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August 5, 2011
Issue 24, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Greetings!   

Hope you are having a wonderful summer.  Here is our weekly offering for you.   Enjoy!
 
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Video on Direct/Indirect Language
  • Visual Perception Skills Activities on 'Eye Can Learn'
  • Playdoh Chain for Fine Motor Skills 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog: Starting My Private Practice 
  • Guest Blog: Playdough Filled Balloons for Storytelling / Language
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Helping Your Child with Sensory Issues Enjoy Swimming
  • Worth Repeating: Prefered Language Guide: Down Syndrome 
  • Also Worth Repeating: Transition to Secondary School: Supporting Pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs                                               
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team






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Autism Research in the News:  Overexcited Brain Cells May Spur Symptoms of Autism, Stanford Study Finds

[Source: Bloomberg.com]

 

Stimulating brain cells with light can generate autism-like symptoms, Stanford University researchers reported in a mouse study that may provide clues on what causes the disease in people.

 

The scientists implanted light-sensitive proteins into parts of the brain linked to social behavior in normal mice, and then activated them with blue lasers routed into the brain using fiber-optic cables. Normally gregarious mice didn't socialize with other animals and developed a brain-wave pattern seen in some people with autism and schizophrenia. Their interest in exploring inanimate objects was normal, according to the results published online in the journal Nature.

 

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

Research Grants in the News:  New Tool to ID Support Needed By Children with Intellectual Disabilities

[Source: Vanderbilt University News]

 

Determining what children with intellectual disabilities need to thrive in school and in their daily lives is the aim of new research at Vanderbilt University. The research is being funded with a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

 

The new research will develop and validate a new version of the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS), an assessment tool which evaluates practical support needs of adults over age 16, for children ages 5-16 years.

 

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

Autism in the News:  New Brain Imaging Research Reveals Why Individuals with Autism Confuse Pronouns

[Source: Science Daily]

 

Autism is a mysterious developmental disease because it often leaves complex abilities intact while impairing seemingly elementary ones. For example, it is well documented that autistic children often have difficulty correctly using pronouns, sometimes referring to themselves as "you" instead of "I."

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
New Drug Therapies in the News:  Scientist Tests Promising Drug for Those with Down Syndrome

[Source: Medical XPress.com]

 

A University of Colorado School of Medicine scientist is finishing a major clinical trial on a drug that could boost cognitive function in those with Down syndrome, significantly improving their quality of life and representing a potential milestone in research on this genetic disorder.

 

"We are hoping to enhance memory and learning in those with Down syndrome," said Alberto Costa, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine and the neuroscientist leading the effort. "We have been studying this drug for three years and are now ready to analyze the data on our trial. Our team at the University of Colorado and Children's Hospital Colorado expects to have the results in the next two or three months."

 

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

Numeracy in the News: Helping Children Learn to Understand Numbers: It's All in the Way We Speak to Them

[Source: Science Daily]

 

Most people know how to count, but the way we master this ability remains something of a puzzle. Numerals were invented only around four to five thousand years ago, meaning it is unlikely that enough time has elapsed for specialized parts of the brain for processing numbers to evolve, which suggests that math is largely a cultural invention. It appears to be based on an interface between vision and reasoning that we share with other animals, allowing us to "see" small numbers - up to around five - without counting.  

 

This ability - often called 'the number sense' - lays the foundations of later mathematical knowledge, but its basis is poorly understood. It has been argued that the number sense itself may be innate, but this fails to account for why learning to master the use of small numbers is such a difficult and drawn-out process in children.

  
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyslexia in the News:  Study Sheds Light on Auditory Role in Dyslexia

Thank you Loren Shlaes, PediatricOT for catching this one that slipped by us.

 

[Source: New York Times]

 

Many people consider dyslexia simply a reading problem in which children mix up letters and misconstrue written words. But increasingly scientists have come to believe that the reading difficulties of dyslexia are part of a larger puzzle: a problem with how the brain processes speech and puts together words from smaller units of sound.

 

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

Social Skills in the News: Psychologist Links Social Acumen To Spatial Skill

[Source: Medical News Today]

 

People who are socially skilled - who are adept at metaphorically putting themselves in someone else's shoes - are also more proficient when it comes to spatial skills, according to a new study led by a Johns Hopkins University psychologist.

 

The study, published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that the more socially accomplished a person is, the easier it is for him or her to assume another person's perspective (literally) on the world.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Activity of the Week: Video on Direct/Indirect Language

[Source: SpeechTechie]

 

RSA Animate is a wonderfully creative resource that provides sketch visualizations of interesting talks and lectures. I recently watched this one by noted linguist Stephen Pinker, discussing what we would refer to as "indirect and direct" language and social relationships. It is well worth a look and would perhaps be worth using in segments if you work with adult and teen clients that have high-level social pragmatic issues. Summer food-for-thought!


