August 26, 2011
Issue 8, Volume 5 
It's All About the Choices!     

Welcome to the August Monthly edition of the PediaStaff newsletter.   For those of you that read our publication at school, welcome back!  Hope everyone had a great summer.

I know I have talked about Pinterest a lot during the past couple of weeks.  I wanted to repeat my introductory pitch one last time for those of you have been off for the summer or who only read us monthly.  I am especially excited about this idea for those of you managing departments of school based therapists.

Pinterest is a fantastic website that lets you catalog and share items you find on the web in a visual way.  It is perfect for teachers and therapists for keeping track of great resources and ideas, websites to remember and blogs.  Each item you save is called a "pin" and you can organize those pins onto personal "pin-boards" by categories of your choosing.  PediaStaff has started an already robust Pinterest page of our own with over 600 pins, 40 pin-boards, and 266 followers at this writing. 

Our pinboards are arranged by topic like handwriting, language, vocabulary, articulations, social skills, attention, phonology, gross and fine motor skills and also by theme (by major holidays and seasons) that professionals love to use to promote engaged learning. 

Please Note:  The therapy ideas and resources we are posting up on Pinterest are freely accessible by anyone and WITHOUT a login.  Visitors do NOT need to apply to PediaStaff or provide ANY of their contact information to anyone to use our Pinterest site.   (of course the same goes for the  PediaStaff Blog as well) - so share away!)

I will get off my Pinterest soapbox now.  From here on in, you will get a more subtle reminder that Pinterest is here for you and we will feature a "Pinterest Idea of the Week."  Enjoy.

Here is our issue for August:

News Items:
  • Writing problems common in kids with ADHD 
  • Robot for Children with Autism to be Sold by Toys-R-Us this Christmas
  • Sensory-Friendly Performance of Lion King Coming To Broadway
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Teen Behind Inclusive Cheerleading Program Awarded $100K to Expand it 
  • Two Year Old Children Understand Complex Grammar
  • Research Shows 'Robust' Link Between Preschool, Language and Literacy
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Pinterest Therapy Idea of the Week:  Candyland DIY 'Sight Word Edition' 
  • Therapy Resource of the Week: Therapy Street for Kids
  • Project Lifesaver - A Great Program for Children with Autism or Down Syndrome Who Wander
Articles and Blogs  
  • SLP Corner: Utilizing Read Alouds to Develop Literacy and Language Skills
  • OT Corner: Your Sensory Sensitive Kiddos Go Back to School! 
  • School Psychology Corner: Has My Child Experienced Brain Injury? - Identifying Brain Injury in Children
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  What You Can Do When Learning and Attention Problems are Due to a Vision Problem
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  Alzheimer's Dementia. A Cuban-American Story
  • Guest Blog: Music Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology - A Collaboration (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Guest Blog: The Struggle to Succeed  
  • Guest Blog: Let the Good Times Roll 
  • Worth Repeating: Handwriting and its Ill Effects on Classroom Behavior
  • Also Worth Repeating: Fitness for Individuals who are Visually Impaired, Blind, and Deafblind

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 
ADHD in the News: Writing problems common in kids with ADHD

[Source: Reuters]


Kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have writing problems such as poor spelling and grammar than their peers, suggests a new study. And the difference may be especially conspicuous in girls with ADHD.


Reading and math problems often raise red flags for teachers and parents, but "written-language disorder is kind of overlooked," said study author Dr. Slavica Katusic, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Robots for Autism in the News: Mass Market Robot Designed for Autism to be Sold by Toys-R-Us this Christmas

[Source: Disability Scoop]


A fuzzy yellow robot initially used for autism therapy is going mainstream this fall, with Toys "R" Us marketing a consumer version that very well could be the next must-have Christmas item.

The robot known as My Keepon is just 10 inches tall and features little more than two big eyes and a black dot for a nose. But, it responds to touch and can turn and even sneeze.


