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September 9, 2011
Issue 28, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Hello there and Happy Friday!   Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!
News Items: 
  • Brain Scans Show Distinct Traits in Kids with Autism
  • Infants Trained to Concentrate Show Added Benefits
  • More Young Adults and Teens Being Treated for Stroke
  • Apple Filing May Signal Focus On Disability Market
  • Family Meals Help Children to Be Less Fussy About Food
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Teenager Gets Helping Hand With Bionic Arm
  • Poorer Movement Skills at Seven Months in Children at Risk of Autism, Study Finds
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Therapy Resource of the Week - 'Sensory World' Interactive Website
  • New Book Series to Teach Articulation and Readings   
  • Single Word Test of Consonant Clusters   

Articles and Blogs

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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Autism in the News:  Brain Scans Show Distinct Traits in Kids With Autism: Study

[Source: HealthDay/Yahoo News]


Researchers using scanning technology say they discovered physical differences in the brains of older children with autism compared to those of kids without autism.


"We could discriminate between typically developing and autistic children with 92 percent accuracy," based on the volume of gray matter in one part of the brain, Lucina Uddin, first author of a new study and instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.


However, there are some limitations to the study. The researchers only looked at kids aged 8 to 18, and they didn't capture images of the children's brains before they were diagnosed with autism. And the findings don't appear to have an immediate effect on how children with autism are diagnosed or treated.

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

Attention in the News:  Infants Trained To Concentrate Show Added Benefits
[Source: Medical News Today/Journal of Current Biology]

Although parents may have a hard time believing it, even infants can be trained to improve their concentration skills. What's more, training babies in this way leads to improvements on other, unrelated tasks.


The findings reported online on September 1 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, are in contrast to reports in adults showing that training at one task generally doesn't translate into improved performance on other, substantially different tasks. They also may have important implications for improving success in school, particularly for those children at risk of poor outcomes, the researchers say.

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

Childhood Stroke in the News: More Young Adults And Teens Being Treated For Stroke
[Source: Medical News Today, Annals of Neurology]

According to an investigation conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1995 and 2008, ischemic stroke hospitalization rates rose up to 37% in adolescents and young adults aged between 15 to 44 years. The findings, reported in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society, reveal a rise in the rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, lipid disorders and tobacco use among individuals in this age group during the 14-year investigation period.

In the U.S. stroke is the third leading cause of death, The American Heart Association reports. 87% of all cases are connected to ischemic stroke, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked by blood clots, or there is a build-up of fatty deposits called plaque (atherosclerosis) inside blood vessels. Previous investigations state stroke in adolescents and young adults makes up for 5% to 10% of all stroke cases, as well as being one of the top ten causes of death in childhood.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Assistive Technology in the News:  Apple Filing May Signal Focus On Disability Market
[Source: Disability Scoop]

Apple appears to be taking steps to make its popular tablet and smartphone devices more user-friendly for people with disabilities who are unable to use touch screens.

In a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made public this month, the technology giant said it is seeking to patent a method for connecting its products to accessories that could act in place of the touch screen.

Read the Rest of this Article and the Filing Through a Link on our Blog
Picky Eaters in the News: Family Meals Help Children to Be Less Fussy About Food
[Source: Science Daily]

A study has found that eating together as a family may encourage children to be more open to trying new types of food. This finding will be presented at the Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference to be held at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne from 7-9 September.


Faye Powell, from Loughborough University and member of the British Psychological Society, observed over 75 families during mealtimes to determine the factors linked with the development of fussy eating behavior among children.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week: Teenager Gets Helping Hand With Bionic Arm
[Source: Sky News UK]

A British teenager has fulfilled his dream of being the proud owner of his very own Mercedes - in the form of a bionic arm.

Matthew James, 14, was born missing his left hand and had adjusted to life with a simple open-and-close grip prosthetic limb.

But after learning about the new electronic hand, called the i-LIMB Pulse, the determined student from Wokingham, Berkshire, knew he had to have it.


Knowing he could not afford the �35,000 device, the Formula One fan wrote a letter to the Mercedes GP Petronas racing team for help.

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


Autism Detection in the News: Poorer Movement Skills at Seven Months in Children at Risk of Autism, Study Finds

[Source: Science Daily]


Poorer movement skills detected as early as 7 months old are observed in children at a higher risk of developing Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) than children in the general population. These are the findings of a study being presented on 7th September 2011 at the British Psychological Society's Developmental Section Conference in Newcastle.

The study was carried out by a team led by Dr. Elisabeth Hill at Goldsmiths (University of London), Dr. Hayley Leonard (Goldsmiths) and the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS) based at Birkbeck University of London. The researchers examined infants with a diagnosed older sibling with ASD. Siblings are known to share a higher risk of developing the disorder.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pinterest Therapy Resource of the Week: 'Sensory World' Interactive Website
I learned about this fantastic (and free) website through Pinterest. I must have seen it on five pinboards yesterday as it's making the rounds.   This site is can be used through a speech-language lens (conversation starter, vocabulary etc) or for occupational therapy (activities for daily living, and of course sensory exploration)!  The "Sensory World" includes a house, garden and more. The 'design your own' sensory house aspect is fantastic, but the site is also so much more - especially in the area of activities and skills for daily living! In each room, the user can explore sensory, hygiene and safety topics. They can plan out menus and manage money.

