December 30, 2010:  Issue 12, Volume 4

It's All About the Choices! 

Happy New Year Everyone!  Hope you all had a great holiday last week and have plans to be fun and safe this coming weekend.  Here is our monthly edition for you.  See you next year!

News Items:
  • Living Near a Highway May Contribute to Autism
  • Untangling the Myths About Attention Disorder - New York Times Blog Post
  • Pediatric MS Research in the News
  • Mom's Voice Plays Special Role in Activating Newborn's Brain
  • New Technology Helps Children with Disabilities Walk
  • Early Intervention May Change Development Trajectory For Later Autism Symptoms
  • Neuroimaging Helps To Predict Which Dyslexics Will Learn To Read
Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Greet the New Year with Pebble Shakers
  • New Year's Resolution for Therapy
  • Speech Therapy Ideas for Children with Characteristics of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD)
Articles and Blogs
  • Speech Language Pathology Corner : Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy: Why We Need Each Other
  • Occupational Therapy Corner: Book Excerpt - Sensory Parenting Newborns to Toddlers
  • Physical Therapy Corner: Technologies in Physical Rehabilitation of CP Patients
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  The Importance of Family
  • Q&A:  Ask the Expert - What is Pediatric Palliative Care?
  • Special Bonus Article:  Oral Tradition, First Nations Culture & Implications for Speech Therapy
  • Guest Blog: Movement as a Tool - How we can Learn Through our Strengths
  • Guest Blog: Winter-Themed Picture Books
  • Worth Repeating: How is Rett Syndrome Different from Autism

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!   As an FYI, the December monthly issue will be published on December 17th.  There will be no newsletter either December 24th or 31st so that our staff may enjoy their holiday season.

Heidi Kay, Newsletter Editor

The Career Center

The links to the right are "live" and reflect all open jobs with PediaStaff.  To further narrow your search by state use the drop down menus on the search page to select a specific state.   If a particular search is returning no hits it is Girlpossible that we do not currently have openings
for you in that state.

If any of your information (geographic, population or setting preference) has changed since we've last spoken, please let us know.   See an opening that interests you?  Just apply to that job and one of our staff will contact you right away.  

Remember, one of the things that makes PediaStaff unique is that we will actively "market" your skills to prospective employers of pediatric and school based therapists, so if you don't see a position that interests you make sure you let us know what you are looking for.
Speech Language Pathologist and SLPA Jobs

Occupational Therapist and COTA Jobs

Physical Therapist and PTA Jobs

School Psychologist Jobs

Autism Research in the News - Living Near a Highway May Contribute to Autism

There are many reasons why living near a highway is undesirable - the noise, the poor air quality, the endless stream of lost tourists using your driveway to turn around. But a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives offers another: children who lived near highways at birth had twice the risk of autism as those who live farther way.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News: Untangling the Myths About Attention Disorder - from the New York Times
[Source: The New York Times]

As recently as 2002, an international group of leading neuroscientists found it necessary to publish a statement arguing passionately that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was a real condition.

In the face of "overwhelming" scientific evidence, they complained, A.D.H.D. was regularly portrayed in the media as "myth, fraud or benign condition" - an artifact of too-strict teachers, perhaps, or too much television.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric MS in the News - Research Update by the National MS Society
[Source: National MS Society]

Researchers from the Network of Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have published new findings on MS in children and adolescents. The Society has been funding the sites for the past five years, as part of its Promise 2010 campaign which is winding down. The centers are leveraging collaborations made possible by the funds into further research efforts.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Brain Development in the News - Mom's Voice Plays Special Role in Activating Newborn's Brain
[Source: Medical News Today]

A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. The research team made the discovery after performing electrical recordings on the infants within the 24 hours following their birth. The brain signals also revealed that while the infants did react to other women's voices, these sounds only activated the voice recognition parts of the brains. "This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies," said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde of the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Technology in the News - New Technology Helps Children with Disabilities Walk
[Source: The Edmonton Journal]

Dean Kopfensteiner walks slowly and deliberately across a bed of red and orange leaves. Wherever he steps, the leaves scatter to reveal a robot arm, then a leg and finally a whole transformer.

