April 29, 2011
Issue 4, Volume 5 
It's All About the Choices!     

Hello there and Happy Friday.   Our thoughts and prayers are with all our PediaStaff friends and family affected this week by the deadly storms in the south.   Sobering times.

We have a new feature that we want to call to your attention. Therapy professors and students alike have commented that our articles are often excellent for classroom discussion.    This month we bring you the "Case Study of the Month," which we will bring you as often as we are able.  In this column, we will provide an article, written in case study format, that also includes questions for discussion for the classroom.   Occasionally our regular columns will also contain questions for discussion and we will mark those columns in green for easy identification as well.   Please feel free to forward our newsletter to any professors/instructors of OT, PT and Communication Sciences and Disorders that you think might be interested in getting these. 

We would like to introduce two new bloggers to you to this week.   Kelly Ring-Whiklo, of 'Speech Savvy' is joining us as an occasional contributor to these pages.  We also would like to welcome Becca Jarzynski as well. Becca's blog on early intervention is our "Worth Repeating" article this week and was featured this week on ASHASphere and is getting great reviews.   Welcome Kelly and Becca!

Here's a fun one to follow up on.   A couple of months ago, we featured a survey being done by some SLP students at North Carolina State.  Well, it turns out our readership responded and completed 17 surveys which helped them to their goal.   This week, their team won an award for achievement in product design in the field of medical devices!   Great job!

News Items:
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Young Rapper with Autism Signs Record Contract
  • Don't Feel So Good Story of the Week:  Boy Denied First Communion Because Of Disability  
  • Early Intervention in the News: Childhood Stimulation May Reduce Adult Violence  
  • Handwriting in the News:  The Case for Cursive (from the New York Times) 
  • Simple Test Helps Spot Autism in Infants, Study Suggests  
  • NC State Student Innovation Team Receives PDMA Award for Fluency Assistant
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Thumbball Review from an SLP Perspective 
  • Stimmy Autism Toys Reviewed  
  • Book Reviews: Books by and for Children with Autism 

Upcoming Events and CEU Opportunities:  

  • The Great Parent Sensory Detective  

Articles and Blogs  

  • SLP Corner with Case Study:  Speech-Language-Reading Connections, and a Case Study of a Child with CAS whose Speech, Language and Reading Disabilities were Successfully Treated   
  • OT Corner: Intervention Strategies for Children with Self Stimulation Behaviors   
  • Physical Therapy Corner: Improving Balance in Preschool Children  
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  DIR/Floortime in Assessing and Treating Selective Mutism  
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  The Complexities of Being Bilingual 
  • Q&A:  Switch Skills - Advancing to the Next Level   
  • Case Study of the Month:  Why Jacob Won't Talk 
  • Guest Blog: Legos for Language 
  • Guest Blog: Get Your Hands Dirty 
  • Worth Repeating: The Rest of The Story: The Changing Face of Early Intervention  
  • Also Worth Repeating: An Interview with Carol Murphy - The Impact of Speech Language Disorders on Learning 

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 
Feel Good Story of the Week: Young Rapper with Autism Signs Record Contract
[Source Disability Scoop and ESPN]

An 18-year-old high school student with autism whose rap videos became a sensation on YouTube is hitting the big time this month with the debut of his first album.

Antonio Henderson-Davis, who performs under the name 50 Tyson, was a regular kid taking special education classes and playing on his high school football team. That is, until he filmed himself rapping in front of his bathroom mirror.

The resulting videos went viral on YouTube, attracting the attention of Troy Hudson, a former NBA player with his own record label who signed the young star to a record deal.

Henderson-Davis's family and teachers have expressed some concerns about the Minnesota teen's rise to fame and whether or not everyone he's now working with has his best interests at heart.

Learn More about 50 Tyson and Watch His Music Video on Our Blog
Don't Feel So Good Story of the Week: Boy Denied First Communion Because Of Disability
[Source: Disability Scoop]

A Texas woman is outraged after she says her 8-year-old grandson was denied the opportunity to participate in a religious milestone all because he has a developmental disability.

Irma Castro spent months preparing her grandson, Kevin, for his first communion. But she says the priest at her Floresville, Texas church refused to allow the boy to participate because he has cerebral palsy and limited mental abilities.

