March 29, 2013
Monthly Edition 
Issue 3, Volume 6
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Greetings!

Hope everyone had a great Spring Break.  Happy Easter and Good Pesach to everyone celebrating this week.   Please enjoy the monthly edition of our newsletter.
 
News Items:
 
  • Reduced 'Fine-Tuning' of Brain May Hamper Face Recognition in Autism 
  • Molecular Roots of Down Syndrome Unraveled
  • Brain Damage Can Be Averted In Oxygen-Starved Babies With Low-Cost 'Cooling Cure'
  • New Urgency in Battle Against 'Bound Legs' Disease
  • Arguments in the Home Linked With Babies' Brain Functioning
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: First Climber with Down Syndrome Reaches Mount Everest Base Camp
  • Significant Insights Into Common Form of Autism: Study Identifies Genetic Connections in 15q Duplication Syndrome
  • Language Acquisition: Nouns Before Verbs?

Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • OT Activity of the Week: Fine Motor Skills with Water Beads
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: Earth Day Themed Therapy Activities and Treats
  • App Review of the Week:  Verbal Reasoning 
  • Language Activity of the Week: Long & Short Vowel Sorting with Snakes  

Articles and Special Features  

  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  21 Great Fidgets For Your Child With Special Needs
  • SLP Grad Student's Corner: Conquering the Dreaded Praxis Test
  • OT Corner: Help For the Anxious Child  
  • Worth Repeating: Tips to Help Develop Time Awareness for Individuals with ADHD
  • Also Worth Repeating: Teaching Phonemic Awareness to At-Risk Kindergartners: Where do we Start?
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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:  Reduced 'Fine-Tuning' of Brain May Hamper Face Recognition in Autism

[Source:  HealthDay via US News and World Report]

A malfunction in a specific group of brain cells may explain why some people with autism have difficulty recognizing faces, a small new study finds.

 

Researchers used functional MRI to scan the brains of 15 adults with autism. In some of the patients, neurons in the brain area that processes faces - the fusiform face area (FFA) - were too broadly "tuned" to distinguish between facial features of different people.


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

Down Syndrome Research in the News: Molecular Roots of Down Syndrome Unraveled

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

Researchers have discovered that the extra chromosome inherited in Down syndrome impairs learning and memory because it leads to low levels of SNX27 protein in the brain.

 

What is it about the extra chromosome inherited in Down syndrome - chromosome 21 - that alters brain and body development? Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) have new evidence that points to a protein called sorting nexin 27, or SNX27. SNX27 production is inhibited by a molecule encoded on chromosome 21. The study, published March 24 

 

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

Pediatric Brain Damage in the News:  Brain Damage Can Be Averted In Oxygen-Starved Babies With Low-Cost 'Cooling Cure'   

[Source: Science Daily]

 

[Source:  Medical News Today]

 

When babies are deprived of oxygen before birth, brain damage and disorders such as cerebral palsy can occur. Extended cooling can prevent brain injuries, but this treatment is not always available in developing nations where advanced medical care is scarce. To address this need, Johns Hopkins undergraduates have devised a low-tech $40 unit to provide protective cooling in the absence of modern hospital equipment that can cost $12,000.

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

International Pediatric Health Concerns in the News:  New Urgency in Battle Against 'Bound Legs' Disease 

[Source:  Science Daily.com]

 

The harm done by konzo -- a disease overshadowed by the war and drought it tends to accompany -- goes beyond its devastating physical effects to impair children's memory, problem solving and other cognitive functions.

 

Even children without physical symptoms of konzo appear to lose cognitive ability when exposed to the toxin that causes the disease, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

The Pediatric Brain in the News:  Arguments in the Home Linked With Babies' Brain Functioning  

[Source: Science Daily]

 

Being exposed to arguments between parents is associated with the way babies' brains process emotional tone of voice, according to a new study to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

 

The study, conducted by graduate student Alice Graham with her advisors Phil Fisher and Jennifer Pfeifer of the University of Oregon, found that infants respond to angry tone of voice, even when they're asleep.

 

Babies' brains are highly plastic, allowing them to develop in response to the environments and   

 
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Feel Good Story of the Week:  First Climber with Down Syndrome Reaches Mount Everest Base Camp    

[Source:  Special Ed Post]

A teen from Bend, Oregon made the history books by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest.

 

Eli Reimer, 15, and his father arrived at Los Angeles International Airport to find a crowd of supporters waiting for him Tuesday night. The two returned to the states from Nepal after a successful mission to raise money and awareness for disabled children.

 

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Autism Research in the News:  Significant Insights Into Common Form of Autism: Study Identifies Genetic Connections in 15q Duplication Syndrome    

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

A new study published in the March issue of Autism Research from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Le Bonheur researchers is making the genetic connections between autism and Chromosome 15q Duplication Syndrome (Dup15q).

 

The Memphis researchers determined that the maternally derived or inherited duplication of the region inclusive of the UBE3A gene (also known as the Angelman/Prader-Willi syndrome locus) are sufficient to produce a phenotype on the autism spectrum in all ten maternal

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Language Development in the News:  Language Acquisition: Nouns Before Verbs?     

[Source: Science Daily.com]

 

Researchers are digging deeper into whether infants' ability to learn new words is shaped by the particular language being acquired.

 

A new Northwestern University study cites a promising new research agenda aimed at bringing researchers closer to discovering the impact of different languages on early language and cognitive development.