What's more, the little creature can dance, with its movements changing along with the beat of any music playing nearby. Keepon's dancing is such a draw that a video posted on YouTube has generated 2.6 million views.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Sensory Friendly Entertainment in the News: Autism-Friendly Performance of Lion King Coming To Broadway
[Source: Disability Scoop]

Autism-friendly screenings have become a staple at movie theaters in recent years. Now a nonprofit group is taking the concept to Broadway.


The Theatre Development Fund - which works to make theater accessible to all - said Wednesday it will host an autism-friendly performance of Disney's "The Lion King" Oct. 2 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre as part of a pilot initiative.


The special show will feature adjustments to accommodate sensory issues that audience members may have. Specifically, the cast is working to minimize surprise noises and the use of strobe lights.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on Our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week - Feel Good Story of the Week: Teen Behind Inclusive Cheerleading Program Awarded $100K to Expand It
[Source: Disability Scoop]

A teenager who started the nation's first school-based cheerleading squad including students both with and without disabilities is getting $100,000 to expand the concept


Sarah Cronk, 18, got the idea to include students with disabilities on a cheerleading squad at her Bettendorf, Iowa high school in 2008 after observing the boost her brother with autism received when he was befriended by the school's swim team captain.


Since then, 33 schools located as far away as South Africa have replicated Cronk's original squad comprised of students with various disabilities and typically developing teens who act as peer coaches. All of the students perform together at high school football and basketball games.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Language Development in the News: Two Year Old Children Understand Complex Grammar

[Source: Medical Xpress]


Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have found that children as young as two years old have an understanding of complex grammar even before they have learned to speak in full sentences.


Researchers at the University's Child Language Study Centre showed children, aged two, sentences containing made-up verbs, such as 'the rabbit is glorping the duck', and asked them to match the sentence with a cartoon picture. They found that even the youngest two-year-old could identify the correct image with the correct sentence, more often than would be expected by chance.


The study suggests that infants know more about language structure than they can actually articulate, and at a much earlier age than previously thought. The work also shows that children may use the structure of sentences to understand new words, which may help explain the speed at which infants acquire speech.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Literacy Research: Research Shows 'Robust' Link Between Preschool, Language and Literacy
Thanks to our friends at Literacy Speaks for the heads-up on this research story!

Preschool teachers' use of sophisticated vocabulary and analytic talk about books, combined with early support for literacy in the home, can predict fourth-grade reading comprehension and word recognition, new research from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College finds.


The findings, published in Child Development and included in a review article in the August 19, 2011 edition of Science, present evidence that there are lasting, complex and mutually reinforcing effects that flow from strong early childhood classrooms.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pinterest Therapy Idea of the Week: Candy Land D-I-Y 'Sight Word Edition'
Gotta love Pinterest! We found this great idea on the  First Grader At Last blog through Phoebe31

Buy a copy of Candyland (under $5 at Target), type up a set of Dolch Sight Words, cut them apart, and tape the words to the cards with clear packing tape.

Therapy Resource of the Week: Therapy Street for Kids

We were surfing the net last week and we came upon a pretty nice website full of activities for pediatric OTs.


Therapy Street for Kids is the website of Mindy Buckner, an OTR in Virginia. She runs a small Amazon Associate Store linking to toys, games and other products that she likes. It was created as a resource for parents.


In addition to her store, she has a very nice collection of activities for home exercises that isolate a variety of skills sets. Subjects include fine motor, pincer grasp, scissor skills, handwriting, thumb opposition, sensory strategies, bilateral coordination and others. Seems like an excellent resource.

Check out Therapy Street for Kids Through a Link on our Blog

Every Therapist Needs to Know About: Project Lifesaver - A Great Program for Children with Autism or Down Syndrome Who Wander

Founded by Public Safety Officers, Project Lifesaver International (PLI), is an organization whose sole mission is to provide a timely response to save the lives of adults and children with Autism, Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, Dementia, and other conditions, who wander. Started in 1999, PLI has offered public outreach programs to educate others about wandering.

They have also provided equipment, training, certification and support to law enforcement and public safety officials through the country. These trainings include in-depth information on the use of specialized electronic search and rescue equipment technology and most importantly, how to communicate with people with cognitive or developmental conditions. PLI has over 1200 agencies in 45 participating states. They have performed 2,421 searches in the last 11 years with no serious injuries or fatalities ever reported.