Dean, 6, has cerebral palsy and in therapy uses a new technology called The Cube to help him walk.

He demonstrated his abilities Wednesday in the new Building Trades of Alberta Courage Centre, which opened last month at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Cube, made by Canadian company GestureTek, is comprised of a computer and a projector that sit inside a big black box and shine images onto the floor, said Darrell Goertzen, a technology service leader at the Glenrose.

Read the Rest of this Story Through a Link on our Blog
Early Intervention in the News - EI May Change Development Trajectory For Later Symptoms Of Autism
[Souce: Medical News Today]

Early intervention for children with autism, as young as 6 months of age, may change the development trajectory for later symptoms of the disorder according to a research project being spearheaded by the MIND Institute at the University of California Davis Medical Center. A recent study published by Pediatrics recorded randomized trials of daily therapy through games and pretend play for children, which demonstrated an improvement in I.Q., language and social skills.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyslexia in the News - Neuroimaging Helps To Predict Which Dyslexics Will Learn To Read
[Source: Medical News Today]

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have used sophisticated brain imaging to predict with 90 percent accuracy which teenagers with dyslexia would improve their reading skills over time. Their work, the first to identify specific brain mechanisms involved in a person's ability to overcome reading difficulties, could lead to new interventions to help dyslexics better learn to read.

"This gives us hope that we can identify which children might get better over time," said Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, an imaging expert and instructor at Stanford's Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. "More study is needed before the technique is clinically useful, but this is a huge step forward."

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week - Greet the New Year with Pebble Shakers

Noise makers are a fun and common way to "ring" in the New Year! However, they often just get tossed in the trash or-even worse-littered in the street, after just one use. Here's an environmentally-friendly alternative to the typical noisy shaker! Try this simple craft activity with your child, and teach him a lesson about the finite nature of resources in the process.
Therapy Activity of the Week - New Year's Resolution for Therapy
[Source: Adapted from an activity as seen on Speaking of]

Do this activity when the students get back to school after the Christmas break. Talk about what resolutions are and try to come up something specific that they want to work on in speech, OT, or PT. They may pick a speech sound, a daily living skill, or they may choose something more general, like "be a better friend."

Have them write their resolutions on colorful index cards, squares of construction paper or post-its. Mount them all on a poster so they can remember them all year.

Therapy Resource of the Week:  - Speech Therapy Ideas for Children with Characteristics of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD)
Thank you to Judith Kuster for the link to Super Duper with this seven page handout of ideas.  Please support our contributors and visit

Read this Article Full of Ideas Through a Link on our Blog

Speech Language Pathology Corner - Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy: Why We Need Each Other
By: Jessica Hunt, OTR/L

Kaufman Children's Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor, and Social Connections, Inc.

Speech and occupational therapy overlap in many areas, to include feeding, swallowing, cognition, body posture and awareness, and others. In our current medical model, the common practice is to divide the child into "pieces": physical therapy treating the lower body, occupational therapy treating the upper body and speech therapy treating the mouth (throat, tongue, lips, jaw).

If only it were that simple. It is easy to forget that the body is connected and what we do with one part of the body directly affects another part of the body. The association between speech and language skills and occupational therapy is a perfect example of this interrelatedness. Occupational therapy has a lot more to offer children who have speech and language delays than just swinging to release energy or acquaint them with new textures. Many areas of difficulty that are addressed by an OT relate directly to a child's speech and language development. However, our proprioceptive (sense of body position) and vestibular (balance) functions are really what tie things all together.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: Book Excerpt - Sensory Parenting Newborns to Toddlers
By: Britt Collins M.S., OTR/L and Jackie Linder Olson

Here are some excerpts from Britt and Jackie's new book that was just released October 2010

The Importance of Tummy Time

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST TIP: From a sensory and development perspective, begin with "tummy time" as soon as you get home from the hospital. A few minutes a day with supervision will really strengthen your baby's head and neck muscles, and he will begin holding his head up after the first couple of weeks. This developmental position is crucial for your baby's development of motor skills, as well as increasing the tactile awareness of your baby's cheeks, which helps with oral-motor skills.

