March 21, 2014
Issue 12, Volume 7
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Friday

Hope everyone in the schools has had or is about to have a great Spring Break!  Please enjoy our newsletter.
News Items:
  • No Relationship Between Contagious Yawning and Empathy
  • Levels of Key Brain Chemicals Predict Children's Reading Ability
  • Feel Good Story of the Week: Girl with Cerebral Palsy Learns to Walk with the Help of a Horse
  • Irish Researcher Makes Challenging Discovery About Autism and Dyslexia
  • Smartphone App Reduces Stress for Anxious People
  • Kids' Sleep, Ear Troubles May Point To Autism
  • On the Lighter Side: A Little OT Humor


PediaStaff News
  • Therapy Placement of the Week: Mental Health OT, North Carolina
  • PediaStaff Job of the Week: Itinerant Travel Pediatric PT - Juneau, Alaska!
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Body Parts (and 30 Other Kinds of) Picture Cards
  • App of the Week: Mad Libs
  • Spring Has Sprung: Mallard Duck Handprint Craft
  • Gross Motor Activity of the Week:  Buggy Imitation
  • Secret Message Speech

Articles and Special Features 

  • SLP Corner:  3 April Fool's Day Pranks SLPs Can Play on Their Students
  • OT/PT Corner:  Necklace Dive
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Contrary to Claims, Not All Media Is Bad For Kids Under 12
  • Worth Repeating: Mobile Devices as Cognitive Aids for People with Brain Injuries
  • Also Worth Repeating: Patience!
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 Blogtrottr and have our blog posts delivered right to your email.

Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Empathy Research in the News:  No Relationship Between Contagious Yawning and Empathy 

[Source:  Psych Central]


New research suggests that contagious yawning is not connected with empathy, a finding that refutes earlier hypotheses.


Investigators from the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation discovered contagious yawning may decrease with age and is not strongly related to variables like empathy, tiredness, and energy levels.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is the most comprehensive look at factors influencing contagious yawning to date.


The researchers said a better understanding of the biology involved in contagious yawning could ultimately shed light on illnesses such as schizophrenia or autism.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Reading Ability in the News:  Levels of Key Brain Chemicals Predict Children's Reading Ability 

[Source:  Medical Express]


(Medical Xpress)-Reading-impaired young children have higher levels of the metabolites glutamate and choline in their brains, and these higher levels continue to be indicative of difficulties in developing typical reading and language skills, a Yale study has found. The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Although anatomical and functional brain networks involved in reading disabilities have been well characterized, the underlying chemical bases of these differences in reading development have been poorly understood. This study is believed to be the first to examine neurochemistry in a longitudinal study of children during the critical period when they are considered "emergent readers"-the age at which neurocircuits that support skilled reading and speaking are still developing.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Feel Good Story of the Week: Girl with Cerebral Palsy Learns to Walk with the Help of a Horse

[Fox 12 Oregon]


Four-year-old Abigail Fantz giggles and her curls bounce as she stands straight up on a moving horse. She's held in place by a team of adults, but she's not practicing a circus trick - she is in a unique therapy called hippotherapy (hippo is Greek for horse.)


Abigail has cerebral palsy and can't walk without a walker, but standing, kneeling, and sitting on a pony named Pippin is strengthening her trunk and her left side. Eventually, she'll be able to sit up and stand up straight and eventually walk all on her own.


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

Autism & Dyslexia in the News:  Irish Researcher Makes Challenging Discovery About Autism and Dyslexia  

[Source:  The Irish Times]


An Irish researcher's studies of how we integrate the inputs from our senses could provide new insights into autism and dyslexia, writes Claire O'Connell.


When you listen to someone talking in a noisy room, you hear what they say. But you most likely look at them too - seeing their mouth move could be the difference between understanding them and not.

And when you type, you not only touch the keyboard, but you see and hear it as you tap out the letters.

Our brains integrate inputs from several senses to figure out the world around us, and Irish researcher Prof John Foxe has been making inroads into understanding how that happens.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Stress Treatments in the News:  Smartphone App Reduces Stress for Anxious People   

[Source:  Medical News Today]


New research published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science suggests playing a science-based app on a smartphone for 25 minutes can reduce levels of anxiety in people who are stressed.


The authors suggest turning scientifically supported interventions into game apps offers a new way to attain measurable mental health and behavioral benefits for people who have high levels of anxiety.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Possible Clues to Autism in the News:  Kids' Sleep, Ear Troubles May Point To Autism    

[Source:  Disability Scoop]


Frequent ear infections and waking up multiple times per night are among a growing list of potential early signs of autism, new research suggests.


Kids who were later diagnosed with the developmental disorder were more likely to have trouble sleeping at 9-months-old, according to findings published in the Journal of Early Intervention. Such children also had a greater number of ear infections than their typically-developing peers.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

On the Lighter Side:  A Little OT Humor 

[Source: PediaStaff]


This came to mind when I was taking out the recycling this morning.


See the Meme on our Blog

PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  Mental Health OT, North Carolina  

Congratulations to Aaron B., OTR/L on his new position as a Mental Health OT with PediaStaff's client in North Carolina.


Our client provides therapy services in clinic, community and in home and works with children that have been neglected and/or abused.     This setting is only for the "big of heart."


Aaron's new position is full-time and offers medical, paid leave, and other fabulous benefits.

Way to Go, Aaron.

Featured Job of the Week:  Itinerant Travel Pediatric Physical Therapist - Juneau, Alaska!  

