October 29, 2010: Issue 10, Volume 4

It's All About the Choices!


Hello There! Hope everyone is ready for the ghouls and goblins. We have a jam packed issue for you this month. At last count we had twenty-one items to share with you. Hope you enjoy it - and share it with a friend!

News Items:
  • Input Needed From Parents, Teens and SLPs for Survey on the Experiences of Young People Who Stutter
  • Too Young for School, but Ready for Irony
  • Paralyzed Dog Travels on Wheels; is in Training to Become Therapy Dog
  • Left Brain Talks To The Right Hand, Study Finds
  • Girls With Rett Syndrome Find Their "Voice" In Eye-Gaze Technology
  • Rare Disorders of Childhood in the News: Schizencephaly
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Pumpkin Bread Recipe: Fine Motor Skill Activity
  • Book Review: Attention Games by Barbara Sher
  • UCLA School Mental Health Project
  • (this resource is discussed in the blog post "It's on the Tip of my Tongue")
Upcoming Events/CEU Opportunities:
  • The 2010 ASHA Convention
  • The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol
  • Assesment and Treatment of Selective Mutism: Beyond the Basics
Articles and Blogs
  • Speech Language Pathology Corner : Stuttering Therapy: The Focus of Increased Communication
  • Occupational Therapy Corner: Foundations for Visual Perception (Activity ideas)
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Benefit of Co-Treatment Sessions
  • Q&A: Ask the Expert - Sensational Homeschooling: Weaving in a Sensory Diet
  • Focus on Bilingualism: Communication is Key
  • Guest Blog: "It's on the Tip of My Tongue" - Word Retrieval Difficulties in Children
  • Guest Blog: Equipment for Home-Based Sensory Diets
  • Worth Repeating: Down Syndrome and Exercise
  • Also Worth Repeating: The Art and Science of Home Visits
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!

Is there anything you would like to see us do differently here with our newsletter? If you don't get our weekly edition, you can sign up by emailing me directly at

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

SLPs Your Help is Needed: Input Needed From Parents, Teens and SLPs for Survey on the Experiences of Young People Who Stutter
Editor's Note: Please forward to anyone you know that might like to participate!

[Source: National Stuttering Association]


The National Stuttering Association and Friends, The Association of Young People Who Stutter, are conducting a survey on the experience of children, teens and young adults who stutter. If you're a parent or teen we invite you to participate.

The questionnaire should take about 7-10 minutes to complete. You will be asked about the impact of stuttering on your (or your child's) life, and about your experience with stuttering treatment and support.
The web-based survey is online, and you may begin the questionnaire by clicking on this link: Parents and Teens Click Here

If you are a speech-language pathologist, we hope you will encourage parents of children on your caseload to participate in the survey. You may preview the questionnaire at this link: SLP's Click Here

Developmental Psychology in the News - Too Young for School, but Ready for Irony
Editor's Note: Late last week, the New York Times ran this article about a study conducted by the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, and while it is not specifically about our special kiddos, we thought it was fascinating and wanted to share it with you.

[Source: The New York Times]

When a 12-year-old's mother asks him "How many times do I have to tell you to stop?" he will understand that the answer, if any is required, had better not include a number.

But that insight requires a sophisticated understanding of ironic language that develops long after fluent speech. At what age do children begin to sense the meaning of such a question, and to what degree can they respond appropriately to other kinds of irony?

In laboratory research on the subject, children demonstrate almost no comprehension of ironic speech before they are 6 years old, and little before they are 10 or 11. When asked, younger children generally interpret rhetorical questions as literal, deliberate exaggeration as a mistake and sarcasm as a lie.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story/Video of the Week - Paralyzed Dog Travels on Wheels; is in Training to Become Therapy Dog
Special Thanks to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Foundation for blogging this story. Please share this story with the kiddos in wheelchairs that you work with.

Whether it's two legs or two wheels, this California pooch is full of energy and love.

