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March 3, 2012
Issue 7, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!   Between Pinterest, the teacher blogs we look at over here at PediaStaff and my daughter bugging me to take her to see The Lorax, I definitely have Dr. Seuss on the brain.    What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book for therapy?  Share your thoughts HERE

Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you.  My favorite item this week is the video of Jack giving a speech about his Asperger's Syndrome to his elementary school.  Go Jack!   Also check out IEP's According to Dr. Seuss.  It is definitely good for a laugh!

News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
Discussion Group Topics 
  • Pinterest Discussion Round-Up: A Pinboard of Photos for Teaching Social Problem Solving 
  • New Pin for Discussion:  Build a Lego Tower Game Board!  What Games Can We Develop for Speech, Language, Motor and Sensory and Other Objectives?  

Upcoming Events

  • Meet PediaStaff at TSHA  

Articles and Special Features 

  • Occupational Therapy Corner: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
  • SLP Corner:   Positive Reinforcement in Therapy Sessions 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Teaching Inference 
  • Meet PediaStaff:  Ahmed Daher 
  • Worth Repeating: 20 Bikes, Trikes and Tandems for Children with Special Needs 
  • Also Worth Repeating: Enduring Shoe Tying Torture (by a Parent of a Child with Autism)    
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
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team





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Rest in Peace 'Mama Bear':  Celebrate the Life of Jan Berenstain by Sharing the Berenstain Bears With Your Kiddos

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Jan Berenstain yesterday at the age of 88.  I have always loved the Berenstain bears for all children, but find them even more appropriate for our children with social and pragmatic difficulties.

 

Even though it's Dr. Suess week, maybe we can celebrate Jan and Stan's wonderful books by sharing some of them with the kiddos?

  

Feel Good Story of the Week: A Boy's Talk About His Asperger's Resonates in His School

[Source:  Orlando Sun Sentinel via The Autism News]

 

Since Jack Lebersfeld told the entire sixth grade he has Asperger's syndrome and explained what that meant, his speech has taken on a life of its own that Jack and his parents could have never imagined.

 

Asperger's is one of the autism spectrum disorders that affects a person's ability to socialize, and that's what was happening to Jack at school. The 11-year-old was being "isolated and picked on," in the words of his friend Spencer Kusel.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Yoga for Babies in the News:  Is it Safe? 

[Source:  MSNBC.com/Today]

 

They may not be able to walk or talk, but they have no problem arching their bodies into the downward dog pose. Yes, toddlers and babies are doing yoga - studios now offer classes for kids as young as 6 weeks old.

 

Yoga advocates say the classes can help parents and infants bond, and promote development of motor skills. And just as yoga helps adults become more aware of their bodies, yoga can help parents become attuned to their babies wants and needs, said Helen Garabedian, founder of the Itsy Bitsy   

Yoga, a yoga studio for babies and kids, and author of books by the same name.

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News:  Eye-Tracking Reveals Variability in Successful Social Strategies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

[Source:  Psypost.org]

 

In a study published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Katherine Rice and colleagues, from the Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine, used eye-tracking technology to measure the relationship between cognitive and social disability in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the ability of children with ASD to pay attention to social interactions.

 

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Attention, ADHD in the News: More Gaming Leads To More Impulsivity, Attention Difficulties In Children

[Source:  Medical News Today]

 

Impulsive children with attention problems tend to play more video games, while kids in general who spend lots of time video gaming may also develop impulsivity and attention difficulties, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

 

"This is an important finding because most research on attention problems has focused on biological and genetic factors rather than on environmental factors," said Douglas A. Gentile, PhD, of Iowa State University and lead author of the study published this week in the debut issue of APA's journal Psychology and Popular Media Culture.

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Gender Differences in the News: Girls' Verbal Skills Make Them Better at Arithmetic, Study Finds
[Source:  Science Daily.com]

While boys generally do better than girls in science and math, some studies have found that girls do better in arithmetic. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that the advantage comes from girls' superior verbal skills.

 

"People have always thought that males' advantage is in math and spatial skills, and girls' advantage is in language," says Xinlin Zhou of Beijing Normal University, who cowrote the study with Wei Wei, Hao Lu, Hui Zhao, and Qi Dong of Beijing Normal University and Chuansheng Chen of the University of California-Irvine. "However, some parents and teachers in China say girls do arithmetic better than boys in primary school."

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Language Development in the News:  Predicting Children's Language Development

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

We depend on a barrage of standardized tests to assess everything from aptitude to intelligence. But do they provide an accurate forecast when it comes to something as complex as language? A study by Diane Pesco, an assistant professor in Concordia's Department of Education, and co-author Daniela O'Neill, published earlier this year in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, shows that the Language Use Inventory (LUI) does.

 

Developed by O'Neill at the University of Waterloo, the LUI assesses the language of children 18 to 47 months old. In answering a series of questions, parents reveal how their children use language in  

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric TBI in the News: Teen Brain Takes Biggest Sports Hits in a Concussion

[Source:  The Huffington Post/Teen]

 

The teenage brain is special. Less plastic than a child's developing brain, but not yet with all of the executive functions of an adult noggin. And that makes them more vulnerable to long-term effects of head injury, according to new research. Especially when it comes to sports-related concussions.


