December 13, 2013
Issue 43, Volume 6
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Holidays!   

Please take a break from this busy season to enjoy our weekly newsletter offering!
News Items:
  • MIT Researchers Say They Have Created The Trickiest Tongue Twister To Date
  • Brain Shape Affects Children's Learning Capacities
  • Technology in the News: Dad Makes Prosthetic Hand for Son with 3-D Printer
  • More Men Speaking in Girls' 'Dialect', Study Shows
  • You Are What Your Father Eats: Father's Diet Before Conception Plays Crucial Role in Offspring's Health, Study Suggests
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Malls Now Offer 'Quiet' Santa Visits For Kids With Autism
PediaStaff News
  • Friends of PediaStaff in the News: New Version of The Social Express Announced
  • Featured Job of the Week: Contract School SLP - Spartanburg, SC
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • And Speaking of Tongue Twisters, Try These Fun Activities in the Speech Room
  • Getting Crafty for Christmas in Speech
  • OT Activity of the Week: 'Crack the Code' Printable Visual Perception Game
  • Instagram Post of the Week: Penguin Water Bottle Craft

Articles and Special Features 

  • SLP Corner: Googly Eyes and Speech Therapy are a Match Made in Heaven
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Autism and Savant Syndrome
  • Autism Corner: Social Dough
  • Worth Repeating: Why Chaucer Said 'Ax' Instead Of 'Ask,' And Why Some Still Do
  • Also Worth Repeating: All I Want for Christmas is My G-Tube Out
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Linguistics in the News: MIT Researchers Say They Have Created The Trickiest Tongue Twister To Date

[Source:  Boston Magazine]


The old saying "Sally sold seashells by the seashore" has nothing on a tongue twister created by researchers at MIT. The verbal puzzle, "pad kid poured curd pulled cod," tripped up test subjects who tried to spit out so much, that psychologists believe it could be the toughest one there is to date.

"If anyone can say this [phrase] ten times quickly, they get a prize," said Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, a psychologist from MIT who specializes in speech errors as a way of understanding normal brain 


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

Neurobiology in the News:  Brain Shape Affects Children's Learning Capacities 

[Source:  Science Daily]


The anatomy of the brain affects cognitive control, an essential skill for learning and academic success. This is the result of studies performed by the Laboratoire de Psychologie du D�veloppement et de l'Education de l'Enfant (CNRS/Universit� Paris Descartes/Universit� de Caen Basse-Normandie), in collaboration with the NeuroSpin Center (CEA).


The scientists showed that an asymmetry of the two brain hemispheres relative to a particular pattern of a cortical region could partly explain the performance of 5-year old children during a task designed to 


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Technology in the News:  Dad Makes Prosthetic Hand for Son with 3-D Printer 

[Source:  CBS via]

Two years ago, Paul McCarthy began searching for an inexpensive yet functional prosthetic hand for his son Leon, who was born without fingers on one of his hands. McCarthy came across a video online with detailed instruction on how to use a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand for his son. Michelle Miller reports.


Read/Watch the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Dialects in the News:  More Men Speaking in Girls' 'Dialect', Study Shows  

[Source: BBC]


This process is known as "uptalk" or "valleygirl speak" and has in the past been associated with young females, typically from California or Australia.


But now a team says that this way of speaking is becoming more frequent among men.


The findings were presented at the Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in California.


"We found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender," said Amanda Ritchart, a linguist at the University of


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Health Before Conception in the News:  You Are What Your Father Eats: Father's Diet Before Conception Plays Crucial Role in Offspring's Health, Study Suggests   

[Source:  Science Daily]


Mothers get all the attention. But a study led by McGill researcher Sarah Kimmins suggests that the father's diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of their offspring. It also raises concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets and of food insecurity.   

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Feel Good Story of the Week:  Malls Now Offer 'Quiet' Santa Visits For Kids With Autism    

[Source:  Huffington Post]


Meeting Santa Claus at a shopping mall can be horribly hectic. There are large crowds, long lines, and holiday music blaring from speakers. It's a recipe for madness - and for children with autism, it's especially unbearable.


So, malls across Canada are now offering special 'quiet' Santa visits for kids with autism, CTV News reports. A few malls in the U.S. are also offering similar programs, according to 13News Now.


The special visits occur before opening time, according to CTV. In Canada, nine malls offer the program - eight more than last year.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Friends of PediaStaff in the News:  New Version of Social Express Just Announced  

Our good friends at The Social Express have  just announced the latest version of their award-winning, highly reviewed program.   We were excited to meet Marc Zimmerman, CEO and Founder of The Social Express, at this year's ASHA Conference.  Marc demonstrated the web-based version of the program, which now includes a full curriculum including the amazing interactive animated Webisodes, Quizzes, Off-line Printables, Progress Reporting and even a social network called The Clubhouse.  Marc also informed us that The Social Express is being used in many schools across the country, including the Los Angeles Unified School District. 


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog 

PediaStaff Featured Job of the Week:  Contract School Speech-Language Pathologist - Spartanburg, SC  

Our client, a school district in South Carolina.  We are seeking an experienced, committed Speech Language Pathologist to be an incredible part of this team.  This is a contract position starts March 2014 - May 2014 with the option for a 2nd year.  Apply for details!


