weekly header

February 10, 2012
Issue 5, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

We got some great responses on our "pins for discussion" on Pinterest.  For those of you not on this tool yet, we have published two blog posts this week that are reprinted here so you can also see the ideas they came up with.  I am enjoying seeing all the creativity.   I have two more pins for you this week.

Welcome Jen Dermody of Jen's OT for Kids blog who is joining us with her fun sensory idea this week, 'Ice Cube Painting.'   Also a warm welcome to SLP Ruth Morgan, of Chapel Hill Snippets, who actually contributed two items for us. 

We didn't have room to feature any holiday themed therapy ideas this week.   We have been hard at work putting ideas into both our Valentines Day Activities Board and our Presidents' Day Board on Pinterest.  So check those out. 

Enjoy and have a great weekend. 
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
Discussion Group Topics 
  • Pinterest SLP, OT and PT Discussion Round-Up: Colored Ping Pong Balls for Therapy 
  • New Pinterest Pin for SLPeeps Discussion - 'Speechify' This Log Cabin Word Sort 
  • New Pin for Discussion OT/PT: Masking Tape Maze  

Articles and Special Features 

  • SLP Corner: Danger of Becoming Desensitized on the Job
  • OT Corner: Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Imagine...What is it Like to be the Parent of a Child with Selective Mutism
  • Meet PediaStaff:  Christine Rogers - Recruiter Assistant 
  • Worth Repeating: The Upside of Dyslexia 
  • Also Worth Repeating: Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Scoliosis in Rett Syndrome            
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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:  Tummy Troubles: Studying the Relationship Between Autism and Gastrointestinal Disorders

[Source:  Autism Speaks Official Blog]


Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have co-occurring medical conditions that affect their quality of life and response to therapy. One of the most common of these medical conditions is gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Our research directly examines the relationship between the two and creates a foundation for understanding the biology and behaviors unique to children affected by both disorders. It is described, in detail, in our recent report in the journal Autism Research.


Our multi-disciplinary research group included neuroscientists, a clinical psychologist, a pediatrician and a pediatric gastroenterologist. We enrolled 121 children through Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, primarily through Vanderbilt's autism clinic, which is part of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment

Pediatric Stroke in the News:  Sickle Cell Prevention Key to Childhood Stroke Reduction

[Source:  dailyRx.com]


In the late 1990s there was a striking disparity among the number of black children who died of stroke as compared to white children. Black children were 74 percent more likely to die of a stroke, because of the higher prevalence of sickle cell anemia in that population.


Adding preventative strategies including ultrasound screening and chronic blood transfusions have since significantly closed that gap, a new study has found. Between 1999 and 2007, the excess risk dropped by two thirds.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism the News: 3-D Technology Helps Children with Autism Learn to Read
[Source:  Orlando Sentinel]

A menagerie of virtual 3-D animals that swim, eat bugs and fly are building crucial reading skills in children with autism at Audobon Park Elementary in Orlando.

Four-year-old Christopher G�mez lined up a set of specialized word and animal cards, including one with the letter 'I' and a picture of an iguana under a camera to compose the sentence, "The iguana can eat."

Christopher shifted his eyes toward a projection screen, smiled and said, "I like the iguana!" as the reptile appeared to pop off the card and onto the screen to eat an insect. A woman's voice simultaneously spoke the sentence displayed above the screen.

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
On the Lighter Side : Perhaps it Should be Retitled 'Why Kids Don't Like Fine Motor Activities.

I want to thank my new friend Ruth Morgan, MS CCC-SLP of the Chapel Hill Snippets blog for sharing this bit of levity on with all of us.


According to Ruth's write-up, this video short, called 'What's Wrong With This Picture' won all kinds of awards in 2003, but is just now going viral.


Ruth shared it with her OT friends who really cut up laughing.   I love what Ruth says: "I think this movie explains why some kids really don't like fine motor activities!"


 Watch this Video on our Blog
Autism in the News: Children With Autism Have Lower Levels of HDL

[Source:  Science Daily]


Mystery surrounds autism. Its theories of causes and treatments are as unique and diverse as the people who have it. The same holds true for its symptoms. Scientists and physicians are uncovering more about this disorder every day; many of those studies and findings concentrate on diet.

