March 25, 2011
Issue 3, Volume 5 
It's All About the Choices!     

Hello, and Welcome to our March Monthly edition of the PediaStaff Newsletter.  It's a great big issue with six original articles written just for PediaStaff by our contributors, in addition to those of our generous guest bloggers!

We are getting very excited about the upcoming AOTA convention in Philadelphia.  Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman will be autographing copies of their new book, 'Growing an In-Sync Child' on Friday, April 15th at our booth #413.  Learn more about this great event below.   Also, be sure to stop by our booth throughout the conference to register for our iPad 2 giveaway - and grab your free Klixx while supplies last!  Occupational Therapists love the Klixx 'fidget' toy for the uniquely satisfying tactile and auditory feedback it delivers.

Today is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.   Don't forget that PediaStaff has dozens of resources about Cerebral Palsy and many more other topics in the Resources section of our website.

News Items:
  • MIT Scientists Researchers Recreate Autism in Mice  
  • Multiple Sclerosis Risk Factors in Children 
  • 12-Year-Old With Asperger's Tackles Graduate Coursework
  • Sign Language Users, Bilinguals And Monolinguals
  • Award-Winning Documentary 'Autistic-Like' Coming to PBS 
  • NC State Graduate Students Need Your Help with a Survey on a New Fluency Device 
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Product Review: Speech Buddies 
  • Book Review: Assessment and Intervention for Autism & Asperger Syndrome in Schools  
  • Create Your Own Handwriting Font for Free

Upcoming Events and CEU Opportunities:  

  • AOTA National Convention and Conference  
  • Seminar:  Pediatric Feeding Tube Weaning - Alexandria, VA 

Articles and Blogs  

  • SLP Corner:  10 Suggestions For Effective Treatment Of Childhood Apraxia Of Speech  
  • OT Corner: Sensory Assessments As Part of a Unified Early Learning Testing Protocol   
  • Physical Therapy Corner: The Importance of Clinical Videotaping in Pediatric Therapy  
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  How Drumming Helps Children with Special Needs   
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  Difference vs. Disorder 
  • Q&A:  Ask the Expert - Neonatal Therapy: An Emerging Practice Area  
  • Guest Blog: Dyspraxia: Conquering the Motor Challenges  
  • Guest Blog: Working Your Child with Down Syndrome up to Multitasking  
  • Worth Repeating: Assisting Students Struggling with Reading in the Primary Grades  
  • Also Worth Repeating: April is Occupational Therapy Month 

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

Autism Research in the News - MIT Scientists Researchers Recreate Autism in Mice
[Source: Medical News Today]

By mutating a single gene, researchers at MIT and Duke have produced mice with two of the most common traits of autism - compulsive, repetitive behavior and avoidance of social interaction.

They further showed that this gene, which is also implicated in many cases of human autism, appears to produce autistic behavior by interfering with communication between brain cells. The finding, reported in the March 20 online edition of Nature, could help researchers find new pathways for developing drugs to treat autism, says senior author Guoping Feng, professor of brain and cognitive sciences and member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

Read the Rest of this Story Through a Link on our Blog
MS in the News: Multiple Sclerosis Risk Factors in Children

In children, an initial attack of demyelination (acquired demyelinating syndrome [ADS] in the central nervous system) often remains a single, isolated episode. However, in at least 20 % of children it represents the first clinical attack of MS. This contrasts with adult-onset MS, where most individuals presenting with acute demyelination are subsequently diagnosed with MS. Demyelination is the destructive loss of myelin - the protective covering that insulates and supports nerve cells - damaging the cells' ability to receive and transmit signals in the body.

"The uncertainty of the diagnosis understandably creates a lot of anxiety for children and their families," says Dr. Amit Bar-Or, neurologist and lead investigator at The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, McGill University. "Having the tools to distinguish ADS and MS is important." Researchers at The Neuro in collaboration with researchers at the SickKids in Toronto and international colleagues therefore wanted to identify the risk factors in the 20% of children who go on to develop MS, and to investigate if the risk factors and the disease biology are the same in both children and adults.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week - 12-Year-Old With Asperger's Tackles Graduate Coursework
[Source: The Indianapolis Star]

When Jacob Barnett first learned about the Schr�dinger equation for quantum mechanics, he could hardly contain himself.   For three straight days, his little brain buzzed with mathematical functions.