Check out this site through a Link on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: New Book Series to Teach Articulation and Reading
by: Shery Artemenko

At my latest visit to our public library, I started my hunt at the "New Books" section as usual. I came upon a new series of books that are designed by Child's World to assist children in phonics development. Of course, I looked at them for assisting children in articulation development because each story features a different sound/letter such as "Pam's Trip to the Park" or "Ben, Billy and the Birdhouse."

Carefully written to control word count, sentence length, and vocabulary, the books have entertaining stories about packing a lunch for the park and visiting the petting zoo or building a birdhouse from a box of wood with best friend Billy.

Learn More about These Books on our Blog

Therapy Resource of the Week: Single Word Test of Consonant Clusters 
Thanks to our Twitter friend @hheaman of Heaman Communication Services for recommending this great resource!

Source:  Sharynne McLeod & Linda Hand, University of Sydney

This task was designed to assess productions of consonant clusters in a single word context. It
is suitable for use with children aged 3;0 years and older. It also may be suitable for the
assessment of consonant clusters in adults. The task contains seventy two words which
comprise two examples of each word-initial and word-final consonant cluster commonly used
by Australian adults. Two words containing each cluster are elicited in order to determine
consistency of production.

Check out this Resource Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: 2 Gals, Inspiring Potential   
Back to School Screenings and Evaluations - By:   Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout

Last Monday, I talked about the importance of doing a complete oral exam and focused on nasality screening. Today I want to talk about and open a discussion on the importance of doing those diadochokinetic rates.


How many times have you been tempted to just skip over those because the child does not "appear" to have motor sequencing issues? Or, as one SLP said to me, "He does not have his back sounds (/k/-/g/) so we can't do that." With eyebrows raised in astonishment I say, "What? Oh but yes you can!" There are ways to screen for motor sequencing issues without back or even front sounds.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
No Ordinary 4-Year Old - by Lauren Edwards PT, DPT

Working on the inpatient unit of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute, I've had the opportunity to work with so many incredible patients and families. I am often the first therapist the family has met since their child (or young adult) was first diagnosed with a spinal cord injury. In this role, I get the opportunity to help turn a challenging and traumatic situation into one of hope and recovery. It's a privilege to work with these families during this emotional time of transition.

This past May, I met the Jermano family, to whom I would like to dedicate this blog. Their quest to create a fulfilling life for their daughter Mia, along with their continuous hope for her recovery, is truly an inspiration to my work.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Writing a Successful Letter of Medical Necessity for Assistive Technology
By: EasyStand

A letter of medical necessity (LMN) or letter of justification (LOJ) is a detailed prescription that a therapist or physician writes to be submitted to the insurance provider. The letter should be client specific and not just a list of the medical benefits. Here is a checklist that Altimate Medical (Makers of EasyStand standing frames) has compiled to help you get started.

Detail the client: Who is this person medically, functionally, and socially
  • Include client name, date of birth, diagnosis, onset, height, weight, primary funding.
  • Provide a brief, but complete description of your client's level of function (i.e. ambulation, transfers, ADL's, living environment, mobility, school/employment, transportation).
  • Describe your client's medical issues that will be affected by the assisitive technology (reflexes, range of motion, systemic functions, loss of bone density, etc).  
Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Autism in the Black Community: Why African Americans Should Hear the Cry for Help

By Tarice L.S. Gray


Six years ago Camille Proctor got a surprise. She was pregnant with her second child. At the time, her oldest was almost 20 and the rigors of mothering an infant were pleasant but distant memories. Still, she gave birth to a baby boy nine months later, and a little more than a year after that, Proctor noticed something else surprising about her son. She said she saw, "little nuisances that kind of told me that something may not be right."


Proctor's suspicions were confirmed when a developmental pediatrician diagnosed her son, Ari Joseph, as autistic. Proctor immediately went to work. She had worked successfully as a marketing professional in Michigan and then in Atlanta, GA., where she currently lives, but found a new calling as an autism advocate.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Hippotherapy Helps Children with Autism Develop Fine-Motor Skills
by Barbara Smith, OTR/L


Horses have traditionally been used as treatment tools by physical therapists with the goals of improving a child's balance, strength and coordination. This specialty area is called "Hippotherapy" and is done as a child rides or performs various motor tasks such as turning around to face backwards or kneeling while the horse is walking. Occupational therapists also do hippotherapy to work on these skills. However, therapeutic objectives may center around helping children with autism and other developmental disabilities improve sensory processing and develop fine-motor skills.   

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

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