Learn About Project Lifesaver for Your Kiddos that Wander

Speech Language Pathology Corner: Utilizing Read Alouds to Develop Literacy and Language Skills

by Dianne Joustra, M.S. Ed,


In 2001, congressional leaders realized a need to develop literacy skills among our nation's children and as a result, passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While NCLB has its toxic flaws, one of the single most important measures that resulted from this piece of legislation was the National Reading Panel which developed the Put Reading First Document. This document provided teachers throughout the nation with 5 essential guidelines for effective reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade. The guidelines included: 1) phonemic awareness, 2) phonics, 3) vocabulary development, 4) reading fluency and 5) reading comprehension.

Recognizing a need to provide developmentally appropriate literacy experiences for young children, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the International Reading Association (IRA), in 2005, joined forces and committed to helping young children become motivated

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: Your Sensory Sensitive Kiddos Go Back to School! 
By: Jackie Linder Olson

Editor's Note: This article is directed at parents, but would a a great resource to share with the caregivers for your sensory sensitive kiddos!

It is time to go back to school, which can be both exciting and stressful. If your child is hyper-sensitive they may have social anxiety as well that can be debilitating. For those hypo-sensitive children sitting in school and being quiet can be torture for their active minds and bodies. Here are a few tips to help make your sensory sensitive child's day smoother and just maybe they'll become teacher's pet.

Before School
Try to have your child's clothes ready the night before and ready for them to put on. Hopefully they've gotten a solid amount of sleep and have woken up on the right side of the bed. After their nutritious and delicious breakfast, set aside those last minutes before leaving home for calming activities such as jumping on the mini trampoline or give them a few deep pressure squeezes to their shoulders. Drinking thick liquid through a straw will also help them calm themselves and regulate their bodies.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Pediatric Therapy Corner: What You Can Do When Learning and Attention Problems are Due to a Vision Problem
By: Carole L. Hong, OD, FCOVD

According to the College of Optometrist in Vision Development, while learning occurs through a number of complex and interrelated processes, vision plays a key role. What can you do to help your clients after you have performed a vision screening or referred them for a developmental vision examination as part of your interdisciplinary evaluation? In this article you will find some simple strategies and accommodations that you can suggest or implemented when visual problems are suspected, detected or being treated.


To rule out a learning-related vision problem, the first step is a developmental vision examination. This is often performed after a comprehensive vision and eye health examination has ruled out any pathology or visual acuity problems. Annual eye examinations are important between 6-12 months of age, three years, five years and once every year while in school. When a learning-related vision problem is identified, treatment may include prescription glasses or contact lenses, prisms and/or office-based optometric vision therapy.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
School Psychology Corner:  Has My Child Experienced Brain Injury? - Identifying Brain Injury in Children

By: David E. Nilsson Ph.D ABPP/CN


Editor's Note: This article is directed at parents rather than professionals, however PediaStaff has chosen to feature it as a resources to share with the parents and guardians of your kiddos with brain injury.


A significant percentage of children who have been diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome have likely experienced some form of brain injury, often not recognized as having occurred. There is another percentage of that population where the etiology of the symptoms is unknown. But, in either event, the brain for such individuals is not functioning normally. Many children with a variety of emotional/behavioral disorders have some form of acquired brain injury, often not recognized or diagnosed.


It is not typical to think of children when one thinks of strokes, but an impressive number of children of infants born experience vascular events, the percentage reported in different studies has been estimated to be somewhere between 15% to 20%, conservatively. (Google "perinatal vascular event") For a majority of those patients, there is no indication or evidence of outward manifestation of a stroke. Many of the strokes are a result of maternal clotting disorders (e.g., Factor 5 Lyden anomalies), a 


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism: Alzheimer's Dementia. A Cuban-American Story

Editor's Note: As you know, PediaStaff typically features only articles on pediatric topics. Alejendro's story is such a moving and deeply personal one, however, that we have made an exception to share this article with you this month.


