Williams, an associate research scientist from the Mailman School of Public Health, headed the study, which examined gastrointestinal disturbances in children with autism. Researchers discovered that children diagnosed with autism that suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances have heightened levels of Sutterella, a type of intestinal bacteria.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activities of the Week: Great Speech-Language Activities for Groundhog Day

I love our therapist blogger friends!  All I have to do is challenge them and they step right up every time.    When I was building the Groundhog Day Activities for Therapy Board on Pinterest, earlier this week, I realized that although we had some great activities that could be used from an OT and S-L angle, we had scarce few that were designed by therapists for use in therapy.

So, I issued a challenge to our most creative therapists and was not disappointed!!    Please enjoy Speech Lady Liz's Speech-Language Activities for Groundhog Day!  Thanks Liz!

See Four Excellent Groundhog Day Activities for Speech and Language on our Blog
Pinterest Pin of the Week: Learning About Textures
This week's 'Pin of the Week' comes from Christina Bainbridge, an elementary school teacher in Michigan who blogs on the website Mrs. Bainbridge's Class.  She created this activity to teacher her students about textures as part of a science unit on 'ways to describe or classify matter.'

Mrs. Bainbridge described the activity as follows:   I ran copies of the hand (downloadable off her blog post) on many colors of paper and passed out pieces of sandpaper, waxed paper, cotton, beans, and macaroni. We talked about the texture and

View and Read More About This Activity on our Blog
On the Lighter Side: Sensory-Seekers in the Funny Pages
Thanks to our dear friend Barbara at TherExtras for noticing and commenting on this really cute comic that was recently re-run in the Sunday paper.    I am don't suspect too many in the general reading public read this comic quite the way an Occupational Therapist would!  Too funny!
Pinterest Pinboard of the Week - Therapy Activities for Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is fun.  Well, maybe not for Bill Murray, but the kids really love it.


Groundhog Day is a neat theme which can advance many therapy goals with children.  The holiday's interesting  history and tradition lend themselves to a variety of conversations about prediction, teaching about shadows and more.

Visit our Groundhog Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog
SLP Corner: Every Day Language Learning: Dishwashers and Socks
By: Becca Jarzynski, MS, CCC-SLP

Editor's Note:  This article was written for parents rather than clinicians.  We often like to feature articles for parents that you might like to share with the caretakers of your kiddos.

As a working mom, life is a perpetual balance of domestic duties, professional tasks, and child-related entertainment. When my son was young, I often attempted to maintain this balance by entertaining him with toys, books, and activities while he was awake and then feverishly trying to get all of the household chores done while he napped or after he went to bed each night. This worked well...except for the fact that the chores were rarely completed,  


I got way too little sleep, and I tended to be a bit, um, cranky due to both of these things.

With my daughter, I'm doing things differently. We still play and read books for sure. But I've also realized how much more fun chores can be when she is a part of them. And how much learning occurs inside those household tasks if I just slow them down a bit. Recently, we've been having a blast unloading the dishwasher and sorting the laundry. (No, really. Stop laughing).

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: Obesity, the Sensory/Emotional System and Learning
By: Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L

"Childhood obesity can have complications for the physical, social and emotional well-being of your child" The Mayo Clinic Staff Paper

And I should know...a reformed "chubster" who remembers being told that I was so fat I made "the carpool car go down when I got in". NOT fun and 50+ years later, it stays with me. It did motivate me to lose 30 pounds in one summer, and when I went back to school in the fall, many kids did not know me.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Pediatric Therapy Corner: Mealtime Battles: Five Components of Picky Eating
By: Chris Purgatori, MOT, OTR/L,

Many kids have strong opinions on food and will often be finicky at mealtime. In fact, there are very few parents who haven't battled with their children over what and how much they need to eat. However, when a child's selectivity spirals out of control and begins to affect their health, it's time to investigate possible reasons for the picky behavior.


There are five main components that affect a child's ability to eat, and can lead to significant feeding problems.


1.  Sensory issues - Sensory-based feeding problems can be caused by a number of different issues.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
School Psychology Corner:  Navigating the Social World of Elementary School (Notes for Parents and Teachers and Those Who Support Them)
By: Diane I. Ferber-Collins MBA, MA, C.A.S.