 

For decades, researchers have asked why infants learn new nouns more rapidly and more easily than new verbs. Many researchers have asserted that the early advantage for learning nouns over verbs is a universal feature of human language.

 

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

OT Activity of the Week:  Fine Motor Skills with Water Beads      

Check out this EXCELLENT blog post detailing a variety of ways to use water beads for a great sensory and fine motor experience!

 

[Source: Teaching Mama]

 

 Learn More About this Activity Through a Link on our Blog

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  Earth Day Therapy Activities and Treats 

There are so many great activities that lend themselves to adaptation for therapy activities for earth day.  Bloggers, crafty moms and teachers are all getting into the act and sharing a plethora (I love that word) of terrific ideas on Pinterest and on the Internet in general.    Come see the over 205 ideas we have collected (so far) for you on our Earth Day Themed Therapy Activities & Treats Pinboard - now in its second full year!

 

 Visit our Earth Day Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog

App Review of the Week:  Verbal Reasoning   

[Source:  Welcome to Their World Apps]

Verbal Reasoning by Virtual Speech Center Inc. is an app that works on reasoning and critical thinking skills for ages 12 and up. There is over 1000 stimuli included in this app. There is many different activities included in the app such as: answering why questions, pros and cons, what will happen next, and many many more. There is a puzzle game also included in the app that promotes thinking skills.

Like their other apps you get to choose what things you want the user to work on. You can select as many as you want or select all of them. There is four categories with choices and sixteen categories without choices included. Although this app is meant for older children/adults I find this app useful for younger users as well. If you use with younger users you may have to monitor closely to see if they are able to figure out the question given but with a lot of them younger users would still be able to figure it out especially working in a group and working together. The pictures in this app are geared more toward ages 12 and up but are not inappropriate for younger users either. I have my children sit together in a circle and talk together trying to come up with the best answer. If none of them are able to get it I will give hints or explain the answer to them. I love the real pictures used in the app and the voice is very clear.


Read the Rest of this App Review on our Blog

Language Activity of the Week:  Long & Short Vowel Sorting with Snakes   

[Source:  No Time for Flash Cards]

Getting kids to learn after school can be hard. Bribery, delayed rewards even punishment seems futile because we want them to WANT to learn. Making it a game or using some novel tools for learning are my son's favorite ways to learn after school.  These little slimy snakes are favorites around here . I find them all over the playroom so I decided to use them for a quick lesson in long and short vowel sounds.

 

Learn More About this Great Activity Through a Link on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: 21 Great Fidgets For Your Child With Special Needs

Editor's Note:  This is a great list, but I would also add the Klixx!!

[Source:  Friendship Circle Blog]

Fidget toys are great self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening. We asked some of our contributing bloggers what widgets they would recommend. The results are some pretty neat fidget toys that will help your child with special needs. Check out all 21 below.

 

 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Grad Student's Corner: Conquering the Dreaded Praxis Test

by Jourdan Saunders, M.S., CCC-SLP;  Contributions by Dr. Carole Zangari and Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP

 

 Preparation before the Test

  • Set a date that provides you with ample amount of time to develop a study calendar that is realistic.
  • Try not to OVER STUDY!!! What do I mean?  Break up your studying into different topics and for a set amount of time.  Also give yourself breaks and days off to rest your brain (Refer to Appendix A)
  • The day of the test do not forget to print out your admission ticket, be there early, bring two #2 pencils, maybe even an extra pencil (sometimes they do not have extra pencils) and dress warm (it can be very cool in a lot of the testing classrooms).
 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

OT Corner: Help For the Anxious Child

by Loren Shlaes, OTR/L

 

As pediatric therapists, we've all had more than our share of anxious, high arousal children on our caseloads.    As one mother commented to me recently, "He's always seemed as if he's miswired."

 

These are the children who need constant reassurance, who can't be flexible, who need to know what is coming next and can't cope with changes in their routine.  Their mothers will tell you that it's a constant balancing act to gauge how much information with which to supply the child about future plans at any given time. If he knows too much about what is going to happen, he tends to become obsessed, asking endless questions, and if he knows too little, he doesn't have the ability to do the necessary mental preparation in order to be able to shift gears. The anxious child enters the clinic {often after a few minutes of coaxing, although he's been there many times before} and asks what will happen if the swings fall out of their hooks, if the zip line pulls out of the wall, whether the trampoline will get a hole in it while he is jumping on it.  He gets stuck in a loop and can't believe the grownups when they try to reassure him.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog


Worth Repeating: Tips to Help Develop Time Awareness for Individuals with ADHD

[Source:  Special-ism]

 

Getting a handle on time can be a tough challenge for someone with ADHD and other special needs. Even with medication, children and adults with ADHD have a difficulty sensing time in the standard way. This is part of our executive function portion of the brain that also regulates how we process incoming information and helps us prioritize what information to respond to in what order.

 

Linear and Non-Linear Thinkers
Individuals with ADHD tend to be non-linear thinkers. It is often seen and described as being able to see information in multiple perspectives at once. 


Also Worth Repeating: Teaching Phonemic Awareness to At-Risk Kindergartners: Where do we Start?

[Source:  Smart Speech Therapy, LLC; Speech Universe]

Working on phonemic and phonological awareness skills is an evidence-based practice.  "Preschool children who are at-risk for later developing reading disorders, including children with speech-sound disorders and children in poverty, need explicit instruction on phonological awareness skills, including segmenting, rhyme, and print awareness.

 

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

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