Daphne the Chihuahua (pictured) does not seem to notice that she is not like other dogs. She runs with the other dogs, she plays in the grass, and she occasionally disobeys her owner. Daphne doesn't seem to notice that she only walks with the help of a special wheelchair, she only plays where the grass is not too long to stop her wheels, and she relies on her owner for full time care. She is a happy dog, and for the first time in over a year she is able to wag her tail to show it.

Read the Rest of this Story and Watch the Video Through a Link on our Blog
Origins of Language in the News - Left Brain Talks To The Right Hand, Study Finds
Thanks to our friends at Avocado Technologies for posting this link for us to see and share with you. Please support our contributors and visit Avocado Technologies on Facebook and on Twitter


Our ability to speak and communicate seems to have its origin in the unlikely pairing of the left brain and the right hand. At least that's the conclusion of a team of French researchers who looked at how our brains process syllables, as well as mouth and hand movements. And it supports the theory that human speech evolved from sounds and hand gestures.

The team followed the brain activity of 16 right-handed people while they rested or watched a video. When the people heard syllables, areas in the left side of the brain involved in speech fired neurons in time with areas involved in hand and mouth motions.

But when the subjects heard smaller units of speech, called phonemes, these two areas were not synchronized.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Rett Syndrome in the News - Girls With Rett Syndrome Find Their "Voice" In Eye-Gaze Technology
[Source: Medical News Today]

Special eye-gaze technology now being used in the Department of Neurology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) is revealing the hidden, inner world of children who have Rett Syndrome, a rare and severe autism spectrum disorder that primarily affects little girls. It is a neurological disease in which mobility and autonomic functions are severely impaired, seizures and orthopedic problems are common, and the children lose functional hand use and the ability to speak.

"These girls are imprisoned in their own bodies," said Aleksandra Djukic, MD, Director of the Rett Syndrome Center at CHAM, which currently treats 120 girls and is the tri-state's only specialty center for this genetic disease. "They cannot communicate with the world in normal ways such as talking or using gestures. The eye-gaze technology is helping us to unlock the girls' minds. It brings smiles to us and to their parents, because for the first time we have proof of their mental activities. But it also imposes a huge obligation to properly advocate for these children."

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Rare Disorders of Childhood in the News - Schizencephaly
[Source: The Daily Mail and the Irish Times]

A young boy who couldn't play in his garden due to a rare 'texture sensitive' reaction to grass is enjoying the outdoors again after well-wishers donated an artificial lawn. Harley Noble, four, has schizencephaly, a rare form of cerebral palsy known to affect just 70 people worldwide.

He suffers from extreme texture sensitivity, which means he is physically sick if he touches a single blade of grass. The youngster from north Wales suffers a similar reaction to fluff, hair and Play-Do.

His mother Christina Lace, 24, said: 'He's never been able to play outside on grass. But now he's got artificial turf he's absolutely loving it. 'He loves the rough and tumble of playing with his sister Lily, who is three. And being able crawl around on it and whizz round the garden in his powered wheelchair.'

Harley can't walk or talk, but is doing 'really well' at a mainstream school, and uses a touchscreen computer to communicate. Ms Lace said: 'When he was about a year old and a girl put a few blades of grass on the tray of his buggy. He pulled a face, dribbled and then he was physically sick.

Read the Rest of this Article, Another Article that Appeared this Week in the Irish Times and an NINDS Fact Sheet on Schizencephaly Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week - Pumpkin Bread Recipe: Fine Motor Skill Activity
Special Thanks to Barbara Boucher of TherExtras for permission to reprint this wonderful activity. Please support our contributors and visit her website!

I love making some homemade pumpkin bread! Cooking is an excellent activity for adults and children. Measuring and mixing are physical and functional hand skills. Measuring and mixing require important cognitive skills.

The satisfaction of eating and sharing the results (mmmm!) is emotionally gratifying while mentally connecting work to results (aka learning).