Social Skills, Social Cognition and Social Thinking are all terminology used to describe the social abilities. As our students develop physically, cognitively and emotionally, their social development also follows a developmental trajectory. For many children, the full repertoire of social skills come easily through everyday interactions with adults and peers, but it is still important for educators and parents to reinforce this casual learning with direct and indirect instruction. For other children, direct instruction and support in navigating the trials and tribulations of skill acquisition are even more important. While there are direct interventions for children with documented difficulties in this arena, including children on 


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism: What is Typical Development in a Bilingual Child?
By:  Alejandro Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and, and Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

The notion of typical language development has far too long been predicated on monolingual development. It is estimated that approximately 80% of the world's population speaks more than one language. Thus, the monolingual view to language development is inadequate to describe language acquisition from a global perspective. In addition, the viewpoint that bilingual language development mirrors monolingual language when only one of the child's languages is considered is a misguided assertion (Brice & Brice, 2009; Grosjean, 1989). Consider the following case study. 

Case Study 

According to parent report this male child was born prematurely weighing 2 lbs. 15 ounces. He was able to meet developmental milestones when factoring in an additional two and half months for his premature development (i.e., he was born at approximately 26 weeks gestation). The child was able to walk at 14 months and say his first words in Spanish (Spanish being the native language) at 11-12 months. Vision and hearing were reported to be normal.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Meet PediaStaff: Sunita Murty, OTR/L, OT Clinical Coordinator 

Sunita received her B.A. from North Carolina State University in Psychology.  While completing her degree and for two years thereafter, she worked with children with special needs.  She then went on to obtain her Masters of Science in occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. 


Following graduation from her Masters program, Sunita worked with Kay Concepts, which merged with a couple of other companies to form the pediatric company now known as PediaStaff. 


After several travel therapy contracts, including adult rehabilitation and school systems, she decided to move back home to North Carolina and join PediaStaff as the OT/OTA clinical coordinator and has been with PediaStaff since then. She also runs a small private pediatric practice specializing in treatment of children under the age of 5 and caregiver education.  Sunita has worked with children with special needs for over 9 years and as a pediatric occupational therapist for 4 1/2 of those years.

Learn More About Sunita on our Blog
OT Corner Extra Feature:  Making and Using Weighted Pencils
By: Abby Brayton, MS, OTR/L

Weighted pencils can be beneficial for students who do not press hard enough when writing or for students who have poor body awareness and need additional proprioceptive input to increase awareness of their hand.

If you've ever taken a look at a therapy catalog, then you are aware of how expensive simple items like a weighted pencil can be. Here's an easy and inexpensive way to make a weighted pencil or crayon on your own.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Special Feature - Music Therapy Corner:  "A Language I Could Speak Fluently"

By: Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, NMT-F, MT-BC; Board Certified Music Therapist

The first real breakthrough for King George VI came when his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, had him read pages of text while listening to music through headphones. King George VI, known as "Bertie" to his family, had struggled with stuttering from an early age. He exhibited the classic behaviors, repeating words or parts of words and prolonging sounds.

But with the music blasting and drowning out his ability to hear himself talk, Bertie's speech came through fluently and without disruption.

This scene is from the 2010 movie The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. Although the director and producers may have taken some artistic license, this scene highlights a type of treatment that has the potential to help children and adults who stutter: music therapy.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Worth Repeating: Worth Repeating: Proposed DSM 5 Changes and Autism: What Parents & Advocates Need to Know

by Lee Anne Owens


In May of 2013 the new diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder will be distributed to doctors via the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Think of the DSM 5 as the Bible of diagnostic criteria, developed and written by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).


One of the most discussed changes in the DSM 5 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the removal of Asperger's syndrome and PDD-NOS as individual diagnoses. Under the new diagnostic criteria, Asperger's and PDD-NOS will come under the umbrella of ASD. For example a child whose diagnosis is currently Asperger's syndrome would receive a new


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating:  Evaluating the Visual-Perceptual Skills of Children with Cerebral Palsy

by: Christine Menken, Sharon A. Cennak, Anne Fisher
As Published in the American Journal of Occuapational Therapy

The Test of Visual�Perceptual Skills (TVPS) was used to determine if children with cerebral palsy demonstrated problems in visual perception on a motor� free visual perception test. Twenty-four children with cerehral palsy and 24 normal children, all of normal intelligence, were given the TVPS.  Results showed that children with cerebral palsy attained significantly lower mean perceptual quotients than did the normal children. The TVPS appears to be a useful tool for the occupational therapist in evaluating visual perception in children with cerebral palsy.

Read the Full Text 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. 

Visit our Resources Pages

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