June 24, 2011
Issue 6, Volume 5 
It's All About the Choices!     

Hi there everyone!   Welcome to the June monthly edition of the PediaStaff Newsletter!  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  

Last week, it was brought to my attention that reading our Friday newsletter from a mobile phone is a bit cumbersome.  Indeed, this is true.  Our newsletter is basically a compilation of the stories, etc. that we have posted during the week on our blog for those of you who want a once a week snapshot of all our content.   The stories on our blog often link again to the primary sources where the news piece, activity or article originally resides.   If you are a phone user, you can eliminate a 'layer of clicks'  to read our content on your mobile phone by subscribing to our blog directly or through a feed reader like Google Reader.   You can also get our updates sent to your email box daily by subscribing to our blog through Feed My Inbox.   Hope this helps.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me directly at

Have a great weekend!

News Items:
  • Handwriting in the LA Times:  The Many Health Perks of Good Handwriting  
  • Researchers Question Screening All Children for Autism  
  • Feel Good Story of the Week:  Student with Selective Mutism Turns to Music 
  • Study Finds Core Cause of Math Disability   
  • Study Shows: Brains Out of Sync for Children with Autism   
  • Canada Deems Son With Asperger's 'Inadmissible'  
  • Call for Articles 

Tips, Activities and Resources:
  • Book Review:  Ellie Bean the Drama Queen 
  • Summer Activities for Children with Aspergers

  • The Infinity Walk 
Articles and Blogs  
  • SLP Corner: Being Conscious Caretakers of Communication Opportunities Created by New Technologies in Children's Speech and Language Therapy
  • OT Corner: Extra-Curricular Activities -- Enrichment or Substitute Parenting?
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Case Study:  Feeding Tube Weaning 
  • School Psychology Corner: The Importance of Skills Acquisition for Students with ADD  
  • Focus on Bilingualism:  Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology. Where Are We Today?  
  • Guest Blog: Crying in Therapy 
  • Guest Blog: Eye Contact / Social Referencing / Joint Attention / Thinking with our Eyes  
  • Worth Repeating: A Model for Manipulating Linguistic Complexity in Stuttering Therapy  
  • Also Worth Repeating: The Role of the SLP in Improving Reading Fluency

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 
Handwriting in the News: The Many Health Perks of Good Handwriting
[Source: The Los Angleles Times]

Children are texting, tapping and typing on keyboards more than ever, leaving less time to master that old-fashioned skill known as handwriting.

So will the three "T's" replace a building block of education? It's not likely. The benefits of gripping and moving a pen or pencil reach beyond communication. Emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills, and can predict a child's academic success in ways that keyboarding can't.

"For children, handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they do it and practice it," said Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. "Typing does not do the same thing."

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: Researchers Question Screening All Children For Autism
[Source: Disability Scoop]

A leading pediatricians' group recommends that doctors routinely screen all kids for autism, but a provocative new study released Monday questions the practice arguing that it may in fact do more harm than good.

Researchers behind the study published in the journal Pediatrics conducted a comprehensive search of medical literature to assess what is known about the reliability of autism screening. They found that currently available screening methods continue to flag too many children who should not qualify for an autism diagnosis to warrant screening all kids.

What's more, they note that not a single screening method has been scrutinized in a randomized, controlled study.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week: Student With Selective Mutism Turns To Music
[Source:  My Fox Philly]

Lena Lewis introduces us to a 10-year old at Blakenburg Elementary in the city's Parkside neighborhood.    It was center stage for 10-year old Akil McDowall when he's got his guitar, something his teacher never expected to see.

Mcdowall suffers from Selective Mutism. It affects 7-in 1-thousand children.  It used to be parents just thought their children were extremely shy, but it goes beyond that.  Doctors say children may just choose to not talk in places where they feel uncomfortable.

McDowall was invited to play a song on stage with singer songwriter Joshua radin, and a transformation took place that is beyond words.

Watch the Video Story on our Blog
Dyscalculia in the News: Study Finds Core Cause of Math Disability
[Source:  NBC]

We're having a Theo Huxtable moment (re: season 6, episode 5), following the Friday release of a Baltimore-based study that pinpoints core cognitive differences between students who sometimes struggle with math and those who have dyscalculia, a severe mathematical learning disability.

The new, decade long study conducted by the Kennedy Krieger Institute and published Friday in the Child Development journal, finds that having a poor "gut sense" of numbers can lead to dyscalculia. This inaccurate number sense is just one cause of math learning disabilities, according to the study led by Dr. Michele Mazzocco of the Baltimore Institute.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on Our Blog
Autism in the News: Study Shows: Brains Out of Sync for Children with Autism
[Source:  Reuters]

Researchers studying autistic toddlers have discovered their brain activity appears to be out of sync at a very early stage - a finding that sheds light on the biology of the condition and may help in earlier diagnosis.