Tummy time is when your baby lays on his stomach, on a blanket or a baby-friendly mat placed on the floor or on a table with supervision. Always stay with your baby during tummy time and lower yourself to be at eye level with them. Talk to your baby, sing to him, or be silly to encourage your baby to lift his head. You can also have "tummy-totummy" time with your baby. Start by leaning back at a 45� angle, on either the couch or the floor, making sure your back is securely supported (with pillows or the like). Next, place your baby onto your chest, on his tummy. He will be on his stomach, but able to look up at you. You may also try this while you are lying flat. When you place a child on his stomach, he usually does not like having his face down in the carpet, or he is interested in the fun baby mat he's lying on, so he will eventually learn to turn his head from side to side and to lift it up off the floor. Be patient. This make take some time and practice. If your baby gets a little fussy on his tummy, that's okay. If he's crying uncontrollably, he may have reflux or an upset tummy. Move him to a more comfortable position, and try "tummy time" later.

Please Read the Rest of this Book Excerpt on our Blog

Physical Therapy Corner:  Technologies in Physical Rehabilitation of Cerebral Palsy Patients
By: Alan Waterman and Avraham Cohen

The prevalence of Cerebral Palsy (CP) in the USA is approximately 1.5-2 cases per 1000 live births. Of this group about 20-30% of patients suffer from Hemiplegia or double Hemiplegia with arm movement dysfunction being more impaired than the legs. CP patients experience difficulty when reaching for and gripping objects, as well as replacing and releasing objects with the task being performed with uncoordinated, non-fluid and slow inaccurate movements.

There are two fundamental targets for physical rehabilitation exercises. The first is that exercises have to be tailored to a level slightly above the patients' movement ability. This provides the patient with motivation. The second element is to involve the patients in their own rehabilitation.

The challenge for physical and occupational therapists and the rehabilitation equipment industry is to find effective interventions and tools that will improve arm and hand function for patients with moderate to severe hand motor deficit and paresis.

In regards to upper limb rehabilitation, traditional occupational and physical therapy mainly provides the patient with task orientated training (TOT) also known as Task Specific Practice (TSP) or Functional Movement Training (FMT). TSP is intensive repetition of everyday functional tasks or Active Daily Living (ADL) tasks.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Q&A - What is Pediatric Palliative Care?
By: Linda Dayton-Kehoe, COTA/L, Kellie Drake-Lightfoot, PT, MPT, Beatrica Kovacova, LPTA, and Colleen Manion, MS, OTR/L

What is pediatric palliative care?
Our pediatric palliative care team is an interdisciplinary group of medical professionals that provide emotional, spiritual, physical, and psychosocial care to help manage chronic and critical conditions that cause distress and distraction from a child's enjoyment of life. Treatment includes care for patients and support for their families from the time of initial diagnosis of life-threatening or complex/chronic illness through death and bereavement, if that occurs.

Why are therapists involved with palliative care patients?
Physical, occupational and speech therapists are important members of the palliative care team. We encounter this patient population in the acute care setting of the hospital and/or the outpatient clinics in which we work. Our goals are to help improve quality of life, maintain or improve function, restore independence with activities of daily living, manage pain, and provide motivation and opportunities for leisure activities even in these difficult situations.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Focus on Bilingualism - The Importance of Family
By: Alejandro Brice, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

It has been postulated that language and cognition are intertwined from early childhood (Bruner, 1960; 1996; Piaget, 1976; Vygotksy, 1929). The argument over how much of a role each plays in early development has and will continued to be debated. However, most researchers will agree that a balance exists between language and cognition. It has also been postulated that language and culture are interrelated (Sapir, 1929); in essence, that the two are inseparable at some point in development (Brice & Brice, 2009). In addition, researchers have studied and labeled behaviors that have tended to be culture specific (Brice & Campbell, 1999; Gudykunst 1991; Ting-Toomey, 1994; Triandis, 1995).