Read the Rest of this Article and an ABC Report on this Story Through a Link on our Blog
Early Intervention in the News: Childhood Stimulation May Reduce Adult Violence
[Source: Reuters]

Toddlers in a program to encourage interaction and play with their mothers grew into adults with higher IQs, greater educational attainment and less involvement in violence than kids who did not receive the early stimulation, a new study finds.

These latest results are the fourth follow-up in a series of studies since the early-childhood program ended, about 20 years ago.

"The most exciting finding this time was the reduction in violent behavior, because that's something we haven't shown before," said Dr. Susan Walker, the lead researcher and a professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handwriting in the News - The Case for Cursive - from the New York Times
[Source: The New York Times]

For centuries, cursive handwriting has been an art. To a growing number of young people, it is a mystery.

The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABC's is revealing some unforeseen challenges.

Might people who write only by printing - in block letters, or perhaps with a sloppy, squiggly signature - be more at risk for forgery? Is the development of a fine motor skill thwarted by an aversion to cursive handwriting? And what happens when young people who are not familiar with cursive have to read historical documents like the Constitution?

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism Screening in the News: Simple Test Helps Spot Autism in Infants, Study Suggests
[Source: Reuters]

A five-minute screening test could help detect autism in babies at 12 months of age, giving parents and doctors far more time to intervene, U.S. researchers said Thursday.

The study is the first to show that a simple screening tool could be used to detect autism in infants, said Dr. Lisa Gilotty, who heads the autism program at the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study.

"The benefit of this study is children get into treatment much earlier than they would otherwise," Karen Pierce of the University of California, San Diego, whose study appears in the Journal of Pediatrics, said in a telephone interview.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Thanks PediaStaff Readers!:  NC State Student Innovation Team Receives PDMA Award for Fluency Assistant
Editor's Note: This article details the award won by NC State SLP students for their research on a new high tech fluency device that NC State is developing. PediaStaff featured this research and requested that our readership participate in the survey portion of their work.

Thank You to every one of our PediaStaff friends that participated in this research. Ty tells me that PediaStaff referrals accounted for 17 completed surveys!


April 28, 2011 (Durham, NC)-A cross-functional team of graduate students at North Carolina State University recently received an award for their achievement in product design in the field of medical devices.

The Carolinas chapter of the Product Development and Management Association awarded the NC State team as the winner of its graduate product design and development competition at its annual Innovate Carolina conference on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on April 15, 2011. The award's sponsor, Charlotte-based innovation firm Enventys, presented the team with a product development services package valued at $8,000.

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

Upcoming Event: The Great Parent Sensory Detective

Editor's Note:  This class is designed for parents rather than professionals   We are promoting it here that you might recommend it to the parents of your kiddos with sensory processing issues 


Course Details:  Friday, July 22, 2011, 12:00-1:00pm EST:  Cost:  $19.95

Course Description:   As parents we are inundated with information, articles, and research and we have to pick and choose what is best for our children. The latest research by the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation indicates that 1 in every 6 children experiences sensory symptoms that may be significant enough to affect aspects of everyday life functions. Is your child suffering from an undetected sensory concern? Perhaps hitting their brother is a result of a hearing sensitivity or maybe your child bumps into furniture and stumbles on curbs. Does your child have problems following directions, have manic outbursts at school, or refuse to wear their pajamas? Your child may be giving you clues to what is going on internally, so Jackie Linder Olson will go over how to interpret these signs, getting to the root of the problem.

This course teaches you how to become a Sensory Detective. The five common senses will be explored as well as those mystery senses; Vestibular, Proprioception and Interoception. Jackie will explain (in parent friendly terms) how to understand these invisible senses, what to be looking for, and then most importantly, how to help your child! We'll also explore those always present food issues; diet, allergies/intolerances, and picky eaters. A Parent Detective checklist will be provided to start your discussion with your pediatrician and/or therapist.  