In research published in the journal Neuron, scientists in Israel used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the brains of sleeping toddlers and found that certain types of neural activity are disrupted in autistic children but not in typical children or in others with delayed language development.

"What we looked at is how the activity is synchronized," Ilan Dinstein of Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on Our Blog
Legal Issues in the News: Canada Deems Son With Asperger's 'Inadmissible'

The Canadian government has given one family an impossible choice: live your comfortable life in Toronto for a short while and then be asked to leave the country forever, or choose to stay - but find somewhere else for your son because, unfortunately, his medical condition is far too inconvenient for the nation.

Tom Reynolds, a professor of theology at the University of Toronto, is trying to make sense of the Canadian government's decision to deny his family's immigration application. He and his two young sons, 17-year-old Evan and 21-year old Chris, have lived in Canada for four years now, and they are keen on staying. But Chris suffers from Asperger's and Tourette syndromes, two conditions that have had made life very different for the young American transplant.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on Our Blog
PediaStaff Wants You!:  Call for Articles for our Newsletter/Blog
PediaStaff is now recruiting articles for our newsletter/blog for our 2012 Editorial Calendar.   Past contributors are welcome to submit topics/articles as well as are newbies to these pages.

If you are a regular reader of our content, you will know that we are wide open to all sorts of contributions from experienced pediatric therapists and newcomers too!   Articles can be 2-4 pages, and can pretty much cover any topic that you are passionate about in the field of pediatric speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and school psychology. 

We are also open to special features on topics like Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Yoga, and any other therapy that would be helpful to our readers.   Our audience are therapists like you rather than parents, so we are primarily looking for a professional angle, but we will consider articles that are written for our therapists to share with parents/guardians.   Our only other requirement is that articles may not promote a specific product or program. 

Need Examples?  Visit our Newsletter Archive to see what we have published in the past. If you are a regular reader, you know that the monthly editions have about 5-6 articles per issue and are the best sources of examples.

If you have any questions, would like additional editorial guidelines, or if you want to be considered for a spot, please contact me at    The slots in our monthly editions fill up fast, so hurry!    We also look for articles for our weekly edition as well. 

Please note, I will be traveling a good bit of July, so I do apologize if I am not able to get back with you right away.  I will however contact everyone that has an interest.

I look forward to hearing from you! 

Book Review: Ellie Bean the Drama Queen 
Review by:   Sunita Murty

"Ellie Bean the Drama Queen" by Jennie Harding is a cute book for children and adults offering insight into Ellie's dramatic behaviors. Her over-reactive behaviors towards seemingly minor situations are simply and clearly explained for anyone to empathize with and understand. Ellie's behaviors show the challenges of growing up with sensory processing disorder (SPD) in an easy to understand manner. The benefits of receiving sensory-based occupational therapy to help normalize, deal with and overcome her uncomfortable feeling to be able to verbalize her feelings and deal with them appropriately are encouraging for families and children dealing with SPD.

Read the Rest of this Review on our Blog

Therapy Activity/Resource of the Week:  Summer Activities for Children with Aspergers
[Source: My Aspergers Child]

Thanks to our Twitter friend @JillianvT for the heads up on this post!

Editor's Note: Although written by a parent, for parents, this is a nice article to share with the parents of your kiddos

Many Aspergers kids have extreme difficulties with transitions. This can be a simple transition, such as moving from one activity to another, or a more significant transition like school letting out for the summer. When moms and dads plan ahead and schedule summer activities for their youngster, the transition out of school and into the less structured summer-time can be easier for all involved.
Therapist Activity of the Week - The Infinity Walk
Special Thanks to our friends at for permission to reprint this excellent video! Please support our contributors and visit

Here is Pediatric Occupational Therapist John Murray, OTR demonstrating the Infinity Walk, helpful for children of all ages and abilities.

Watch a Demonstration of the Infinity Walk on our Blog

Speech Language Pathology Corner:  Being Conscious Caretakers of Communication Opportunities Created by New Technologies in Children's Speech and Language Therapy
By: Megan Bratti, MS, CCC-SLP

Last year I wrote, Embracing the potential benefits of using new technologies in children's speech and language therapy - or rather; Getting to know children's digital language in order to be better Speech Language Pathologists and parents. Now in 2011, the journey continues. We, SLPs, siblings, parents, teachers, must continue, or start - to be caretakers, facilitators, teachers, and moderators of precious moments of shared attention created by these new technologies.

