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November 11, 2011
Issue 35, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Are you going to ASHA in San Diego??  We will be there and can't wait to meet you!  Please visit us at booth #924 to say 'Hello!'  As usual, we will have free Toobaloos for all booth visitors, while supplies last!

Since we are headed off to ASHA and then will be coming home with much catch up to do we took some extra time to work on all our Holiday Pinboards on Pinterest.  Feel free to check them out! 

See you in San Diego!!

News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Read Write Think.org 
  • Book Review:  'Learn to Move, Move to Learn'  
  • Speakaboos! 
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week: An Entire Blog of Hand & Footprint Crafts  
Upcoming Events
  • ASHA Convention and Conference 

Articles and Blogs

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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Dyslexia in the News:  Another Study Says Dyslexia Not Related to Intelligence
[Source:  Los Angeles Times]

One's intelligence appears unrelated to the specific brain pattern that causes dyslexia, researchers reported Thursday. The findings are important because they suggest that IQ shouldn't be considered by education specialists when diagnosing dyslexia. In fact, doing say may bar some children from receiving special education services to improve reading comprehension.


The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was undertaken because many educators diagnose dyslexia based on a lag between reading scores and overall IQ scores.

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

More Dyslexia in the News: Special Font Helps Those with Dyslexia Mind Their Ps and Qs
[Source: ABC, MSNBC, Project Dyslexie]

Some of the letters are a bit askew, others gape open or slump slightly. But all the letters in the font Dyslexie are designed to make reading easier for people with dyslexia.


Christian Boer, the Dutch graphic artist who designed the font, is dyslexic himself, and knew firsthand that people with the disorder often mix up letters that look similar, MSNBC reports.


The letter "b," for instance, can easily flip into a "d" or even a "p." A lowercase "e" can be mixed with its simpler cousin, "c." A little "i" looks very much like a "j."


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

Autism in the News: Scientists and Autism, When Geeks Meet

Editor's Note: This article appeared in a special Issue of the Journal Nature, dedicated to Autism. Check out the Entire Issue HERE  


[Source: Nature]


In the opening scene of The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg portrays a cold Mark Zuckerberg getting dumped by his girlfriend, who is exasperated by the future Facebook founder's socially oblivious and obsessive personality. Eisenberg's Zuckerberg is the stereotypical Silicon Valley geek - brilliant with technology, pathologically bereft of social graces. Or, in the parlance of the Valley: 'on the spectrum'.

Few scientists think that the leaders of the tech world actually have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which can range from the profound social, language and behavioural problems that are characteristic of autistic disorder, to the milder Asperger's syndrome. But according to an idea that is creeping into the popular psyche, they and many others in professions such as science and engineering may display some of the characteristics of autism, and have an increased risk of having children with the full-blown disorder.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handwriting in the News:  As Seen in HuffPo - 'Just Say "No" to Keyboarding in Kindergarten'

[Source:  Huffington Post]


In an earlier piece for Huff - and an earlier segment of Body, Mind and Child - I asked whether or not we should continue to teach handwriting in the digital age. I found the feedback surprising, as more individuals than expected unequivocally proclaimed that handwriting is a thing of the past. While I'm not pleased with that answer (and was essentially called a "dinosaur" for believing we should continue to teach handwriting), it does raise a second question: If handwriting is no longer to be used as a form of communication but the computer is, at what age should children be learning keyboarding skills?


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyspraxia in the News: Excellent Article from the 'Other Side of the Pond' 

[Source: Irish Times]


Aside from dealing with 'clumsiness' and pain, seven-year-old Luc struggles with the simplest of tasks - running, writing, dressing, eating. He suffers from the little-known condition dyspraxia, writes Sheila Wayman.

Luc Carpenter often cries all the way home from school, complaining that he is hungry or that he has had a bad day or that somebody has been mean to him.  

As a seven-year-old boy with the "hidden disorder" of dyspraxia, the school day is a huge ordeal physically, academically and socially. He is exhausted afterwards.  

The moment his mother, Michelle, gets him back to their home, in Clane, Co Kildare, she needs to give him food, as he will probably have eaten little if anything since breakfast. Then he has a break before they face the challenge of homework.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism Research in the News: Extra Brain Cells May be Key to Autism: Study

[Source:  Reuters via Yahoo News]


Children with autism appear to have too many cells in a key area of the brain needed for communication and emotional development, helping to explain why young children with autism often develop brains that are larger than normal, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Their study suggests the condition starts in the womb because brain cells in this area known as the prefrontal cortex typically develop during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News: ADHD Brain Changes Appear to Persist Into Adulthood

Editor's Note:  This is disheartening news since as clinicians, we are fond of telling parents that kids will 'grow out' of their ADHD. 


[Source:  HealthDay via Yahoo News]


Adults who were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children have less gray matter in certain areas of their brains as adults than people who didn't have ADHD in their youth, researchers say. 

"The majority of individuals with ADHD improve in adulthood, but it was still somewhat disappointing to see that even with improvement, there continue to be challenges for those with ADHD," said the study's lead author, Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. 

Castellanos and his team also found a trend toward even more significant brain changes in people who continued to have ADHD symptoms as adults.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Hippotherapy in the News: Study to Address Effects of Hippotherapy on Autism
[Source: EquiMed.com]


The Horses and Humans Research Foundation has awarded its sixth $50,000 research grant recently to a team from the Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri. The team will measure outcomes from Occupational and Physical Therapy using horse movement (Hippotherapy) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).


The proposed project will follow fifteen children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as they participate in 12 weeks of weekly hippotherapy sessions. The project is especially innovative because it will use objective quantitative data collection in addition to qualitative standardized clinical scales that are typically used for such studies.


