weekly header

May 11, 2012
Issue 15, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Happy Friday!  Hope everyone is well and gearing up for summertime!  I sure am.  

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Christie Kiley, OTR/L a new (and hopefully regular) guest columnist for us, who today shares her idea of using playdough in the introduction of scissors.   Welcome, Christie! 

Please enjoy our weekly newsletter offering:
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources

Articles and Special Features 

  • SLP Corner: Using TxTools as a Language Activity 
  • Occupational Therapy Corner: One Tip For Introducing Scissors: Use Playdough!    
  • Mom's Corner: Autism and Bilingualism: Our Family's Journey
  • Worth Repeating: It's Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month: 2012 Infant and
    Pediatric Stroke Fact Sheet
  • Video Worth Repeating: Shaving and Autism             
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Pediatric Brain Injury in the News:  What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? Is Football the Poster Child?

[Source:  The Virgina Pilot]


Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) sounds like a mouthful of medicine but, it may just be the "devil" inside anyone having one head injury too many. Junior Seau's suicide now has every mother and father whose child plays football rethinking their choice of sports.


CTE has been linked to the deaths of too many football athletes in the past and (unfortunately) is back in the limelight it doesn't deserve. Perhaps it took a suicide and a final last plea from its latest victim to underscore the seriousness of this injury. With Boston University winning the chance to examine Seau's brain, society might finally be able to get a glimpse inside what had tormented this man for so long.


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Autism in the News: Schoolyard Designed for Children With Autism

[Source: Science Daily]


A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism.


Chelsey King, master's student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included.


 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog
Physical Fitness in the News: Mandatory Physical Education Linked to Student Fitness

[Source: Education Week]


Does physical education really make a difference in student health? Apparently so.  

Students are more likely to be physically fit when the school requires mandatory physical education, reports a new study in this month's issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.  

The study, headed by Emma V. Sanchez-Vaznaugh, examined district-level compliance in California with physical education policies for 5th grade students. California law requires physical education for students in grades 1 through 6, with a total of 200 minutes of physical activity every 10 days, reports Health Behavior News Service.


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
In Memoriam: Rest in Peace, Maurice Sendak, Master of Childhood Imagination and Independence
I was deeply saddened today to hear of the passing of Maurice Sendak who was my all time favorite children's author.   I even wrote a paper on his work in college for an American Studies Literature class in college.

Sendak was the master of "allowing kids to imagine" and explore their own psyches, and independence, his work was a refreshing departure from other uptight children's books of his era.   His art was honest and graphic.  When I read his books, I learned that it was "OK to get mad sometimes, and express my


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Orthopedics in the News: Swaddling Infants Too Tightly May Cause Hip Problems
Thanks to our friends at Preemie World for calling this article to our attention

[Source:  Medline Plus]

When swaddling an infant, make sure to leave the blankets loose enough to allow leg and hip movement, experts say.


They warn that wrapping infants too tightly may cause their hip joints to develop abnormally, causing the ball of the thighbone to dislocate from the socket. The condition, called developmental dysplasia of the hip, can lead to limping, differences in limb length, pain and arthritis, according to the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America.


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Neurology in the News: Babies' Brains Benefit from Music Lessons, Even Before They Can Walk and Talk

[Source:  Science Daily]


After completing the first study of its kind, researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk.


They found that one-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.


The findings were published recently in the scientific journals Developmental Science and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: Interactive Baby Brain Map on Zero to Three
This is so very cool!  Thanks to Deb Discenza of Preemie World for letting us know about it!!

The Brain Map was adapted in 2006 by ZERO TO THREE from BrainWonders, a collaborative project (1998-2001) between Boston University School of Medicine, Erikson Institute and ZERO TO THREE.


To get started, select an age range from the pull-down menu and click on it. Depending on the age range, different hotspots on the brain will appear. Click on a hotspot to reveal questions to find out how a baby's brain develops during this period of brain growth. You'll also learn what you can do to enrich a very young child's development.

 Check out this Site Through a Link on our Blog
OT Activity of the Week: Spray Shapes and Patterns
Thanks to our friends at Your Therapy Source for this great activity - Spray Shapes and Patterns

Here is an old favorite therapeutic activity - spray shapes and patterns.  Cut up some fun foam into different shapes or use any foam shapes.  Using a spray bottle, squirt some water on a white board or mirror.  The fun foam will stick to the surface.


You could trace the shapes on a dry area of the board.  Once the shapes are damp the child can match them up to the outlines.