From within his 12-year-old, mildly autistic mind, there gradually flowed long strings of pluses, minuses, funky letters and upside-down triangles - a tapestry of complicated symbols that few can understand.

He grabbed his pencil and filled every sheet of paper before grabbing a marker and filling up a dry erase board that hangs in his bedroom. With a single-minded obsession, he kept on, eventually marking up every window in the home.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
American Sign Language in the News - Sign Language Users, Bilinguals And Monolinguals
[Source: Medical News Today]

People fluent in sign language may simultaneously keep words and signs in their minds as they read, according to an international team of researchers.

In an experiment, deaf readers were quicker and more accurate in determining the meaningful relationship between English word pairs when the word pairs were matched with similar signs, according to Judith Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Women's Studies, Penn State. The slightly better reaction time and improved accuracy rate indicates that the readers are able to juggle both English and sign language at the same time.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Coming Soon to PBS - The Award-Winning Documentary, 'Autistic-Like: Graham's Story'
Many of you have heard of the book Autistic-Like: Graham's Story as it is popular with OTs and parents, but did you know that Graham's dad Erik has taken their story to the big screen? He sure has, and the film is getting rave reviews. In fact, PBS is airing the documentary nationally next month. Here is what two good friends of PediaStaff (that you may have heard of) are saying about the movie:

"Autistic-Like describes so many of the children we know and care about, and reminds us to not only think outside the box, but to put the box aside altogether. Every developmental pediatrician, pediatric neurologist, parent of a child with special needs, teacher, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and speech therapist should see this film." - - Lindsey Biel, Occupational Therapist, Co-author Raising A Sensory Smart Child

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
NC State Researchers Need Your Help!  Are Seeking People Who Stutter and SLPs to Participate Survey About a New (High Tech) Fluency Device
A team of graduate students from the NC State University are evaluating a fluency device invented in the Product Innovation Lab last semester.  They are seeking people who stutter and Speech-Language Pathologists to take the survey to understand whether the device would be valuable to the stuttering community.  The survey for both people who stutter and SLP's.

Average time to complete the survey is 10 minutes.  Your help in completing the survey and forwarding to other people is very much appreciated. Qualified participants will be eligible for one of three $25 Amazon gift cards, to be awarded at the close of the survey. 

If you do wish to contact the graduate student group with questions about the survey or their project, please feel free to call or email Ty Hagler at 919-724-2439 or 

Please visit the Survey Page!

Upcoming Event: Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman Join PediaStaff at 2011 AOTA National Convention
PediaStaff is very excited to announce that Carol Kranowitz, and Joye Newman, will be signing copies of their new book, Growing an In-Sync Child, on Friday, April 15th, from 11:00 - 5:30 at PediaStaff's booth #413 at the AOTA Convention in Philadelphia.

Copies of Growing an In-Sync Child will be available in the exhibition hall for purchase.  Carol will also be happy to sign your copies of her classic book, the Out of Sync Child or her other books as well, so don't forget to pack your copies!

Amazon seems to be having a great sale on this book right now, so get your copy right away!

Read the Official Press Release on This Event 

Buy Your Copy from Now

Sign up for or Learn More about the Conference

Read the PediaStaff Book Review on 'Growing an In-Sync Child'

Upcoming Event: Pediatric Feeding Tube Weaning - A Child-Directed Approach to Establishing Oral Eating After Feeding Tube Dependency

The Cameron Club - 200 Cameron Station Boulevard, Alexandria, VA 22304

April 8 and 9, 2011 - 8 A.M.-4 P.M. each day -

$395 per person � Register by April 1, 2011 � CEU's available!

