February, 2013
Monthly Edition
Issue 2, Volume 6
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Friday

Please enjoy our monthly edition of the newsletter with our compliments.
News Items:
  • Roots of Language in Human and Bird Biology: Genes Activated for Human Speech Similar to Ones Used by Singing Songbirds  
  • 3-Year-Olds Will Override Adults' Instructions If They 'Know Better' 
  • Music Lessons Before Age Seven Create Stronger Connections In The Brain
  • Behavioral Therapy for Children With Autism Can Impact Brain Function
  • SLP Certification in the News: New 2014 Standards - FAQs
  • 'Simplified' Brain Lets the iCub Robot Learn Language
  • Brain Development Could Suffer as Cursive Writing Fades
  • Shedding New Light On Infant Brain Development
  • Language Protein Differs in Males, Females  

Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • OT/PT Activity of the Week: 'Peter Pan' Scavenger Hunt
  • App of the Week: Sentence Maker
  • On the Lighter Side:  Inside the Toddler Brain 
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  St. Patrick's Day Activities and Treats 

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT Corner: Anxiety and Autism - They Don't Have to go Hand in Hand
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  7 Questions To Ask Kids To Encourage Empathy  
  • SLP Corner: With a Bit of Grace 
  • Worth Repeating: 10 Biggest Myths About Autism From Moms Who Know
  • Also Worth Repeating: Why Introverts Shouldn't be Forced to Talk in Class
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Language in the News:  Roots of Language in Human and Bird Biology: Genes Activated for Human Speech Similar to Ones Used by Singing Songbirds

[Source:  Science Daily]]

The genes activated for human speech are similar to the ones used by singing songbirds, new experiments suggest.


These results, which are not yet published, show that gene products produced for speech in the cortical and basal ganglia regions of the human brain correspond to similar molecules in the vocal communication areas of the brains of zebra finches and budgerigars. But these molecules aren't found in the brains of doves and quails - vocal birds that do not learn their sounds.


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

Developmental Psychology in the News: 3-Year-Olds Will Override Adults' Instructions If They 'Know Better'

[Source:  Medical News Today]


Even very young children understand that adults don't always know best. When it comes to helping, 3-year-olds may ignore an adult's specific request for an unhelpful item and go out of their way to bring something more useful, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.


Youngsters may also attempt to warn adults who are doing something counterproductive, such as reaching for an empty box of crayons to draw a picture or putting on a wet sweatshirt when they say they are cold, according to the article published online in the APA journal Developmental Psychology.


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

Developmental Neurobiology in the News:  Music Lessons Before Age Seven Create Stronger Connections In The Brain   

[Source:  Medical News Today]


If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded - or loved - helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.


A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions - the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Behavioral Therapy for Autism in the News:  Behavioral Therapy for Children With Autism Can Impact Brain Function  

[Source:  Science Daily]

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for before-and-after analysis, a team of researchers including a UC Santa Barbara graduate student discovered positive changes in brain activity in children with autism who received a particular type of behavioral therapy.  


Work completed at Yale University's Child Study Center used fMRI as the tool for measuring the impact of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) - therapy pioneered at UCSB by Lynn Koegel, clinical director of the Koegel Autism Center - on both lower- and higher-functioning children with autism receiving PRT for  


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

SLP Certification in the News:  New 2014 Standards - FAQs   

[Source:  ASHA]


When do the 2014 SLP Certification Standards go into effect?

The 2014 SLP Certification Standards are effective beginning September 1, 2014.


When will the 2005 SLP Certification Standards expire?

The 2005 SLP Certification Standards will expire August 31, 2014.


I will be graduating in May 2014. Which certification standards should I apply under?

Beginning September 1, 2013, you may apply under either the 2005 or 2014 Certification Standards as long as you submit your application for certification by August 31, 2014.

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Language Research in the News:  'Simplified' Brain Lets the iCub Robot Learn Language     

[Source:  Science Daily]


The iCub humanoid robot on which the team directed by Peter Ford Dominey, CNRS Director of Research at Inserm Unit 846* has been working for many years will now be able to understand what is being said to it and even anticipate the end of a sentence. This technological prowess was made possible by the development of a "simplified artificial brain" that reproduces certain types of so-called "recurrent" connections observed in the human brain. The artificial brain system enables the robot to


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Handwriting in the News:  Brain Development Could Suffer as Cursive Writing Fades   

[Source:  KSTP / ABC News ]


Thanks to my trusty news source, Loren Shlaes  of the Pediatric OT blog for calling our attention to this story


The signature and cursive handwriting are in danger of fading away. In Minnesota, schools are no longer required to teach cursive. But it's not just the signature that's taking a hit, the way students learn and how their brains develop could suffer. 