Book Review - Attention Games by Barbara Sher
Attention Games - by Barbara Sher is a great book for parents, caregivers and therapists. This book provides creative activities that help you gain and maintain a child's attention from infants to teenagers. Many of the activities are simple and don't require any extra materials other than yourself. Barbara provides you with a fun way to interact with your child at different stages of life while explaining "What's Being Learned". She also gives alternative example and ideas. This book is a must have for any parent and I will use this as a fellow therapist in my practice as well. Hats off to Barbara for providing us with a sensational resource!

Learn More About/Order this Book Through a Link on our Blog

Therapy Resource of the Week - UCLA School Mental Health Project
The School Mental Health Project (SMHP) was created in 1986 to pursue theory, research, practice and training related to addressing mental health and psychosocial concerns through school-based interventions. To these ends, SMHP works closely with school districts, local and state agencies, special initiatives, and organizations and colleagues across the country. In 1995 the project established its national Center for Mental Health in Schools as part of the federal mental health in schools program.

Within this tremendous site you will find an enormous number of resources!

Upcoming Event -The 2010 ASHA National Convention - November 18-20, Philadelphia PA
  • Stop by our Booth and Meet the PediaStaff Team in Person;
  • Let us Know you Follow our Newsletter;
  • and Pick up Your Free Toobaloo!

Learn More about the 2010 ASHA Convention

Learn About CEU Opportunities in Philadelphia

We will have booth both in the main exhibit hall and in the Career Center. You can find us in the main hall at Booth 232 and in the Career Fair at Booths 2310/2312

Our Career Center specialists are scheduling interviews now. Come talk to us about all your options in school based and pediatric speech language pathology. PediaStaff has a wide variety of options for for experienced SLPs as well as young therapists just starting out!

Please contact Sue Steger in our office at or call 866-733-4278 to secure your slot!
CEU Opportunity -The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol
The K-SLP Instructional DVD explains evidence-based evaluation and treatment procedures to help children to become effective vocal, verbal communicators.

With over four hours of instruction and showcasing over 40 children who struggle to speak, SLPs can learn how to employ the K-SLP and how to best utilize the many materials that were developed by Nancy R. Kaufman, M.A., CCC-SLP, owner and director of the Kaufman Children's Center in West Bloomfield, MI. SLPs can earn 0.4 ASHA CEUs through Northern Speech and National Rehabilitation Services (

Learn More About this Great Program and CEU Opportunity
Upcoming Event/CEU Opportunity - Assesment and Treatment of Selective Mutism: Beyond the Basics
Date: November 12, 2010
Time: 8:45 am - 4:15 pm
Where: Newark, NJ

This conference is just being launched and is meant to be the 'next step' after Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum's Selective Mutism conference presented in the past few years. This conference will focus on the assessment of SM using researched-based data; more detailed step by step treatment strategies and school plans using a case study format with videos.

Learn More About/Register for this Conference HERE
Speech Language Pathology Corner - Stuttering Therapy: The Focus of Increased Communication
By: Anne Coady M.S. CCC-SLP, Imagine Speech

Today there are many stuttering therapy options, and research is being completed on numerous ways to approach stuttering therapy. It is important to rely on expert and evidence based practices when deciding on the course of treatment for a client who stutters. As a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who has a stutter, I have found that it is pertinent to remember that the most important goal of therapy is to increase communication rather than increase speech fluency. If eliminating stuttering is not an option, then ultimately we want our clients to be able to communicate in a variety of environments with a variety of communication partners. Stuttering therapy often includes stuttering modification, fluency shaping, positive communication attitudes, and education about stuttering. The balance of these strategies depends on the individual needs of a child and the child's age.