The prevalence of tube feeding and tube dependency among children has dramatically increased in the last 20 years. Different approaches have been described to help young children with re-establishing oral feeding. During this informative and interactive workshop we will describe the philosophy behind and the techniques involved in home-based, child-led feeding tube weaning.  

This approach is widely accepted in Europe and has been shown to be 90% successful in clinical trials. In this workshop, the presenters will explore the basic concepts of feeding disorders and the circumstances that lead to feeding tube dependency in early childhood.

All phases of tube weaning will be described including diagnosis, determining readiness, preparation, tube weaning itself, maintenance, and follow-up. The second day will include case study discussions, video analysis, and interactive explanations regarding the role of self-regulation in this child-directed approach to tube weaning. We invite participants to bring your own case examples for group discussion and analysis. 

Learn More About this Seminar/Workshop 

Product Review of the Week - Speech Buddies
Review by Dave Hammer, MA, CCC-SLP

As a practicing speech-language pathologist for over 30 years, I have found that being an eclectic therapist who is flexible, open to new ideas, and able to adapt new products and materials to my therapy style have served me well. I also have found in working with many children over the years with a range of speech sound production disorders including childhood apraxia of speech, that you never have enough "tools" in your "toolbox" (pun intended with my last name being "Hammer"). Recently, along with my colleagues in an outpatient satellite of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA, I had the opportunity to try Speech Buddies, a new product from Articulate Technologies, Inc. out of San Francisco, California.

Over the course of several weeks, we evaluated Speech Buddies with several patients with moderate and severe speech sound disorders and several with childhood apraxia of speech. We discovered that these "Buddies" are a welcome addition to our therapy strategy toolbox.

Book Review of the Week - A Best Practice Guide to Assessment and Intervention for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Schools
Review by: Sarah Prevelige, Ed. D

As a private practitioner, it can be difficult to stay on top of current research and literature along with the managerial responsibilities of running a successful business. I spend a lot of time networking with other clinicians and the common theme among them is the lack of time available to read informative publications and clinical studies. Dr. Wilkinson's guide to ASD assessment and intervention is a breath of fresh air for every busy clinician. His book allows for quick information and relevant examples without sacrificing content or language. Dr. Wilkinson does a superb job of utilizing an extensive and impressive list of references which is a great jumping off point to read further in different directions of interest.
Therapy Resource of the Week: Create Your Own Handwriting Font for Free
Editor's Note: Thank you to our friends at Your Therapy Source for this resource of the week!

I read about this handwriting font that you can create for free over at the iLearn Technology blog.
Basically, PilotHandwriting will generate a font for you to type based on your own handwriting. It is very simple to do.

Go to PilotHandwriting. Watch the video and print out the template. Write in all the letters. I suggest you use a felt tip black pen with at least a medium point. I tried using ball point pen and it did not work the first time around so I switched to a thin black marker which worked much better. Scan in the template back to the website. You can take a picture of the template or use the webcam if you do not have a scanner. And voila, you have your own handwriting font.

Check out this Great Free Resource Through a Link on our Blog

Speech-Language Pathology Corner - 10 Suggestions For Effective Treatment Of Childhood Apraxia Of Speech
By: Margaret A. Fish, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech sound disorders, including articulation disorder, phonological disorder, dysarthria and childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), make up the bulk of caseloads of many speech-language pathologists. The incidence of childhood apraxia of speech, however, is relatively low, affecting approximately 3 - 5 percent of preschoolers with speech impairments (CASANA, 2005). It is not unusual for a speech-language pathologist to feel unprepared when presented with a child with known or suspected CAS. Many speech-language pathologists report that their graduate school instruction in identification and treatment of children with CAS was limited. In addition, treatment techniques that are effective for children with articulation or phonological disorders generally are not effective with children with CAS.