Culture has been identified to exist along a continuum of collectivistic (group oriented behaviors) and individualistic (individual, self behaviors) (Brice & Brice, 2009; Ting-Toomey, 1994; Triandis, 1995). U.S. American culture tends to be categorized along the individualistic side of the continuum; while, most world cultures (e.g., Latino, Asian, Arabic, Native American, etc.) can be categorized along the collectivistic and group oriented side of the continuum (Brice & Brice, 2009). It should be noted that the role families play in therapeutic situations will be largely influenced by their cultural perspective (i.e., individualistic vs. collectivistic). The role of families, being culture specific, needs to be further examined and considered.

Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Special Bonus Article: Oral Tradition, First Nations Culture & Implications for Speech Therapy
By: Skye Blue Angus, SLP

Indigenous peoples are traditionally storytellers. Oral traditions are historical accounts, teachings, lessons and explanations that have been passed down for centuries, from one generation to the next. Indigenous peoples have existed historically as an oral language people. However, Native oral tradition is difficult to write about academically, appropriately or accurately. Traditionally, it is taboo in Native culture to write down oral traditions. Finding accurate unbiased literature about Native culture, particularly Native oral tradition, is difficult at best because it has not been written down. The true body of information on oral tradition is in the heads and on the lips of Natives.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: KidPT, The HomeSchool Classroom
Movement as a Tool - How We Can Learn Through our Strengths:  By: Joni Redlich

Reprinted with the express permission of Joni Redlich, DPT, as appeared on her Kid PT Blog, December 14, 2010

Children with autism spectrum disorders often have movement as a strength. Perhaps the child cannot talk or doesn't know how to initiate play with a peer, but they can typically walk down the block and climb the monkey bars. We're not talking about the quality, variety, or skill level of movement because children with ASD often have significant deficits in these aspects of movement. We are so often focusing on what children with developmental disabilities can't do and coming up with strategies to improve these areas. What if we flip it and and look at their strengths. If we have identified movement as a strength, then how can we USE that strength to help a child learn, have fun and engage in social interactions.

Ideas to use movement to enhance overall development:
1.  Fast movement increases alertness and slow rhythmic movement is calming so take advantage of this. Jump on the bed or dance to some music first thing in the morning to wake up, do 10 jumping jacks before sitting down to do homework, or do some swinging after school to decompress from the day.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
Winter-Themed Picture Books Perfect for Snuggling by the Fire - By:Samantha

Editor's Note:  I found this blog post at press time, and did not have a chance to request permission to repost it in full. However, I wanted to share it with you as these books are also great to work on fluency and literacy, and so I offer it as a "guest blog" by way of a link to the "HomeSchool Classroom blog.

Winter is the perfect season for cuddling up by a warm fireplace, with a  cozy quilt and a warm beverage, and reading the afternoon away with your children. Now that my children are older, we don't read many picture books but picture books have a very special place in my heart.  All of the following picture books have a winter theme and are absolutely wonderful.  So, grab a cozy quilt and a yummy, warm beverage and settle down to share some of these great winter-themed picture books with your children.  The books are listed in no particular order - to pick a favorite from my favorite list of winter-themed books would be impossible.

Read the Rest of this Guest Post Through a Link on our Blog

Worth Repeating: How is Rett Syndrome Different from Autism
By: Barbara Smith

Rett Syndrome and autism are both neurodevelopmental disabilities that have several similarities and differences. Children with either disorder may have severe cognitive and/or sensory impairment. However, progressive deterioration makes Rett syndrome different from autism.

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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