Check out this Resource on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: Visual Perception Skills Activities on 'Eye Can Learn'
Special Thanks to Barbara Smith, the  Recycling Occupational Therapist for the heads up on this website.

Eye Can Learn is a terrific website, full of exercises to help sharpen visual information processing skills.

 

Categories of exercises include: Visual Discrimination, Visual Memory, Figure Ground, Peripheral Vision, Cross-Eyed Viewing, Focus Shifts, Line Tracking and several others. The website also has a list of links to resources for fun visual perception/skills activities.

 

Check out 'Eye Can Learn' Through a Link on our Blog

 

Therapy Idea of the Week: Playdough Chain for Fine Motor Skills 
Here is a cute, simply activity with Playdoh that works fine motor skills. The author seems to have a good many other interesting videos as well on her ChildCareLand YouTube Channel

Check out This Activity on our Blog
Guest Blogs This Week: ASHASphere, PlayCreateExplore   
Starting My Private Practice - By:  Heidi Hanks

Courtesy of ASHASphere


It was 2003, I had a one year old son and I was working part time as a Speech Language Pathologist in Early Intervention.  I was suffering from what I like to refer to as "Mom guilt."  I loved my job, I loved my son but I hated dropping him off at daycare.  My husband and I decided it was time for a change.  We determined private practice was the answer.  I could work from home in the evening while my husband watched our son.  I put in my notice at work and immediately went about setting up my own private practice.  I'm not going to deny that I was a little nervous. How was I going to get clients?  How was I going to pay for all the materials I needed to provide adequate services?  How would I set up my home environment in a way to allow me to provide therapy for my clients without interrupting my family's life?  How would I handle billing? What about liability?


Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
Playdough Filled Balloons for Storytelling / Language - by Jessie Koller

Ahhh PINTEREST...how I love thee!

 

The idea to fill balloons with playdough came from Pinterest, which directed me to the original source, Somewhat Simple. She calls hers "wacky sacks" and embellishes with eyes and pom poms. Very cute!

 

Literally, I saw it, jumped up, and made them right then in about 10 minutes. 

Of course I couldn't just make one or two...I had to make a rainbow (always a rainbow if possible)

 

Guess I'll be sharing with friends!

soft, squishy, and moldable..a bit hard to put down actually.


Read the Rest of this Guest Post (and Check out her Pictures) on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Helping Your Child with Sensory Issues Enjoy Swimming
By: Nancy Peske

Editor's Note:
This article was written primarily for parents and caregivers of children with Sensory Processing Disorder. We include it here as an excellent resource that therapists may share with the parents and guardians of the kiddos they treat with SPD.


Are you caught in the "heat dome" as they're calling it? Do you want your child to enjoy swimming but are finding she's resistant due to sensory issues? The following is from a newsletter I created a while back, which will give you some ideas on how to make swimming, pools, and lakes more sensory friendly for your child with sensory processing disorder and/or autism.

Why is it that kids with sensory issues so often heartily take to swimming despite the sensory challenges that this activity can present? Perhaps it is because swimming offers sensory input they yearn for along with a sense of independence, and because many kids, neurotypical or not, just find it fun to splash around. As a sport, swimming allows a child to avoid competing with other children and instead compete against himself or herself. What is more, swimming is an important skill for anyone and great exercise.   
But what if your child resists swimming or learning to swim? Here's how to get around some of the swimming challenges sensory kids face so that they can truly enjoy the experience. 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Prefered Language Guide: Down Syndrome
Reprinted with the express permission of the National Down Syndrome Society as originally published on their website.
 
Below is the proper use of language for 'Down syndrome':
  • Down vs. Down's: NDSS use's the preferred spelling, Down syndrome, rather than Down's syndrome. While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both popular spellings (with or without an apostrophe s), the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome. This is because an "apostrophe s" connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it. The AP Stylebook recommends using "Down syndrome" as well.
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
 
Also Worth Repeating - Transition to Secondary School: Supporting Pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs
By:  Anne Ayre & Sue Roulstone,of the Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit
University of the West of England, Bristol


The Communication Trust commissioned this report to clarify exactly what information mainstream teachers wanted and in what format to support children with speech, language and communication (SLCN). The project is funded by The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) via The Communication Trust and is supported by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). The Trust wanted to discover whether a resource could be identified that would support these pupils, particularly around the time of their transition from primary to secondary school. This paper reports the outcomes of that consultation.

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