Tech devices and tools of any kind are used in order to engage and maintain the attention of children, which is the essential ingredient for communication opportunities. It is only through gaining attention of a child that the joint attention, engagement, attachment and communication opportunities of bonding, playing and learning can happen. We must remember that an opportunity can be defined as a good chance for advancement or progress. And we must be the emotional, social, human caretakers of these chances for advancement and progress that are not always given the care they deserve.


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog   


Occupational Therapy Corner: Extra-Curricular Activities -- Enrichment or Substitute Parenting?
By: Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L

First after many back and forth phone calls the parents finally brought their 5-year old son Sam to occupational therapy.

He started to improve, slowly. They wanted "faster".

So they enrolled him in community sports. Not unusual, but for a child with severe motor planning issues, perhaps not the best choice.

Then they thought he might like music, so that got added too.

Then came the emails. Sam doesn't refuse soccer, he just doesn't do as well as the other kids. We play tennis, so we are dropping soccer and starting tennis. Can you work some tennis techniques into the therapy sessions? (well maybe, but, mmmmm and you are bringing him to OT because........)

Then he started kindergarten. At the first 6-week conference, the teacher remarked that his math facts were a bit weak.

The parents requested an OT conference "immediately". Dad came in he was pacing. Mom was sitting twisting a tissue in her hands. What could be so wrong, I wondered.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Pediatric Therapy Corner: Pediatric Feeding Tube Weaning
By: Tracy Huppert, MEd CCC-SLP, Spectrum Pediatrics, LLC

Based on research, it has been found that infants and children born preterm and/or at-risk are often suffering from emotional, behavioral, and self-regulation disturbances. These disturbances include long-term feeding tube dependency, feeding disorders, and post-traumatic stress due to invasive, intensive medical care early in life.

Pediatric tube feeding, a medical need for numerous pre-term and medically at-risk children, is used when a child is unable to eat by mouth in order to gain an adequate amount of food and liquids for survival. Through tube feeding, such as a gastric tube (G-tube) or nasogastric tube (NG-tube), it is ensured that a child will receive adequate caloric/fluid supply and gain sufficient weight. Tube feedings also provide the benefits of protection from aspiration caused by dysphagia, a break for families from stressful feedings, and allowance for easy transmission of non-palatable medications via the tube. Nonetheless, there are also problems that develop with tube feeding a child. Some complications include decreased swallowing activity, frequent vomiting, obesity, reduced hunger-driven motivation to eat, and financial and emotional stressors. These factors can contribute to difficulties with feeding disorders and self-regulation.

A feeding disorder can be defined as a disturbance in oral intake that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis. Frequent symptoms include food refusal, regurgitation, gagging, or swallowing resistance. A feeding disorder is a common early-onset disorder in the pediatric population. The estimated prevalence ranges from 5-35% in healthy infants and toddlers (Benoit, 2001).

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
School Psychology Corner:  The Importance of Skills Acquisition for Students with ADD
By: Diane Ferber-Collins, MA, C.A.S.

Our approach to children with ADD has largely focused on their identification and diagnosis, as well as the design of school-centered interventions around the classroom management and impacted areas of academic underachievement. I believe we need to consider whether our current school interventions will be effective beyond the immediate school microcosm, and beyond managing class specific academic success and classroom behavior. Are we providing the skill transfer and personal tools that will help these students through their academic career as they grow into adults? In 2007 I completed a school psychology graduate thesis project in which I chose to work backwards: with an understanding of the challenges faced by adults with ADD, from both their point of view and the point of view of their spouses and co-workers, I sought to find valuable, broad directions to inform the optimal content of school based interventions and transition plans.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 

Focus on Bilingualism - Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology. Where Are We Today?
By:   Alejandro Brice, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Roanne Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Personal and Professional History
In 1990, when I graduated with my Ph.D., the area of bilingual speech-language pathology was still in its infancy. Very few clinical programs at that time even acknowledged the existence of this field. My clinical experiences have been working in schools, working in university clinics, and working in private practice in a bilingual community (i.e., Miami-Dade county with 80% of the population being Spanish speaking). Over the past 21 years I have created and taught specific courses at Northern Arizona University, Minnesota State University at Mankato, the University of Central Florida, Valdosta State University, and now the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The courses that I have taught have included topics of first and second language acquisition, cultural and linguistic diversity, assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) populations, and intervention with English learners (EL) and CLD populations. My research has focused entirely on bilingual issues of individuals with and without disabilities.