I often begin stuttering therapy with education about stuttering. The first steps may include teaching how speech is produced and about different types of stutters. It is essential for children to have a clear understanding of the speech mechanism and stuttering to be able to learn how to change and shape their stuttering. Here are a few ways to teach the different types of stutters.
  • Train tracks: repetition of stutter sounds, syllables, words, and phrases. You can also describe it as a ball bouncing.
  • Bridge: prolongation stutter; you can also describe it as stretching.
  • Brick wall: A block stutter; you can also describe it as opening your mouth and nothing comes out.
Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: Foundations for Visual Perception (Activity ideas)
By: Melanie Lambert OTR/L

A.M. Skeffington, an American optometrist known to some as "the father of behavioral optometry", believed that vision cannot be separated from the total individual nor from any of the sensory systems because it is integrated into all human performance. His model describes how visual processes mesh with auditory input, proprioception, kinesthesia and body sense. Visual perception is, therefore, not obtained from vision alone. It comes from combining visual skills with all other sensory modalities, including the vestibular and proprioceptive systems.

It is important that a child experiences visual perception through their own body before progressing to 3D activities (blocks, shape games etc.) and pen and paper tasks (worksheets). Here are some activity ideas that can be used during therapy sessions or incorporated as part of a program for home or school.

Form Constancy and Visual Discrimination
Form Constancy is the ability to accurately recognize and interpret that a form or object remains the same despite changes in its presentation such as size, direction, orientation, color, texture or context.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Benefit of Co-Treatment Sessions
By: Kelli Ellenbaum, MS CCC-SLP

There are endless benefits to co-treatment therapy sessions with the pediatric population. Co-treatments are sessions conducted with 2 or more therapists/disciplines to maximize therapeutic collaboration. At Red Door Pediatric Therapy, co-treatments are performed when therapeutic goals are similar or complimentary. The benefits can be meaningful and increase functional gains.

In pediatric therapy, there is often a hierarchy of skill acquisition. For example, in order to take a successful bite of food from a fork (OT), one must be able to complete lip closure (ST). This hierarchy lends itself nicely to co-treat sessions, as multiple goals can be targeted cohesively with the same functional activity. In order to best explain specific benefits for children, here are two examples of co-treatment sessions.

Speech/Occupational Therapy "Feeding" Session

During a feeding session, there are many oral motor sequences that take place in order for a child to be successful from the start to the finish of a meal. A meal involves several sequences of fine motor and oral motor control, strength, and coordination. There are also several language components present which are not limited to vocabulary, following directions, understanding and implementing sequences, making requests, understanding and use of directional concepts, etc. Positive outcomes include:

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Ask the Expert - Sensational Homeschooling: Weaving in a Sensory Diet
What can I do about......?

By: by Tiffani Lawton, RN, Publisher/Editor of Our Journey Thru Autism

Why are so many of my clients embarking on homeschool?
Many parents are choosing to homeschool their special needs child and the list of reasons is endless. Among the top reasons is that parents can create an accurate individualized education plan and customize the learning environment specific to their child's needs. Parents can offer a sensory diet throughout the entire day and as needed providing the child with a consistent sensory diet. Sensational children have a hard time fitting into the typical classroom setting. In the homeschool setting, a child does not have to feel like the square peg crammed into a round hole. The environment is conducive to the child's specific learning style and needs, so the pressure to conform to the rigidity in a classroom setting is removed. In doing this, the child's self esteem grows and expands exponentially. Another reason is that parents can weave in various therapy appointments into their homeschool week, offering increased therapeutic opportunities for the child who may not be receiving regular and consistent therapy within the school environment. Another big reason is that there is a rise in the use of restraints and seclusion with special needs children in our nation's schools.

How can we as OT's best support the homeschooling family?
Although most OT's work in the clinical setting, it would be very beneficial to homeschooling families to have their OT offer a sensory home assessment. An OT can look at the environment with sensory lenses on and make suggestions and recommendations that would work in the child's home and learning environment.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Focus on Bilingualism - Communication is Key
By: Alejandro Brice, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

This month's feature again comes from a series of observations affecting our bilingual clients.

This week I am having my gall bladder removed after receiving a sonogram, CT scan, nuclear EF imaging, and endoscopy. In each of those tests I have asked numerous questions about the procedure and what information it gives in my diagnosis. I, an educated professional fully fluent in English and at times had difficulty understanding everything that was being communicated. English was not the problem; the medical professionals were speaking medical-ese. The first main relation to working with bilingual clients is the vast amount of information that is exchanged in the interactions with medical professionals.