If you are looking for a life changing experience as a Physical Therapist, then look no further. Imagine yourself traveling the state of AK servicing school aged children in small towns and bush environments, communicating with native tribal communities, and providing therapy to children who would otherwise go without. Our client seeks a Physical Therapist who could thrive in this type of environment. The weather is sometimes very harsh, but the people you meet will warm your heart and leave an impression on you like no one else can.  The Physical Therapist would work from her home, very independently.  You would maintain your own 


Learn About / Apply for This Job on our Blog

Therapist Resource of the Week:  'Body Parts' (and 30 other types of) Picture Cards  

[Source: and Special-ism]


Thank You to the folks at Special-ism for the link to this treasure trove of over 30 categories of picture cards and resources including these free Body Parts Flashcards.   There are four sets of picture cards covering 25 parts of the body.


Please also enjoy this great post on Special-ismpost with a variety of ways to use these flash cards for auditory, olfactory, proprioreceptive, oral-motor, tactlile, vestibular, and visual therapy


Learn More About this Activity on our Blog

App of the Week:  Mad Libs  

Remember Mad Libs?  They are still out there and are great for speech-language therapy. and are even better for laughter!  Thank You, @1sparklleslp on Instagram for the heads up that they are also available as a free app!


There are twenty-one free stories you can do up to three times.   There are in-app purchases to buy additional books of stories, but there is plenty to do before you would need to do that.   You can also always uninstall and reinstall the app and start over!


Learn More About this App on our Blog

OT/Sensory Activity of the Week:  Spring Has Sprung: Mallard Duck Handprint Craft  

[ via Pinterest]

I am thinking that this is the cutest handprint craft ever!


Please support the original artist and visit for the directions on how to do this craft!

She has some terrific crafts on her blog that you should definitely check out on her site... (most recently Cupcake Liner Bunnies) that are just adorable!!


See This Activity on our Blog

Gross Motor Activity of the Week:  Buggy Imitation  

[Source: The Inspired Treehouse]  
We love listening to kids playing with their dolls and action figures - the sound of pretend play is music to our ears!  We are going "buggy" today with an activity that lets kids use all of those pretend play skills to be bugs!  Some of our favorite games for kids are ones that combine motor skills with play - come pretend with us with this fun activity!


Learn More About this Activity on our Blog

Activity of the Week:  Secret Message Speech  

[Source:  The Speech Bubble]


Sometimes we need something different to spice our speech sessions.  So, when I saw this on Pinterest I had to try it in my speech room!


All you need is a white crayon, white paper, watercolors, and brushes.  I borrowed the watercolors and brushes from the fabulous art teacher at my school.


On the paper, I wrote down words that students would have to give a synonym or antonym for, or define. I also wrote down describing words that as the students uncovered, they had to identify what object was being described.


Read More About this Activity on our Blog

SLP Corner: 3 April Fool's Day Pranks SLPs Can Play on Their Students

by Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP


Pop quiz: What is the name of the silly and mischievous holiday that is celebrated each year on April 1st? If you guessed April Fool's Day, give yourself a round of applause because you nailed it. Great job!


I can still remember how fun April Fool's Day was back when I was a child. My elementary school teachers would always pull hilarious pranks on us students. These pranks were not malicious at all, far from it. They were tasteful and had the ability to make each and every youngster in the class laugh out loud. Ah, thinking about those wonderful April Fool's Day memories seriously causes me to smile ear to ear.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

OT/PT Corner: Necklace Dive

Editor's Note:  We came upon this blog post on Pinterest.  Miss Mancy calls this a 'Mardi Gras Necklace Dive"  but it could be great for any time of year!   We are very excited to have found "Miss Mancy's Blog and look forward to reading more from her!!

by Nancy Amar, OTR/L


Many of the children that OTs work with have weak core muscles. This includes abdominal muscles and back muscles. It is very important to work on core first as it is the center of ones body. A strong core means stability and we always strive for stability before mobility. In other words, before working on movement such as coordination, balance etc..., we must make sure that we work on building a stable/solid core so that the child doesn't compensate during movements but instead completes activities with proper form.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Contrary to Claims, Not All Media Is Bad For Kids Under 12

Editor's Note:  This article is a rebuttal to the article we shared last week in our Worth Repeating column, entitled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12. Another excellent rebuttal can be found here:  10 Reasons Why We Need Research Literacy, Not Scare Columns


PediaStaff wishes to thank Barbara Chamberlin, PhD, and Professor at New Mexico State University,  for reaching out to us to suggest that we remove the article from residence on our site and for providing these excellent rebuttal articles that demonstrate the folly of the article's author's research.   In her words: 

Worth Repeating: Mobile Devices as Cognitive Aids for People with Brain Injuries

Thanks to the OT Tools in Public Schools Blog for recommending this article.


by Fiona Bessey-Bushnell


In my last article, I wrote about a local teen that experienced brain injury.  March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and this time around I will share some strategies using mobile technologies to support those with brain injuries.


Just as every person is unique, the symptoms of brain injury may vary from one person to the next.  Common cognitive challenges, however, include memory and attention issues, difficulty with step-by-step tasks, wayfinding and stress management.  


Tony Gentry, PhD, OTR/L has treated clients with brain injuries for over 20 years and now directs VCU's Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory, where he has conducted a series of studies on the use of mobile devices as cognitive aids.

Also Worth Repeating: Patience!

[Source: EduTopia]

Marshmallows can predict your future


In the 1960s, there was an experiment with marshmallows. Children at the nursery school on Stanford's campus were placed at a table and had the option of having one marshmallow now - or getting two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes while the researcher left the room. Children used many tactics to distract themselves while waiting, like kicking the floor, pulling their braids, and covering their eyes. Only about 30 percent of the children could hold out long enough to get the reward. But more importantly, it was found that those who could resist the marshmallows as preschoolers performed better in school later in life. Researchers found that self-regulation was a better predictor to success than IQ.


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

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