Dr. Yasmin Neggers, a professor of human nutrition and hospitality management in The University of Alabama College of Human Environmental Sciences whose main research focus is nutrition during pregnancy, was inspired by a visiting colleague to learn more about this disorder that affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handwriting in the News:  Connecting the Dots Between Handwriting and High Scores

[Source: CNN]


Penmanship. To grown-ups, the word conjures up memories of coarse sheets of paper with solid and dotted lines - and a pencil so big that you had to practically balance it on your shoulder to practice writing your letters.  

For some of today's elementary school kids, there won't be any memories of penmanship class.  With classroom time at a premium and the common use of the keyboard, some school districts are abandoning handwriting as part of the curriculum.

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feel Good Story of the Week: Here is Some Inspiration for Your Kiddos Living with Paraplegia!

Special Thanks to our friends over at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation for bringing this story to our attention.   We caught it on their great blog, The Daily Dose today.


A couple of years ago, we blogged about a young man who did a double back flip on his wheelchair on a skateboard ramp.    Now meet Josh Dueck who is the first skier living with paraplegia to complete a backflip on the slopes!

 Watch Josh do a Backflip on the Ski Slopes on our Blog
Therapy Idea of the Week: Winter Fun = Ice Cube Painting
PediaStaff would like to give a warm welcome to Jennifer Dermody of Jen's OT for Kids.   Jennifer will be joining us as a guest contributor here.  Welcome, Jen!  Here is an idea Jen did with her kiddos this week that looks like a whole lot of fun!

It was "Winter Week" in preschool this week with all sorts of super-duper winter activities!  There was the "ice skating rink", pretend snow in the sensory table, snowman games, "Break

Check out This Great Idea on our Blog
App Review : Letter School 
Reviewed by: Beth Lloyd

I discovered this app from YourTherapySource and I was never so happy.  I have tried a number of letter formation apps and found some good ones, but none of them matched our handwriting curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears.  I have been waiting for them to come out with their own app and am still waiting.  LetterSchool fits the bill, however.  It gives your a choice of fonts: D'Nealian, HWT and Zaner Bloser.  How is that for choices?  That in itself makes me happy, but there is more.  This is a great app for sensory seekers.  It comes with high quality sounds, graphics and animations.  The design is motivating and engaging.

Read the Rest of this App Review on our Blog

Pinterest Pin of the Week:A Whole Pinboard of Photos to Use When Teaching Inference 

I was excited to find this entire pinboard of photos to use for teachers and therapists working on inference on Rachel Lynette's Pinterest board.


I couldn't pin it 'as is' though because because pinboards don't have their own pin-able image.  So I did my little known Pinterest secret on it, and voila!  24 hours later we had 225 repins! 


I think that qualifies for Pin of the Week status!

Take a Look at this Board Through a Link on our Blog

Pinterest Discussion Group Round-Up : Colored Ping Pong Balls for Therapy 
This week's challenge pitted the OTs and PTs together against the SLPeeps to see who could come up with more ideas on how to use a jar of colored ping pong balls as starter fuel for meeting therapy objectives.   While the SLPeeps came up with more ideas, I should say the OTs and PTs presented very well and had some fantastic ideas.  It was a lot of fun.  We will do the head to head challenge again soon!  


 Read the Round up of OT/PT Ideas HERE 


Read the Round-Up of Speech & Language Ideas HERE 

New SLPeeps Pinterst Pin For Discussion 'Speechify' This Log Cabin Word Sort
I love this and thought it might be fun to see what you guys could do with it with some time left still to get ready for your Presidents' Day themed lessons. This first grade teacher used it to sort by vowel sound and also to teach compound words, but I see huge potential for so many other speech and language objectives.

We will round up all the suggestions next week on the blog.   Please enter your comments on the pin on Pinterest accessible from teh link below, and not the comments of this blog post.   Ready, set, go!


 Take a Look at 'Log Cabin Word Sort' on our Blog
New OT/PT Pinterest Pin for Discussion Masking Tape Maze  

I put this one up just for the PTs when I was very first starting these new social groups on Pinterest.  The activity originates from the 'Hands On As We Grow' blog as a counting activity.  Stacy Menz at Starfish Therapies suggested it would be great for motor work.


We got a few great ideas, but I realize I should have opened it up to the OTs for all the great areas that you could target.   So let's feature it again for both the OTs and the PTs!    see as well before we do the round-up.   Let's see what the combined Ots and PTs can come up with this time!