By: Alejandro Brice, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Alzheimer's dementia (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disease that occurs in the cerebral cortex due to increased levels of glutamate and the proliferation of plaque-forming amyloid beta proteins. Neuronal transmissions are reduced and slowed due to the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques, which are the by-products of high glutamate and protein levels (Duyckaerts, Cole, Delatour, & Hauw, 1999). Individuals presenting with progressive, degenerative cognitive ability and memory skills following the pattern and behaviors of Alzheimer's dementia are given the AD label.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: ExploreMusicTherapy, PediatricOT, Jezzabella's OT Experiences     
Music Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology - A Collaboration (Parts 1 & 2):  By: Rachel See Smith

Speech-Language Pathologists collaborate with a variety of people and professionals: the family, educators, doctors, psychologists, therapists, and social workers, to name a few. These team members are involved in the patient's daily life, playing an important part in the client's speech and language-learning success (Rychener Hobson, 2006).

In order to ensure a successful collaboration, everyone involved must be on the same page, supporting the patient's needs with a wide variety of specialties and activities. This collaboration can truly make an impact on the patient's improvement.


Music Therapy is often one of these therapies that collaborate with Speech-Language Pathology. According to Register (2002), of the 695 music therapists questioned, 44.6% said that they collaborate with SLPs.


Read the Rest of these Articles on our Blog

The Struggle to Succeed -  By: By: Loren Shlaes, OTR/L

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Alva Edison

"Eighty percent of success is just showing up." - Woody Allen


Learning to tolerate frustration is one of the most important lessons a child can learn, and one of the hardest. Children who can't deal with frustration, who don't have the inner capacity to sit with themselves and struggle, have a difficult time in many areas of life. They don't feel good about themselves or have confidence in their abilities.


Children who can't deal with frustration can't wait for others to finish speaking before interrupting. They can't take turns, they can't share, they can't apply themselves when it's time to learn a new skill. They can't defer immediate gratification and take the long view.


Let the Good Times Roll -  By: Jessical Shiel  


First of all welcome any new readers from PediaStaff, which is a metablog as well as a business among other things. Their blog is geared towards speech, physical, and occupational therapists. I am a Georgia girl who just started occupational therapy school today. I had been volunteering in the worlds of hippotherapy and special needs camps.

The first day of class will be tomorrow because today was just orientation. We were first introduced to the faculty and then to each other. The health center came in and told us about their services. Then the second years came to talk to us. They took questions and offered up some things to do around town. We each had as second year that was partnered with us. They brought us gifts. Mine was super sweet. She brought me a lot of candy, highlighters, a clipboard, and sticky notes among other things.  
Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog


Worth Repeating:  Handwriting and its Ill Effects on Classroom Behavior
By: John Murray - as featured on

I find it ironic that the tool that is used to measure school success (for tests, quizzes, reports/compositions, math computation, etc...) gets little attention in the early years of school and less later on. The tool I am referring to is the "pencil".


Using a pencil well and executing the movements necessary to write with minimal effort are not the mark of most of today's students. There are a number of reasons; I believe that the biggest culprit is that when we ask the average kindergarten student to write 3 sentences in the first semester of kindergarten we are asking something that is not neurophysiologically feasible. We don't give 13 year olds driver's permits for good reason and I feel expecting a child to write fluidly at age 5 or 6 is much the same.


Read the Full Text of This Article Through a Link on our Blog

Also Worth Repeating: Fitness for Individuals who are Visually Impaired, Blind, and Deafblind
by: The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

Regular physical activity benefits both physical and psychological health, and reduces risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and stress-related illnesses (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 1996). Although many people believe that children are naturally active, children in the United States did not engage in levels of activity sufficient to maintain adequate fitness (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 1996), and percentages of overweight children were at an all time high (Nicklas, Webber, Johnson, Srinivasan, & Berenson, 1995; Sallis & Patrick, 1994). The literature clearly shows that regular physical activity and related lifestyle changes can significantly reduce premature all-cause death and disability, improve the quality of our lives and increase our chances for longevity in the population at large (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). It would be presumed to benefit children who are visually impaired blind as well.


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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