Learn More About This Course or Enroll  

Product Review of the Week - Thumbball - The SLP Perspective
By: Joleen Fernald, MS CCC-SLP, Doctoral Student

Thumballs are described by their creators as "high quality, soft, stuffed, soccer-style balls" that can
  • improve participation and group dynamics at workshops and team building events
  • invigorate audiences periodically during classes and presentations
  • address academic goals, IEPs, speech therapy, ESL, OT, PT and special needs
  • enhance family fun night with a game all generations can play together
  • customization available to HR managers, training organizations, schools, clubs, teams, niche markets and creative entrepreneurs.
Though there are many different types of Thumballs, I had the pleasure of using the "Who are you?" and "Category Mania" balls in multiple speech and language therapy sessions. The "Who are you?" ball includes a number of topics such as, "Favorite toy or game", "Fun sport to play", and "3 gross foods" that can be used during a social skills lesson or as a warm up to a therapy session. The "Category Mania" ball includes categories such as "Jungle animals", "Things to read", and "Occupations". This ball was a great tool to work on rapid automatic naming and word retrieval during a game of Hot Potato.

Read the Rest of this Product Review on our Blog

Product Reviews : 'Stimmy' Autism Toys on Autism Talk TV
Special thanks to our friends at Fun And Function for this link to this video of Alex and Jack of 'Autism Talk TV' reviewing "Stimmy" Autism Toys
Book Reviews of the Week: Books by and for Children with Autism
[Source: New York Times 'Arts Beat' Blog]

April is Autism Awareness Month, and given the increase in the number of children with autism spectrum disorders (the rate is in constant dispute, but some estimate that A.S.D. affects as many as 1 in 110 children), a stack of new books for and about [children with autism] is to be expected.

This year, several of the books look noticeably different, shedding the institutional feel of earlier takes on the subject. The mission remains, but the books look like the kinds of books children may actually want to read.

Read the Rest of this Article and Learn about these Recommended Books on New York
Speech-Language Pathology Corner w Case Study:  Speech-Language-Reading Connections, and a Case Study of a Child with CAS 
By: Sandra McKinnis, M.A., CCCSLP

Research conducted over the past 38 years has established that reading is not just the visual memory task it was once thought to be. As early as 1972, Kavanaugh and Mattingly in "Language by Ear and by Eye: The relationship between speech and reading" argued that a connection exists between spoken and written language.

This connection is not surprising as word recognition and reading comprehension share "many of the same processes and sources of knowledge involved in talking and understanding oral language (Butler, 1999; Catts, 1993; Kahmi & Catts, 1991). Knowledge of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics is involved in understanding both spoken and written language."

Word recognition, also called decoding, is a complex skill built upon a number of language and visual processing capabilities. Mature readers recognize most words by sight and have words stored in memory in multiple ways. They have established connections between how the word looks in print, how it sounds when spoken, its relationship to other words through rhyming and alliteration, its semantic meanings, and its possible syntactic place within sentences.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog   


Occupational Therapy Corner: Intervention Strategies for Children with Self Stimulation Behaviors
By: Rona Silverstein OTR/L

Self stimulation behaviors can be the most challenging to therapists as the children appear to get stuck in a loop of movement that they cannot break out of and can return to this movement frequently throughout their day. These children often present with delays in their development and are highly variable in their presentation. The focus of this article is to understand how best to help these children. These behaviors will be defined and described with a historical view of intervention strategies.

Sensory stimulation behaviors, self-stimulating or stereotyped behavior or movement is "repetitive bodily movement which serves no apparent purpose in the external environment" (Harris & Wolchick, 1979, p. 185). These behaviors frequently interfere with the ability to function independently and therefore must often be addressed before any significant improvement in function can be accomplished through intervention (Harris & Wolchick).

The etiology of these behaviors are not clearly understood, but theorized as being one of the two explanations. First, it may be due to these behaviors that are reinforcing as they are stimulating to the tactile, proprioceptive and other sensory stimulation that cannot be achieved through conventional adaptive means. On the other hand, these behaviors may be used to selfregulate or calm when the sensory information is difficult to receive and interpret (Smith, 2005).

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Physical Therapy Corner: Improving Balance in Preschool Children 
by: Michele Silence, M.A.

Balance is a skill necessary for lifelong health.  A good sense of balance requires that muscles are able to control posture and keep the body upright.  Being on balance is the process of controlling the body's center of mass.  Or quite simply, not falling down.  Static balance refers to maintaining equilibrium while holding still.  Dynamic balance refers to maintaining equilibrium while moving.


