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

Happy New Year!!    Another big issue for you today.  Firstly I would like to welcome Stacy Menz, DPT, of Starfish Therapies to our Guest Blogger roll.   Today she has for us an article on the 'evils' of 'W-Sitting.'  Welcome, Stacy!!  

I would also like to introduce a new feature this week, 'Meet PediaStaff.'   Not all of you have the priviledge of traveling to ASHA and AOTA so I thought in the spirit of the new year, that it was time to bring our staff to you!    This week you will learn about me, since I had to give the staff time to run around with camera's and take new pretty pictures of themselves!  I will introduce the rest of our fantastic team starting with next week's issue!    Here is our offering for this first new week of 2012!
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pincer Grasp Activity Disguised as a Cool Science Demonstration 
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week: Add 'Charm' to Pencil With Rubber Band for Proper Tripod Grasp 
  • Therapy Ideas for Martin Luther King Day 
  • Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects 

Articles and Blogs

  • NEW FEATURE! - Meet PediaStaff:  Heidi Kay 
  • Guest Blog: Why is W-sitting a Four Letter Word?
  • Guest Blog: A Review of 'A Mile in His Shoes' on DVD  
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: On Empathy 
  • Worth Repeating: IEP Guidance and Resources from ASHA 
  • Also Worth Repeating: Deficits of Dyspraxia        
Feel free to contact us with any questions about our openings or items in these pages. Have you discovered our RSS feed? Click on the orange button below to subscribe to all our openings and have them delivered to your Feed Reader!  Don't have an RSS Feed Reader set up? Sign up at
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Cerebral Palsy in the News:  The Dynamic Movement Orthotic Body Suit in the News 

[Source:  ABC.net.au]


Four year-old Sidney Cook of Canungra has a form of cerebral palsy that mainly affects his legs and ability to walk.


But a new body suit is going to help increase his core strength to give him the support to walk and reduce his support needs. It's called a 'Dynamic Movement Orthotic' body suit, or 'DMO'.


Sidney's mum, Narelle, was able to purchase the DMO suit after receiving funding from the federal government's 'Better Start' program, giving her access to a $12 000 grant, of which $2 100 can be used towards equipment.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Aspergers in Girls in the News:  From Time.com - Girls on the Spectrum: Q&A with the Author of Aspergirls

[Source: Healthland/Time.com]


Is Asperger syndrome really less common in girls and women, or are females just better than males at masking autistic symptoms?  

Rudy Simone, a San Francisco singer, writer and stand-up comic, didn't learn that she was on the autism spectrum until her mid-40s. Simone has Asperger syndrome - a high-functioning form of autism that leads to social problems but no intellectual disabilities - which, like all forms of autism, appear much more commonly in boys than in girls. Ten times more men are believed to reside on the spectrum than women.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the NewsShortage of ADHD Drug Adderall Persists
[Source:  FoxNews]

A shortage of Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shows little sign of easing as manufacturers struggle to get enough active ingredient to make the drug and demand climbs


Adderall, a stimulant, is a controlled substance, meaning it is addictive and has the potential to be abused. The Drug Enforcement Administration tightly regulates how much of the drug's active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) can be distributed to manufacturers each year.

The system is designed to prevent the creation of stockpiles that could be diverted for inappropriate use. Adderall and other stimulants are popular with students who may not have ADHD but are seeking to improve their test scores.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyslexia in the News:  Abnormality In Auditory Processing Underlies Dyslexia

[Source:  Medical News Today]


People with dyslexia often struggle with the ability to accurately decode and identify what they read. Although disrupted processing of speech sounds has been implicated in the underlying pathology of dyslexia, the basis of this disruption and how it interferes with reading comprehension has not been fully explained. Now, new research published by Cell Press in the December 22 issue of the journal Neuron finds that a specific abnormality in the processing of auditory signals accounts for the main symptoms of dyslexia.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Young Adults with Autism in the News:  Navigating Love and Autism 

Editor's Note:  Absolutely wonderful article about young people doing exactly what the title says - navigating love and autism.  Enjoy.


[Source: New York Times.com] 


The first night they slept entwined on his futon, Jack Robison, 19, who had since childhood thought of himself as "not like the other humans," regarded Kirsten Lindsmith with undisguised tenderness. She was the only girl to have ever asked questions about his obsessive interests - chemistry, libertarian politics, the small drone aircraft he was building in his kitchen - as though she actually cared to hear his answer. To Jack, who has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, her mind was uncannily like his. She was also, he thought, beautiful.  


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week:Teen With Autism Advises Other 'Different' Kids
[Source: CNN]

Figuring out what's cool. Struggling for acceptance. Dealing with homework. These are familiar perils of middle school. But Haley Moss did it all while dealing with a hidden challenge: autism.


Now Haley, 15, is using her experience as a person with autism to help others deal with middle school. She wrote and illustrated "Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About," which details her advice for students.



Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism & Vaccines in the News: The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism
[Source: Huffington Post]

Earlier this week, The Panic Virus, my book on the controversy over vaccines and autism, was released in paperback. While there haven't been many scientific advances in this particular issue since the hardcover edition was published - the evidence supporting vaccines' paramount place in public health efforts and the total lack of corroboration supporting a causal connection between vaccines and autism remain as strong today as they were a year ago - there have been new developments in the story. Their coverage highlights an enduring passion of mine: The need for reliable, responsible science journalism.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Down Syndrome in the News: How Target is 'Down with Down Syndrome.' and Special Needs by Saying Nothing at All!
Thanks to our #SLPeep friend SpeechTxJulie on Twitter for making our day too!   Take a look at this Target Ad Julie tweeted about brought to her attention by another PediaStaff favorite blogger, Noah's Dad.