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Pinterest Pin of the Week : 25 Alphabet Activities for Kids
Wow, this must be some kind of record.   I pinned '25 Alphabet Activities for Kids' less than 24 hours ago and we have 378 repins already.     Not surprising.  No Time for Flashcards is one of the best education/child development blogs out there.    If you aren't following their blog you really should!

Access This Pin of Alphabet Ideas Through our Blog
App Review of the Week: The Bag Game 

by Sean Sweeney


Bag Game is an interactive app for iPad and other iDevices (iPhone, iPod) that brings the game of "20 Questions" to the iPad format.  


Using Bag Game (the folks at all4mychild emphasize that it is a social game that can't be played alone) children can choose an object from various categories, hide it "in a bag" and engage in a clue-giving/guessing process with another child or you as the therapist. Question prompts are provided (e.g. "Is it in the ___ group?") that also function as a question/clue tally and gear the game toward the use of Yes/No questions. However, this activity can easily be modified to target  


 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog 

Did You Know?: That PediaStaff Has a Twitter Feed Just for Jobs?
If you have been reading this blog for any time, you know that we try hard at PediaStaff to deliver information to you via many different channels.    With this in mind, we have just added a new Twitter feed just for the great jobs that are available through PediaStaff.

Read the Rest of this Post and Access the Twitter Jobs Feed From a Link on our Blog

SLP Corner: Using TxTools as a Language Activity

Editor's Note:  When I asked Kim at the Activity Tailor blog to take a look at our new app, TxTools, I figured she would make some suggestions about new features we could add, and hopefully say a few kind words about the app as it exists today.   I had no idea she would come up with fun ways to actually use the app as a speech and language therapy activity!!     Please check out Activity Tailor regularly for more creative ideas!!! 


by Kim Lewis 


Have you had a chance to check out Tx Tools?  This free app from PediaStaff bundles together four simple "calculator" type tools that you can use in your daily treatment/evaluation sessions.  While this is very handy, they can also be adapted for therapy use within your treatment sessions.  Here's how I would do it:

 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Occupational Therapy Corner: One Tip For Introducing Scissors: Use Playdough!   

Editor's Note:  PediaStaff extends a warm welcome to Christie Kiley, MA, OTR/L, "Mama OT" as our most recent guest columnist!   Great to have you, Christie!   Christie's first article for us is one that she has modified for our clinical readership.   Her original post on this subject was primarily geared for parents and caregivers, and appeared on her blog.


by: Christie Kiley, MA, OTR/L  

Have you ever tried to teach little ones how to use scissors? It's really hard! They have to figure out how to orient their hand, divide up their fingers, open and close the crazy things, and hold the material they are supposed to cut. Talk about a challenge for fine motor skills and bilateral coordination!  

Beginner scissor skills typically involve learning how to perform one short snip at a time (around 2 years old) and how to make several short snips in a row along a line (around 2 1/2 to 3 years \


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Mom's Corner: Autism and Bilingualism: Our Family's Journey

by Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz


We moved to the United States 4 years ago, just as my daughter was about to turn 3. At that time she spoke only a few words in Spanish.  We put her in a regular, monolingual, preschool and she added some English words to her limited vocabulary.  We didn't know why she wasn't speaking but both my husband and I where bilingual and we both knew we wanted our children to be bilingual and ideally multilingual.  When she was diagnosed with autism a few months later and the pediatrician suggested we should only speak to her in English we ignored his recommendations completely and that was the best decision we have ever made about my daughter's education. 

 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - It's Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month: 2012 Infant and Pediatric Stroke Fact Sheet
[Source: CHASA]

What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted to any part of the brain, resulting in tissue injury and loss of brain function.


How often does childhood stroke occur?
Strokes can and do occur prior to birth, although it is unclear how often this happens. Strokes occur at the highest rate in infants who are younger than 1 month old - about 1 in 2800 live births. For children 1 to 18 years old, strokes occur in 11 out of 100,000 children. Strokes are fatal in 20 to 40 percent of children. Boys are at higher risk than girls to have a stroke in childhood, and African American children are at higher risk  


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Video Worth Repeating - Shaving and Autism
Thanks to Your Therapy Source  for letting us know about this excellent video that that really helps to explain how sensory techniques can help some individuals to learn activities of daily living.  It also helps to demonstrate that certain skills can take a long time to learn but the goal is achievable.


 Watch this Video Through a Link on our Blog
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