It's crucial that preschool children acquire a good sense of balance.  They need to practice a variety of challenging exercises especially in regards to dynamic balance because it's so crucial in being competent with physical skills later on.  Throwing, catching,  jumping and other gross motor activities require a child to be able to maintain their center of gravity.  Balance is the foundation for a healthy life filled with movement.


Three sensory systems are responsible for controlling dynamic balance.  First, the body must be able to perceive where it is in space.  The somatosensory system allows a child to sense where their body is in space.  It provides information regarding the position and movement of body parts in relation to one another.  The visual system gives feedback on body location in relation to objects in the environment.  The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, helps determine whether the body or the world is moving.  It becomes extremely important in helping maintain balance when the other two systems are impaired. Children with impairments in any of these three systems may need extra help and time to improve stability.


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Pediatric Therapy Corner: DIR/Floortime in Assessing and Treating Selective Mutism
By: Joleen Fernald, MS CCC-SLP, Doctoral Student 

Selective Mutism has been described as a social communication anxiety disorder (The Selective Mutism Group, n.d.). Though its prevalence is considered rare in the DSM-IV (APA, 2004), research by Bergman et al (2002) showed that 1 in 143 elementary school-aged children met the diagnostic criteria for Selective Mutism.

Selective Mutism is documented to be associated with a number of co-morbid disorders that complicate a child's profile. Given Selective Mutism's relationship to anxiety, most consider these co-morbid disorders to be psychiatric in nature including depression, panic disorders, dissociative disorders, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and Asperger's disorder (Sharp et al., 2006). Kopp and Gillberg (1997) found that 7.4 percent of children with Selective Mutism also met criteria for Asperger's disorder. More recently, Stein et. al. (2010) found a partially shared etiology between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Selective Mutism.

However, speech and language disorders are also prevalent in children with Selective Mutism. Cleator and Hand (2001) estimate that 80% of children with SM also have speech and language disorders, while Steinhausen et al., (1996) suggest that about 38% have pre-morbid speech and language problems. These findings are consistent with theories that children with Selective Mutism avoid speaking out of fear of being teased for mispronouncing a word (Krysanski, 2003). McInnes et al. (2004) suggests that children with Selective Mutism have shorter, linguistically simpler narratives with less detail than children with social phobia. Children with Selective Mutism may also have normal receptive language and cognitive skills, but they show subtle expressive language deficits not attributable to social anxiety (McInnes et al., 2004).

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Q&A - Ask the Expert:  Switch Skills - Advancing to the Next Level
By: Mishelle Rudzinski, SLP and AT Specialist

Some children with limited motor skills use switches to access toys, communication, and/or the computer. Unfortunately, sometimes children who can benefit from more complex switch activities get stuck at the cause-effect level. They can hit a switch to make something happen, but they don't necessarily advance beyond that stage to using the switch for more complex communication or computer access. Following are some ideas for helping children advance their switch skills:

When are switches appropriate?
Switch activities are appropriate for any child with limited physical abilities who needs assistance communicating, playing with toys, or accessing the computer. There are many different types of switches and they can be activated with any part of the body. The trick is to find the child's most reliable form of responding and use that for switch access. An occupational or physical therapist with experience assessing kids with switches should be consulted to find the best switch and best access method for the child.

What's the best way to cue children when they are learning to use switches?
Ideally, a child should be set up with the correct switch in the correct placement with a fun activity. The activity itself should be the cue so little to no verbal cuing should be required by an adult. For example, program a single message communication switch to say "blow it up" and look expectantly at the child with a balloon poised to be blown up. No other cueing should be needed.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism - The Complexities of Being Bilingual
By:   Alejandro Brice, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Bilingual or dual language acquisition is a process that differs from monolingual development (Brice & Brice, 2009). It involves more layers that affect ultimate acquisition including: (a) second language acquisition factors; (b) environmental factors; (c) individual factors; (d) developmental factors, and, (e) if the child has disabilities, then disabilities are also confounding factors. This article will briefly present these overlaying components and provide suggestions for speech-language pathologists in promoting bilingualism. See Figure 1.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Case Study of the Month - Why Jacob Won't Talk; A Selective Mutism Case Study with Questions for Discussion 
As Appeared in the February 18, 2008 issue of People Magazine
Questions for Study by:  Gail Kervatt, 
M. Ed

At Jacob Hanna's seventh birthday party, the dining room of his Fredericksburg, VA house is a sheer, raucous, pandemonium.  Deep-dish pizza dangling from their mouth's five boys shriek over each other.  "Spider-Man's better tahn Superman!" one of them proclaims.  Everyone's having a blast - except Jacob.  Sitting silently, he frowns at his mother, Donna.  He gets up, drags her by the sleeve into another room and whispers in her ear.  On their return, Donna makes an announcement.  