The second issue that affects communication is the person's level of English proficiency. Length of residence is not always an indicator of ability. For example, there have been instances where I have conversed with bilingual individuals who have resided in the U.S. for many years, yet spoke English with limited abilities. The second point in communication is that one cannot assume that English language learners fully understand what is being communicated. Hence, accommodate your client's language ability by making technical speech-language-ese or audiology-ese understandable. Second, accommodate by checking for understanding. Ask your client to repeat what has been said.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: SpeechGadget, Sensational Brain
It's on the Tip of My Tongue - Word Retrieval Difficulties in Children - By: Deb Tomarakos, CCC-SLP

I am the absolute worst person when it comes to remembering people's names. As I grow older, my problem seems to be increasing. It has migrated from forgetting names of people I have met, toward multiple "on the tip of my tongue" moments throughout my days. These moments may crop up when trying to recall an artist or song from the 80's, or the name of a teacher I had in grade school, or even a professional vocabulary word for a diagnostic assessment.

Word retrieval issues are something we expect to see in ourselves and others as we age. It has been my experience, however, that word retrieval issues are not usually at the top of our thought process when diagnosing children with language and learning issues.

Read the Rest of this great post on our Blog
Equipment for Home-Based Sensory Diets? - By: Gwen Wild, OTR/L

Question: I service a lot of children (birth through preschool) at home where there is limited space and equipment. Many of your cards show activities using large equipment such as a ball pit, platform swings, etc. Do you have suggestions or additional cards that could be made up for home based therapy?

Gwen's Answer: We will work on getting some more cards added that are applicable for home-based therapy. For now, here are some easy sensory diet equipment substitutions that

Read the Rest of this post on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Down Syndrome and Exercise
By: The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

Exercise is for every body. Children born with Down syndrome, the most recognizable form of mental retardation, is analyzed by the variable of age (Down Syndrome Stats). The inclusion of physical activity daily life will improve overall health. For individuals with Down syndrome, physical activity has important implications impacting on health, longevity, and productivity (Fernhall et al., 1989, Pitetti et al., 1991). With approximately 54 million Americans with disabilities (McNeil, 1997), it is important to assemble information regarding exercise guidelines for special populations into comprehensive reviews and to educate professionals on their special needs. In this review, the (a) background of Down syndrome, (b) current research published to date, � and guidelines for exercise will be discussed.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating: The Art and Science of Home Visits
By: Arlene Stredler Brown

A basic tenet of family-centered intervention is a commitment to help families-to navigate the early intervention system, to identify resources, to learn new information, and to adopt strategies to use at home with their young child. In family-centered intervention, the early interventionist establishes a relationship with family members and becomes their consultant. Through this relationship, family members discover their natural strengths. They then capitalize on these strengths as they learn what they need to do to facilitate their child's growth.

Family members also engage in a reciprocal relationship with their early interventionist. This relationship between equal partners depends on establishing trust. Serving as a coach, the early interventionist helps family members actualize their roles as primary facilitators of their child's development.

Read the Rest of this Article On our Blog

The PediaStaff Website - is "Not Just for Job Searching Anymore"
If you haven't been to the our website lately you are in for a treat. Not only have we completely redesigned it and added a whole lot of great information about our company, services and philosophy but we are stuffing it jam packed with fantastic pediatric and school based therapy resources for you and your staff to use everyday.

There you will find links to resources, organizations and websites on topics in pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapy including dozens of articles and videos. Topics are organized by therapy discipline and include Stuttering, Bilingualism, Autism, Down Syndrome, Pediatric Stroke, Oral Motor Issues, Speech Language Delay and much more. All articles and videos are resident on our site. No abstracts, no fees.

We hope you enjoy it! It is still very much a work in progress, but we think there is enough there to suggest that you check it out at your earliest convenience.

Visit our Resources Pages

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