It is important to recognize that the core impairment for children with CAS is not the execution of speech movements (as seen in children with dysarthria) or in the ability to learn the phonological rules of a language (as seen in children with phonological disorder). The underlying challenges for children with CAS are in "planning and/or programming spatiotemporal parameters of movement sequences" (ASHA, 2007). When we consider the complexity of these spatiotemporal parameters, including muscle selection, direction, distance, and speed of articulatory movement, amount of force that is applied to the articulators, and degree of muscle contraction, it becomes more clear how an impairment in planning and programming articulatory movements can have such a significant impact on a child's speech intelligibility and speech prosody, particularly stress and intonation of syllables and words.

Below are several principles to consider when designing and implementing treatment programs for children on your caseload with known or suspected CAS.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog  

Occupational Therapy Corner: Sensory Assessments As Part of a Unified Early Learning Testing Protocol
By: Susan N. Shriber Orloff, OTR/L

School based screenings for young children are common, but what do they test, and are they enough? They are usually generalized for fine and gross motor, basic perception and social/emotional development.

All of this information is important and very valuable, but for some children essential insights into the quality of a specific performance are not addressed in what "TOTEMS"* used to call "quick and dirty" overviews. (TOTEMS and AOTA program Training Occupational Therapists for Educational Management Systems).

Some children just seem to be missing the ability to "stay with the group". (That is what I hear a lot of when parents call about their young children.) Discovering "why" often falls to the OT doing a specialized assessment.

Many preschool and lower school directors respond to these children by suggesting facilitators who stay with the child during school. While in many cases these individuals do an excellent job, they are also expensive and make the child "stand out" from their peers within the classroom.

Screening for developmental issues can help both the parent and the school administrator decide on the best placement for the child. While the majority of early learners do very well in traditional typical programs, the ones that do not suffer in the same situation. That is when seeking an alternative modified program may be advised.

Please Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Physical Therapy Corner: The Importance of Clinical Videotaping in Pediatric Therapy
by: By: Amanda Krupa, MSc, & Felicia Kurkowski, Pathways Center

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a million. Clinical videotaping, a type of observational recording, follows a child engaged in an activity in a therapy session. The camera is focused on a specific action and records material that may be used as a database for intake decisions, evaluation, documentation of progress, insurance appeals, clinical research, and education.

Intake Decisions
Videos can be particularly useful during the intake process, as they allow for clinical observations without the child being present to determine if he or she might be a good candidate for specific program. For example, videos can be used as a screening tool for inquiries from families living a distance from a therapy center who may be considering travelling to participate in a particular program. Additionally, they may assist an assessing therapist in the planning and organizing for an evaluation session by providing objective baseline data of a child's performance.

The visual and auditory documentation of a child's performance allow for a more in-depth analysis of a child's performance in their evaluation. Not only will a therapist have a record of administration of standardized tests, but they will also be able to reference the footage to ensure accurate scoring. Further, stills from the footage can be useful to measure body/segmental posture and alignment during gait, sitting, and or standing.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Website
Pediatric Therapy Corner: How Drumming Helps Children with Special Needs
By: Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, MT-BC

A friend of mine, and fellow music therapist, Kat Fulton shared a story with me recently:

I utilized drumming at a camp for kids who have parents with cancer. We sang, chanted, and drummed. At the end of it all, I invited each child one by one to come to the center whenever they wanted. When they got to the center, they could cut off the drumming and share something they are thankful for. Then we'd continue drumming. After drumming and singing, and playing rhythm games for an hour, you can imagine how supported and safe these kids felt among their peers. One little 6-year-old girl came to the center and said "That my mom can still be happy." Her father had passed from cancer.

This little girl experienced what many other children and adolescents have experienced before: group support and the feeling of safety that allowed her to share a big feeling. All facilitated through drumming.

Drumming isn't an experience that "only" music therapists can use. In fact, many professionals with a little bit of training can use drum and percussion experiences to help children with special needs in the areas of motor strength and control, speech and communication, social skills, emotional expression, and cognition

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Q&A - Ask the Expert:  Neonatal Therapy: An Emerging Practice Area
By: Sandra Carroll, OTR/L, CIMI & Chrysty Sturdivant, OTR/L

What is Neonatal Therapy?
Neonatal Therapy is the implementation of specialized skills and advanced knowledge in the assessment, planning and treatment of a variety of medical conditions specific to premature and medically fragile infants. In a nutshell, the goal is to maximize developmental outcomes and support infant-parent relationships, contributing to the infant's success in life as a unique individual.