"Jacob would like to serve drinks."  Like the perfect butler, her son delivers cups of soda to his guests.  And all the while, he never says a word. 

Read the Rest of this Article and Questions for Discussion Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: Speech Gadget, Speech Savvy 
Legos for Language:  By: Deb Tomarakos, SLP-CCC

Most parents know that there is something magical about Legos that inspire children to create. They also know that if you happen to step on a Lego in the dark, it can bring you to your knees crying in pain as though your foot was punctured with a rusty nail. Okay, well maybe I am exaggerating a bit but if you have stepped on those tiny bricks in the dark, you know what I mean.

An alternative to stepping on mini bricks in the dark is visiting the Lego website at I love this website. It is user friendly and there are many great resources for kids (if you can get past the photos of all the Lego sets that your children will see and want you to buy).

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Get Your Hands Dirty:  By: Kelly Ring-Whiklo, M.Sc., S-LP ( C )

We had beautiful weather over the Easter weekend. It inspired me to get outside and start preparing my garden for planting. Although it's a bit early to actually put anything in the ground yet (at least here), I pulled some (ok, a lot) of weeds, and did a general clean up. Some of my perennials are even starting to come up! Of course, the boys wanted to help. What kid doesn't like to dig in the dirt? So the inspiration for this week's post was born.

Spend some time with your child, working in the garden. The garden is rich with vocabulary (e.g. flowers, bugs, tools, colors, sizes, heights), and the necessity of being close to the ground is the perfect opportunity to get on your child's level and face to face.

No garden? No excuses! Plant a pot for your deck, patio or balcony. Grow an indoor herb garden on your window sill.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Worth Repeating: The Rest of The Story - The Changing Face of Early Intervention
by Becca Jarzynski for ASHASphere

About one year ago now, I started hearing some new buzz words swirling around the Early Intervention Program in my home state of Wisconsin-words like evidence-based practices and coaching, natural learning environments and primary provider. As a pediatric speech-language pathologist, I was a bit intrigued. Mostly though, I was rather annoyed and quite a bit skeptical. After all, I had been trained to look analytically at a child's speech or language, come up with a plan to fix it, and implement that plan systematically and objectively. Suddenly, it seemed, I was being asked to take a step way back. To work through parents rather than through the child, and to train parents to be speech therapists. And I found it absurd to expect parents to learn in a few short months what I had learned in six years of higher education.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating:  An Interview with Carol Murphy, SLP - The Impact of Speech Language Disorders on Learning  

By: Michael F. Shaughnessy

Michael F. Shaughnessy - The field of learning disabilities has made great progress over the years, including better assessments and the use of MRI brain imaging, allowing for earlier and more definitive identification of a child's learning disabilities.

1) Carol, the field of "learning disabilities" has been with us for many years. What do you feel are the current issues in identification?

The field of learning disabilities has made great progress over the years, including better assessments and the use of MRI brain imaging, allowing for earlier and more definitive identification of a child's learning disabilities. Further, research into specific programs or therapeutic strategies for intervention, have greatly enhanced the ability to more closely match the learning profile of students, thus reducing the unnecessary and time consuming attempts to find the appropriate remediation tools.

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. 

Visit our Resources Pages

Quick Links to PediaStaff

Subscribe To Our Newsletter Or Sign Up A Friend

Please Note:  The views and advice expressed in articles, videos and other pieces published in this newsletter are not necessarily the views and advice of PediaStaff or its employees but rather that of the author.  PediaStaff is not endorsing or implying agreement with the views or advice contained therein, rather presenting them for the independent analysis and information of its readers.
If you would like to opt out of receiving this newsletter, there is a link located in the footer below. However, please note that once you've opted out, we will be unable to send you any future correspondence via newsletter.