Take a Look at 'Masking Tape Maze' on our Blog
SLP Corner: Danger of Becoming Desensitized on the Job

by:  Ruth Morgan MS CCC-SLP


The reality of my job is that I see many children with severe handicapping conditions, all day, every day. Often my schedule runs in 30 minute increments for quite a long time-a couple of children with articulation disorders, followed by a nonverbal child with autism, followed by work with a child in a 'push-in' regular education setting, followed by a social skills group.....hopefully lunch somewhere, followed by more children.  Meetings are thrown in sporadically.  Sometimes, after a busy day, the previous six hours are a bit of a blur. I realize that a parent with a child with


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Occupational Therapy Corner: Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders
by Hartley Steiner

As published on the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism Blog   

Editor's Note:  This is an excellent article to share with the parents/caregivers of your kiddos


For the purpose of this post, I am going to list sensory seeking and sensory avoidant behaviors, to paint a more accurate picture of what sensory-based behaviors look like. You can consider these 'symptoms' or a 'checklist' but my real goal in posting them is to help parents and caregivers recognize the sensory challenges in the children in their life.  In addition, I hope to paint a more specific picture of the kinds of behaviors Sensory Seekers exhibit.

Sensory Seekers
I completely ignored the first person who suggested Gabriel had Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Technically, I even made fun of her. How stupid was she to suggest my son had sensory issues? My kid wasn't one of those who covered his ears at every little


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Imagine...What is it Like to be the Parent of a Child with Selective Mutism
By: Joleen Fernald, MS CCC-SLP, Doctoral Student, PediaStaff Clinical Coordinator

All children will experience social difficulties from time to time. This is not only a normal, expected part of growing up, but also an important learning experience for children. As they muddle through social problems with their peers, children will learn to negotiate, compromise and become increasingly more self-aware. Finding the solutions to these social dilemmas, however, can come easily to some children and not so easily to others. Socially "savvy" children tend to be good problem solvers; they seem to have an innate sense of what to do, when to do it, and how to apply it in social situations. These children tend to be more popular with peers as a result of this savvy as they appear more capable. Appearing more capable to their peers can translate to social confidence and a positive sense of self.

Imagine pushing your two-year-old through the grocery store when you happen upon a friend. Your friend bends down and looks at your child, "Hello, what's your name?" Your child puts his head down and avoids eye contact. "How cute!" Your friend says, "He's so shy."

 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Meet PediaStaff: Christine Rogers, Recruiter Assistant   
Christine Rogers brings twenty-plus years experience in sales, marketing and customer service to PediaStaff. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Christine moved to Tupelo in 1997 and served successful tenures as a medical assistant and later a Business Account Manager for a cellular service provider. Most recently, Christine worked at The Retail Coach.

Read More About Christine on our Blog

Worth Repeating - The Upside of Dyslexia
[Source: New York Times Sunday Review]

by:  Annie Murphy Paul


The word "dyslexia" evokes painful struggles with reading, and indeed this learning disability causes much difficulty for the estimated 15 percent of Americans affected by it. Since the phenomenon of "word blindness" was first documented more than a century ago, scientists have searched for the causes of dyslexia, and for therapies to treat it. In recent years, however, dyslexia research has taken a surprising turn: identifying the ways in which people with dyslexia have skills that are superior to those of typical readers. The latest findings on dyslexia are leading to a new way of looking at the condition: not just as an impediment, but as an advantage, especially in certain artistic and scientific fields.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Scoliosis in Rett Syndrome
[Source:  The Journal SPINE, 2009]


Jenny Downs, PhD, Anke Bergman, MPH, Philippa Carter, MBBS, Alison Anderson, BSc, Greta M. Palmer, FANZCA, David Roye, MD, Harold van Bosse, MD, Ami Bebbington, BSc, Eva Lena Larsson, OTR, PhD, Brian G. Smith, MD,
Gordon Baikie, MD, Sue Fyfe, PhD, and Helen Leonard, MBChB


Rett syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder defined clinically by a set of criteria in 1988. The identification of a link with a MECP2 gene abnormality led to further diagnostic criteria modifications in 2002. The syndrome primarily affects women, results in severe intellectual disability and functional dependence, and is associated with comorbidities such as seizures, nutrition and growth problems, autonomic disturbances, and osteoporosis.8 Scoliosis (of neuromuscular type) is the most common orthopedic condition. 


Read the Full Text of This Journal Article Through a Link on our Blog
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