What is a Neonatal Therapist?
A Neonatal Therapist is an Occupational or Physical Therapist or a Speech Language Pathologist who provides direct patient care and/or consultative services for the premature and medically complex infants in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Using an integrated, family-centered model, Neonatal Therapists provide highly specialized and individualized therapeutic interventions that facilitate the prevention of adverse sequela due to prematurity and/or prolonged hospitalization.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism - Difference Vs. Disorder
By: Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Alejandro Brice, PhD, CCC-SLP,
 The Regional Education Service Centers in the State of Texas are providing a series of presentations for speech-language pathologists in school districts throughout Texas focusing on language differences versus language disorders. Two first two parts of the four-part series have been completed. They addressed typical speech development in bilinguals and typical language development in bilinguals.

One of the charts that was very popular in the first presentation was the Venn diagram of the sounds of English and Spanish. The sounds in the middle of the Venn diagram exist in both English and Spanish, while those on the sides are unique to one language or the other. Overlapping sounds tend to be earlier developing sounds. This framework can be applied to any pair of languages. Information about the similarities and differences of the phonetic inventories of two languages can be readily found on the internet. You will find multiple sources so look for consistency between sources before you use the information to make clinical judgments.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: KidPT, Enabled Kids 
Dyspraxia: Conquering the Motor Challenges :  By: Joni Redlich

Reposted from Our Journey Thru Autism 


"I'm doing it! I'm doing it!" yells an exuberant 8 year-old boy as he rides away from me on his bike. This young boy has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and dyspraxia and was so frightened to just sit on his bike with training wheels 4 months ago that he held on to me for dear life. Today he rides away from me on a two-wheeled bike on his own and tomorrow he will ride with his brother through the neighborhood.


Dyspraxia is a term used to describe children who appear clumsy, have poor balance, and have difficulty performing activities in their daily lives, such as dressing, coloring, and playing on the playground. Children with dyspraxia often have challenges with visual perceptual skills, motor planning, and academic demands. Dyspraxia falls under the diagnostic term Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), but is also frequently seen with other developmental disorders, including ADHD, hypotonia and autism spectrum disorders.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Working Your Child with Down Syndrome up to Multitasking - By:  Natan Gendelman

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

In very general terms, a child with Down syndrome may experience developmental delays in many areas. This can include not only his motor function, but his speech and communication as well. In this respect, it is important to remember that development and improvement are things which happen gradually. No one can set your child's future in stone, and it is important to remember that his success depends not just on the therapists who work with him, but on you as the parent.

You are the one who is constantly working with and supporting your child, and the one who will allow your child to demonstrate how capable he is. In essence, you are learning to become a therapist as your child is learning to interact successfully with the world around him. The treatment that you provide does not happen simply once or twice a week, but all the time in every aspect of his life. As a result, it is important to understand the ways to approach your child so that he can listen to you and respond effectively to your treatments.

Read the Rest of this Guest Article on our Blog
Worth Repeating:  Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades
We thank the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences for making their pages available.

In the primary grades students with reading difficulties may need intervention to prevent future reading failure. This guide offers specific recommendations to help educators identify students in need of intervention and implement evidence-based interventions to promote their reading achievement. It also describes how to carry out each recommendation, including how to address potential roadblocks in implementing them.

Read the Full Practice Guide on our Website

Also Worth Repeating:  April is Occupational Therapy Month 
By: The AOTA Staff

Each year in April, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students in practice, education, research, and science host a month long celebration showcasing the importance of Occupational Therapy. It's the time of year when everyone in the profession goes out of their way to tell the world about what we do. But promoting our profession is not just an April job.

AOTA encourages full participation in OT Month, and has made a number of tools available to make your organizing efforts a little April, and all year!

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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