Noah's Dad has five things he loves about this ad by Target, and after reading his blog post, so will you!


View the Ad and Read Why Noah's Dad Loves it Through a Link on our Blog


PediaStaff Therapist in the News: Rona Silverstein, OTR/L Awarded District Grant for Sensory Motor Room 

Congratulations to PediaStaff Occupational Therapist (and guest columnist) Rona Silverstein (photo: right), who, along with her colleague, special education teacher Karen Aprile (photo: center), was recently awarded a Mini Grant from the Illinois District 15 Educational Foundation.   This grant is given for the implementation of programs or projects within the District 15 school district.


The award will provide sensory motor equipment for a "multi- sensory motor room" for the MILE program -  junior high students with cognitive and other disabilities (autism, cerebral palsy, mental and physical impairments as well as sensory processing disorders).

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog
Therapy Idea of the Week: Pincer Grasp Activity Disguised as a Cool Science Demonstration
After our 'Meet the Staff' blog post, you know that I am not a therapist myself, but because of my work here every day, I have started seeing my every day life through a therapy lens!  I was in my closet and found a science project on Surface Tension that my now twelve year old daughter had done back in fourth grade, and I found myself thinking "HA! That would make great pincer grasp practice!"

Start with a small bowl of regular tap water, an eyedropper, a penny, and a few paper towels.   The second part of the experiment requires just a few drops of dish soap.


Place the penny on a dry paper towel.   Have the child use the eyedropper to, one drop at a time, place

Check out this Cool Activity on our Blog
Pinterest Pin of the Week: Add 'Charm' to Pencil With Rubber Band for Proper Tripod Grasp
This Week's Pin of the Week is from a blog post written by our friend Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone and has been repinned 100 times since we originally posted it our  Handwriting Pinboard on Pinterest  a couple of weeks ago.

Check out this Cool Activity on our Blog
Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: Therapy Activities for Martin Luther King Day 

Looking for good therapy activities for Martin Luther King Day (January 16th)?  I especially like the idea with the eggs!    

Visit our MLK Day Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog

Therapist Resource of the Week: Resources for Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects
A big thank you to Heather Heaman of Heaman Communication Services in Toronto for the heads up through Twitter on this excellent resource.

Check out this Resource Through a Link on our Blog
Meet PediaStaff: Heidi Kay 
Meet Heidi Kay

Happy New Year to everyone!  We thought it might be fun to start the year with new weekly feature - Meet the Staff.   Each week we will introduce you to a staff member here at PediaStaff so you can put our names with our faces and roles here.


Since I am most visible to you here on the blog, (and because I need to give the staff time to get some pretty pictures made), let's go ahead and start with me!


Read Heidi's Profile on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: Starfish Therapies TherapyFunZone  
Why is W-sitting a Four Letter Word? -  By: Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist

I'm constantly amazed at how often I see children w-sitting these days. I often treat children in pre-school or daycare settings and I see many children plop right down into w-sitting and stay there for an extended period of time. They are playing without a care in the world and they have no idea that I am cringing inside (well okay I'm sure some of it spills over to the outside). With the children I work with many parents have no idea that this is not a 'good' sitting posture. Many of them sat that way as a child or their older children sit that way. "What's wrong with W-sitting?" addresses many of the issues with w-sitting as well as some ways to encourage your child not to do this. In addition to what is mentioned in the previous article it is also bad for a child's hip development and stability. When a child is born their femurs (thigh bones) are internally rotated and they derotate (a topic for another blog) through development and positioning. W-sitting actually encourages their bones to stay in an internally rotated position.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
A Review of 'A Mile in His Shoes' on DVD - by Tonya Cooley

 Something a little different today. I was given the opportunity to watch a movie that will be coming out in DVD next week. I jumped at the opportunity because it is a movie about a boy with Aspergers. The movie is called A Mile in His Shoes, and is being released on DVD on January 10.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: On the Matter of Empathy 

By: Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg


It's an oft-repeated and erroneous stereotype that autistic people lack empathy.

When I hear another iteration of this myth, I have an immediate, visceral reaction that combines impatience at its perpetuation with a keen understanding of its power to wreak havoc on the lives on autistic people. When it comes to our ability to find partners, to form friendships, to be welcomed in community, and to find work - particularly in the helping professions - this myth can have a devastating impact. It's one of the main reasons that so many autistic people remain in the closet, living their entire lives in fear of exposure.

Ironically, in the face of the myth of nonexistent autistic empathy, I have an intensely empathetic response. I intuitively recognize the potential for harm and suffering to millions of people, and I feel grief, anger, and a powerful need to speak to the issue.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - IEP Guidance and Resources
[Source: ASHA]

From time to time, the ASHA School Services team is asked by members for guidance in writing Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals and objectives. To answer these questions, the School Services team asked ASHA members across the country if they would share their IEP resources allowing us to post guidance given by their states or their districts or a link to where useful information can be found. Many districts rely on their state department of education for instructions about how to write the IEP. Some states provide sample forms and include benchmarks and short-term objectives as well as suggestions for accommodations. Others include state standards and corresponding speech goals and objectives.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Deficits of Dyspraxia
[Source: Advance for PT and Rehab]

By Debra Denniger, OTD, OTR/L


Sensory processing disorder covers a wide variety of sensory impairments, one of which is dyspraxia. Children with dyspraxia are typically uncoordinated and clumsy due to deficits in processing sensory information. Physical therapists provide services to these children to improve muscle tone, balance, coordination and praxis (motor planning).


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