Learn About / Apply for This Job on our Blog

SLP Activity of the Week:  And Speaking of Tongue Twisters... 

Earlier today, our blog linked to research that MIT believes they have created the trickiest tongue twister to date.  Personally, I don't think its nearly as hard as my all time favorite (the deceptively short, but tricky), "Irish Wristwatches," but hey, what do I know.  


Tongue Twisters are also a great speech language therapy tool!   Here are a few resources so you can incorporate these silly phrases and sentences in the classroom and clinic!


Read the Rest of this Post on our Blog

Interdisciplinary Activity of the Week:  Getting Crafty for Christmas in Speech (and for OT too!)  

by Meredith Avren

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the speech room! I am feeling festive and crafty and have been incorporating as many art projects into my lesson plans as possible.


Here are a few of my favorites:  

Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes


I bought Katie the Candy Cane Fairy at the Scholastic Book Fair last month because I loved the illustrations. I have been reading this book to my students and having them make these simple candy cane ornaments to take home.


Read the Rest of this Blog Post with More Activities on our Blog

OT Activity of the Week:  'Crack the Code' Printable Visual Perception Game  

[Source:  Your Therapy Source] 
'Here is a free printable game to encourage visual perceptual skills, handwriting and fine motor skills.  You can choose to practice coloring, shapes or handwriting letters/numbers.  This is easy game to print and toss in your bag for a last minute idea (or play while waiting at a restaurant, doctor's office, etc). 

Download this Free Activity from a Link on our Blog

Instagram Post of the Week:  Penguin Water Bottle Craft  

Hugely popular with our Instagram followers.   How adorable is this? Fine motor grasping, cutting and gluing. For speech, every successful production gets a cotton ball!! Seen on Pinterest.  Pinned on our Winter board on Pinterest.  Original post is gone but it was curated by pinner from the Seeds for Learning blog.


See This Adorable Craftivity on our Blog

SLP Corner: Googly Eyes and Speech Therapy are a Match Made in Heaven

by Erk X. Raj  MS CCC-SLP

In an attempt to get a bit more organized, I decided it was time for me to rearrange, reorganize, and essentially clean out my speech therapy filing cabinet. As I was going through the gigantic, paper filled metal container, I came across a medium-size, sealed envelope. One that I had never seen before. There was something about that mysterious envelope; I could almost hear it call out to me in a magical voice, "Open me, Mr. Raj. Do it!"

Well, I did as I was told (because who wouldn't listen to a coaxing envelope?! Haha!) and to my surprise, it was filled to the brim with little googly eyes! Hundreds and hundreds of googly 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Autism and Savant Syndrome

by Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD, CCBT, NCSP


What are "savant skills?"

There is a long history of reports of individuals who despite having severe intellectual impairments, demonstrate remarkable skills in a particular area. The term "savant" has been variously defined as those individuals who show (a) normatively superior performance in an area and (b) a discrepancy between their performance in that area and their general level of functioning. Some researchers have differentiated "prodigious" savants (e.g., individuals possessing an exceptional ability in relation to both their overall level of functioning and the general population) from "talented" savants (e.g., individuals showing an outstanding skill in comparison with their overall level of functioning). Savant skills have been reported much more frequently in males than in females and have been identified in a wide range of neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders. The most  


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Autism Corner: Social Dough

by Cindy Meester, MS CCC-SLP


"E" is a first grader in one of our Autism classrooms. She has a lot of great skills but of course social peer relationships can be difficult. I paired her with "J" from her mainstream classroom. It has led to many interesting sessions. I want to share the one from today. This was a spur of the moment idea that worked ..... today.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Why Chaucer Said 'Ax' Instead Of 'Ask,' And Why Some Still Do

[Source:  The Code Switch Blog on]

The most common stereotype of black vernacular is the pronunciation of the word "ask" as "ax." "Ax" has gotten a bad rap for years. Pronounce "ask" as "ax," and immediately many will assume that you're poor, black and uneducated. New York City's first African-American schools chancellor, Dr. Richard R. Green, put it on his list of "speech demons." He insisted that "ax" be eradicated from students' vocabulary.


Garrard McClendon, a professor at Chicago State University, is the author of Ax or Ask? The African American Guide to Better English. He says his parents were well-aware of the stigma attached to "ax" and taught him there's a time and a place to use it


Also Worth Repeating: All I Want for Christmas is My G-Tube Out

by Melanie Potock, CCC-SLP


A Parent's Expectations and an SLP's Goals

As a pediatric SLP who focuses on feeding, I guide families through the process of transitioning from g-tube feedings to 100% oral feeds and ultimately, removal of the g-tube.  This year, I had the unique experience of learning more about the emotional process through the eyes of one mom who happened to be an SLP, too.  In the course of nine months of feeding therapy,  her daughter Payton has taught us both that goals and expectations aren't always met on the SLP's or parent's timeline and that most importantly, the child sets the pace.  Payton's mom graciously shared her thoughts on the process:


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

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