From the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's ASHA offered a series of conferences on multicultural education at Sea Island, Georgia. These conferences featured key speakers and was one of ASHA's attempts to disseminate and infuse content regarding cultural and linguistic diversity into university curriculums. In 1991, ASHA offered "Adelante, the National Forum on the Communication Needs of the Hispanic Population." In 1992, ASHA offered the "Bilingualism/bilingļæ½ismo: A clinical forum." In 1995, Special Interest Division 14 (now special interest group 14) was formed , i.e., Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and


Read the Rest of this Article Online on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: EnabledKids, The Speech House   
Crying in Therapy:  By: Natan Gendelman

For many parents, family members and therapists, crying can be a big obstacle to overcome when teaching and working with a young child. While it may be difficult to manage this sort of behaviour, it is important to understand why a child is upset as well as the things you can do in order to see his way of thinking. In my opinion, the key to handling this issue is to try to figure out where the child is coming from and be willing to view things from his perspective. In doing so, you will be able to tell the difference between when he is simply protesting something new or if he is hurt and needs you to stop and assist him in his function.

Seeing from a child's perspective
For this reason, it's good to take a step back and observe your child. We often believe that since we are older and "wiser," our primary goal is to teach a child the things that we know and understand. However, every child is different, and each has his own dreams, wishes and fears. In this respect our first response should be to learn as much from him as he learns from us. The ability to understand a child becomes really important especially when you are working with him to improve his function. In response to unfamiliar situations or tasks, a child will often cry because he does not want to do them. This makes it important to know the difference between crying as a response to new experiences or in response to actual injury. If he is really hurt, you will need to stop and find out what is happening. However, if this is not the case it is important to persist and continue with treatment.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Eye Contact / Social Referencing / Joint Attention / Thinking with our Eyes:  By: Suzanne Herman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

When dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the terms "eye contact, social referencing, and joint attention" are often part of the discussion. These terms all indicate a very similar skill involved in typical development.

Eye contact is a term often seen in treatment goals for children with ASD. Eye contact is simply looking at another person during a communication exchange (verbal or nonverbal). Very few of us neurotypicals can stomach looking directly into someone's eyes for any lenghth of time. It can, in fact, be creepy. So, I always struggled with the idea of teaching eye contact to children with autism. I would never try to teach a child to look into my eyes, though I have seen some try to teach this. Instead the child needs to learn to look at or towards the communication partner. I feel "eye contact" is a term that relates directly to whether or not a child has developed the skills involved in social referencing and joint attention. These areas are functional deficits seen in children with ASD. See this post, Social Skills: Social Stories, for a social story for higher functioning children regarding eye contact.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Worth Repeating:  A Model for Manipulating Linguistic Complexity in Stuttering Therapy
By: E. Charles Healey, Lisa Scott Trautman, and James Panico


Editor's Note: Thank you to Judith Kuster of MSU for calling our attention to this article that we might share the link with you here.

A basic component of most stuttering therapy programs is manipulation of the length and grammatical complexity of client utterances (Healey, Norris, Scott Trautman, & Susca, 1999). For example, Ryan and Ryan (1995) reported that a fluency-shaping treatment program based on a gradual increase in utterance length and grammatical complexity was effective in establishing fluency in school-age children who stutter. Thus, manipulating the length and complexity of client utterances produced in therapy assists him/her in achieving fluent productions.

In a traditional length/complexity hierarchy, utterance length relates to the number of words or syllables produced per speaking turn. Utterance complexity, on the other hand, is associated with the syntactic difficulty of what's said. Both length and complexity can be independently manipulated to facilitate a more fluent response.

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

Also Worth Repeating: The Role of the SLP in Improving Reading Fluency
by Alan G. Kamhi

ASHA recently adopted the position that speech-language pathologists can and should play a critical and direct role in the development of literacy for children and youth with communication disorders (Ad Hoc Committee on Reading and Written Language Disorders, 1999). SLPs can play many different roles in facilitating reading in children with and without communication disorders. These roles include prevention, identification, assessment, intervention, monitoring, and follow-up. SLPs also can play important roles in curriculum and instruction, advocacy, leadership, and continuing education.

The exact roles SLPs assume will depend on the policies and administrative structures of the work setting (e.g., school, clinic, private practice, hospital). There are three general roles SLPs might assume: planning team member, direct-service provider, or collaborative consultant (indirect-service provider). In some cases, an SLP might assume all of these roles. For example, an SLP might provide direct services for phonological awareness; consult with teachers on the best way to improve reading fluency, spelling, or writing; and be a part of the planning team in designing a language arts curriculum.

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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