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Brain Development in the News:  Shedding New Light On Infant Brain Development    

[Source:  Science Daily]

A new study by Columbia Engineering researchers finds that the infant brain does not control its blood flow in the same way as the adult brain. The paper, which the scientists say could change the way researchers study brain development in infants and children, is published in the February 18 Early Online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Language Development in the News:  Language Protein Differs in Males, Females     

Thanks to Apraxia Kids for calling our attention to this abstract!

[Source:  Alpha Galileo Foundation]

Findings could lead to greater understanding of sex differences in language acquisition


Male rat pups have more of a specific brain protein associated with language development than females, according to a study published February 20 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The study also found sex differences in the brain protein in a small group of children. The findings may shed light on sex differences in communication in animals and language acquisition in people.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

OT/PT Activity of the Week: 'Peter Pan' Scavenger Hunt   

Thank You to Stacy Menz of Starfish Therapies for this great idea!

Okay, so the title may be confusing but this is what our therapist and her kiddo called it.  I loved the idea.  They took these awesome carpet squares that we had found at ScrapSF and spread them out across the carpet and mat.  They then had some clothes pins on one side of the room and a cut out shape in the middle of the crash pad.  The child had to start on the side with the clothespins and pick up one and then hop from carpet square to carpet square


Read About the Rest of this Activity on our Blog

App of the Week: Sentence Maker    

[Source:  Teachers With Apps]

Sentence Maker, by Grasshopper Apps, is just terrific! Somehow, Sentence Maker fell through the cracks and we didn't review it when we first started using it. This simple, yet sensational, app is powerful. We've had students working with  Sentence Maker for some time and have seen marked improvement in their skills. One of the first things we noticed and liked was how easy this app is to navigate and customize. The developers have included all the essentials. The left to right directionality mode is perfect for reading readiness purposes and it is great to have a choice of upper or lower case

Read More About this App Through a Link on our Blog

On the Lighter Side: Inside the Toddler Brain     

Thanks to our friends at Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) for sharing this priceless drawing!

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: St. Patrick's Day Therapy Activities and Treats      

Are you excited for St. Patrick's Day?   Its such a fun holiday to celebrate in the therapy room!  Come on by our Pinterest St. Patrick's Day board (now in year two!) and check out the almost 300 Activities, Resources and Treats you can make for the kiddos!   Follow the board too, as it will grow quite a bit over the next couple of weeks.

OT Corner: Anxiety and Autism - They Don't Have to go Hand in Hand   

by Bek Wiltbank, OTR/L

If you work with people who have Autism, it's likely that you understand the
anxiety involved with this neurodevelopmental difference. I've never met a child
on the spectrum who didn't experience some interruption in daily function due to
anxiety and stress. The interesting fact is that when you compare a lit of anxiety
symptoms to a list of common features of Autism, the lists look nearly the same. Anxiety

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: 7 Questions To Ask Kids To Encourage Empathy

[Source:  To the Max]

These smart ideas for encouraging children to be more empathetic are from Start Empathy, a new education initiative created by the nonprofit Ashoka. The goal is to get kids and adults thinking about the topic-key for raising kids who understand others' feelings and perspectives, and key for raising kids who care. These seven questions will help get even the most me-centric kid (and what kid isn't?!) thinking about other people.


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

SLP Corner: With a Bit of Grace

by:  Kim Lewis 

When I was in grad school, our campus clinic saw a high percentage of fluency clients.  One of the clinical supervisors was passionate about this area of our field and, as a result, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients ranging in age from preschool to college to a sweet elderly woman who, I realize now, was there more to train us then for any help she really needed.

We practiced guided relaxation, easy onsets, pullouts, cancellation, DAF-all the techniques we'd  

Worth Repeating: 10 Biggest Myths About Autism From Moms Who Know

[Source:  Huffington Post]

By Melanie Feller, M.A., CCC-SLP


Written by Jeanne Sager for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

By now you've probably seen the numbers. One in every 88 kids today is being diagnosed with autism. There are kids with autism on TV shows, kids with autism in the news, kids with autism in your kid's classroom. It's safe to say Americans know that autism exists.

But that doesn't mean they know the first thing about the spectrum disorder. This is the next hurdle for parents of kids on the autism spectrum: breaking down the myths that follow their kids everywhere they go. Think you know better? Test your knowledge with these autism myths:


Also Worth Repeating: Why Introverts Shouldn't be Forced to Talk in Class

[Source: Washington Post]


By Katherine Schultz


Jessica Lahey, a high school teacher and writer, argues in the Atlantic magazine that introverts should be required to speak in class. She claims that classroom participation grades are not only fair but are necessary. Drawing on recent work on introverts (e.g., Susan Cain's popular new book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"), she suggests that in order to be successful in today's world, it is imperative that introverted students be taught and coerced through grades and expectations to participate in class.


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

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