"Hippotherapy is commonly used for children with ASD," said Principal Investigator Tim L. Shurtleff, OTD, OTR/L. "However, no systematic evidence has been published on the impact of hippotherapy on children with ASD."


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Upcoming Event : ASHA Annual Convention & Conference
Its nearly November and that means it's time for the American Speech-Language Hearing Conference and Convention to be held this year in sunny, San Diego from November 17-19th!

PediaStaff will be there of course with a free Toobaloo Fluency Device for all booth visitors while supplies last!  


Stop by booth #924 and say hi!   Our team is looking forward to meeting you face to face in the exhibition hall!.  We will also have a representative of our newsletter team there as well, so please stop by and tell us of your ideas to make this weekly publication even better!   

Therapist Resource of the Week: Read Write Think.org

Thanks to our friends at 2 Gals Speech Therapy Products for the lead on this excellent resource - The Student Interactives section on ReadWriteThink.org  


ReadWriteThink is a project of the International Reading Association. Its mission is to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.


Some of their most popular materials include a comic creator, Word Family sort, graphic organizers for prewriting and postreading, a plot diagram tool. Really good stuff!

Learn More About and Check out ReadWriteThink Through a Link on our Blog 


Book Review : Learn to Move, Move to Learn by Jenny Clark Brack

Book By: Jenn Clark Brack; Reviewed By: Sunita Murty, M.S. OTR/L; Published/Produced By: Autism Asperger Publishing Company


Jenny Clark Brack's Learn to Move, Move to Learn series of books and DVD are great resources for any leader or participant of a small motor and sensory children's group. Being a pediatric occupational therapist myself, I found this resource to be a great way to help lesson plan for group activities as well as educate other staff about all the factors that help a child succeed in his or her school environment.


The Learn to Move, Move to Learn book and DVD nicely describe the sensory systems and the challenges that can occur when integration does not happen properly. Each system is simply broken down with easy to understand explanations. Each individual sense is related to



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


Therapy Resource of the Week: Speakaboos!

The best part about all the time I have been spending 'trolling' for activities to put on our various

Pinterest boards, are the gems I find !


Speakaboos is a beautiful online site that brings classic children's stories to the web for the digital world.  The stories are beautifully illustrated and are narrated by celebrity voices like Tom Arnold, Clay Aiken, Kevin Bacon and Harry Shearer - of Simpson's fame!.  

Stories are classic folk tales, fairy tales, fables, holiday tales, stories in Spanish, and my favorite, 8 of the Arthur books by Marc Brown! (that part alone makes the site worth visiting, IMO!)

Read More and Check out Speakaboos Through on our Blog
Pinterest Pin of the Week:  An Entire Blog for Handprint, Footprint & Fingerprint Art
The pediatric and school based OTs that visit our Pinterest site are pretty excited about the blog  'Handprint and Footprint Art,' by Artsy Momma!   We had to make it the Pinterest Pin of the Week!  It's an entire site dedicated to Handprint, Footprint and Fingerprint arts and crafts.   We will be tracking this site and bringing you all of her good ideas on Pinterest!


Visit our the Handprint/Footprint Artwork Blog Through a Link on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: Jezzabella's OT Experiences, Speech Lady Liz  
Evidence Based and the Placebo Effect - by Jessica Shiel

So I found this fascinating video on the placebo effect through In Web we Trust (a site of geekery and science). Often many of the techniques that occupational therapists use have not been scientifically proven to create a difference. That does not mean they do not work; it just means the technique has not been tested yet. This makes it hard for occupational therapy to get respect as a profession. It is hard for me at the moment to figure out how a placebo would work for occupational therapy. I believe most scientific journals currently compare a technique versus if no intervention was done or against another technique working trying to achieve the same goal to see what is better.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
Speech & Language Activities for 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear' - By:  Elizabeth Gretz, MS CCC-SLP

When reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear we work on syllableness. Syllableness focuses on producing the appropriate amount of syllables in each word or phrase. First I model the words for the children.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
Pediatric Therapy Corner: Cerebral Palsy - Facts & Figures from United Cerebral Palsy
[Source: United Cerebral Palsy ]

What is cerebral palsy (CP)? 

Cerebral palsy, also referred to as CP, is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development; before, during, or shortly after birth; or during infancy. Thus, these disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves. Instead, faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain disrupt the brain's ability to adequately control movement and posture.

"Cerebral" refers to the brain and "palsy" to muscle weakness/poor control. Cerebral palsy itself is not progressive (i.e. brain damage does not get worse); however, secondary conditions, such as muscle spasticity, can develop which may get better over time, get worse, or remain the same. Cerebral palsy is not communicable. It is not a disease and should not be referred to as such. Although cerebral palsy is not "curable" in the accepted sense, training and therapy can help improve function.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Playground Pragmatics
 By: Joanne Hanson, MS CCC-SLP


Reading facial expressions, staying on the subject, joining in, developing ideas, and taking turns are as important for communication as articulation and vocabulary. Children who have not mastered these "pragmatics of language" find the playground to be a sensory nightmare, a social challenge, and a psychologically bewildering experience. Pragmatic language delays also impact most academic skills. Build these skills for youngsters age three to twelve with the activities below.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog  
Also Worth Repeating - Speech-Language Activity Suggestions for Multisensory Stimulation of At-Risk Children
[Source: ASHASphere]

by Tatyana Elleseff

In recent years the percentage of "at-risk" children has been steadily increasing across pediatric speech-language pathology caseloads.  These include adopted and foster care children, medically fragile children (e.g., failure to thrive), abused and neglected children, children from low socioeconomic backgrounds or any children who for any reason lack the adequate support system to encourage them to function optimally socially, emotionally, intellectually, or physically.

At times speech-language pathologists encounter barriers when working with this population, which include low motivation, inconsistent knowledge retention, as well as halting or labored progress in therapy.


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