In football, soccer, hockey or rugby, the top-front of the head usually receives the brunt of the blow. And that region is where the all-important executive function areas are forming for teenagers: the frontal cortex.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Talk. Talk. Talk on Doc: Dr. Seuss' Birthday, Lorax Movie, Read Across America in the News

Fans spanning the map will celebrate - in one way or another - the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to generations of young and once-young readers as children's author "Dr. Seuss":

 

In his Massachusetts birthplace, Springfield Museums will salute the favorite son with activities begat by his beloved "The Cat in the Hat." In his longtime home of La Jolla, UCSD - the world's main repository of all things Seuss, with some 10,000 items - will honor the icon at the Geisel Library.

 

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

Therapy Video of the Week: I'm Elmo and I Know It - Great for an All About Me Lesson 
I think that its a great thing when we can use current music and pop culture to teach.  I also have a soft spot for Elmo.    So when I saw this viral video (produced by a family in Pennsylvania) of Elmo dancing to the tune of the popular song "I'm Sexy and I Know It" but with child friendly lyrics, I had to share!  Great way to start an "All About Me" lesson!

Watch This Fun Video on our Blog
App Review of the Week: MadPad
MadPad is an app that has received a lot of press in 2011 and was available free for some weeks as the Starbucks App of the Month (I do occasionally wander into Starbucks); the app is a creative outlet for "remixing your life." Essentially, what you can do with MadPad is download or create "soundboards" for your iPad or smaller iDevice (there are different versions, MadPad HD is the iPad one, priced at $2.99, the iPhone/iPod version is currently $.99 and adequate even on the iPad for the purposes I describe below). I find myself struggling to describe what this app actually does, so check out the video demo of creating and playing a "set" below.

Read the Rest of this App Review on our Blog
Pinterest Therapy Idea of the Week: Matching Colors with Clothespins and Pipecleaners 

I found this activity on the Pinterest boards at Your Therapy Source.   Fine Motor and Matching and oh so simple, it got over 200 repins this week!
 

It was pinned to Pinterest by Tot School Tumblr, and seems to have originated on The Clark Family blog, although I cannot find the original post.

 

Look at this Great Activity on our Blog

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: An Entire Pinboard for Teaching Concepts of Time and Space  
A big "Thank You" to our readers and Pinterest followers (specifically @Janie Rundall) who suggested this board of photos to use for teaching the concepts of time and space.    Several of you helped me make it better while it was a work in process.   I will say it was fun to put together!

Visit This Pinboard of Photos for Teaching Concepts of Time and Space Through a Link on our Blog
Social Discussion Round-Up: A Pinboard of Photos to Use When Working on Social Problem Solving 

Thanks everyone for the great comments this week on this pinboard.   Nothing much came through on the "official" pins where I usually encourage discussion, but we got several great suggestions through Twitter, and on the board itself.
 

There are currently 53 photos in the board, designed to use as conversation starters about socially appropriate interaction and behavior.
 

Can you think of any more you would like to see?  

 

Visit and Make Suggestions for this Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog
New Pinterest Pin for Discussion OTs, PTs and SLPs Downloadable Game Board - 'Build a Lego Tower' for Therapy Objectives
A version of this great game board was circulating on Pinterest this week, but nowhere could we find a downloadable version of it to play.  So we whipped one up over here at PediaStaff!

Here is the original description pinned on the Pinterest pin I saw:  "Lego board game! See who can get to the end and build the highest tower. Can be used with articulation or language material. Made with boardmaker"  (if anyone knows where the ORIGINAL game came from, please let me know so we can give proper credit!)  

 

So let's discuss!  I can see this game used for ALL kinds of great therapy objectives.  Let's see who can come up with more ideas again,  the OTs and PTs combined or the SLPs?  Last time the SLPs won! 

 

Download this Game Board, Participate in the Discussion on our Blog
Upcoming Events: Meet PediaStaff at TSHA 

Coming to the TSHA Convention in San Antonio?  It will be help March 8 and 9 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.   We are excited to meet all our therapy friends in Texas.   

 

Come meet PediaStaff at Booth #529 and get your free Toobaloo Fluency Device while supplies last!

Still need to register for TSHA or want to Learn More?

 

Visit the Texas Speech Language Hearing Association Website for More Information!
Occupational Therapy Corner: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

By Loren Shlaes, OTR/L

 

I briefly treated a little girl earlier this school year who unfortunately did not make much progress while participating in occupational therapy.  She missed many sessions because her mother could not persuade her to put on her coat and shoes and leave the house to come to the clinic.

 

Most days were met with severe temper tantrums, with the child refusing to allow her mother to dress her or to eat breakfast.  When she did come to OT, she would not let me get near her. Any attempt to help her take off her coat and shoes or to engage her in any play was met with hysterical tears and crawling under her mother's chair.

 

Therapeutic brushing helped somewhat, but it was still a walk on eggshells to even be allowed into her personal space.  She was over three years old, but had almost no language.  When she wanted to express herself, she could only cry, "Mer!  Mer!"   She could not even say no.  

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog


SLP Corner: Positive Reinforcement in Therapy Sessions

by Jourdan Saunders

 

I love seeing each of my students' faces light up when they are provided with positive reinforcement.  Their smiles are priceless and it really makes them try even harder. Think back to parents, teachers, mentors and other individuals in our lives that made us smile on those bad days through encouraging words or even a simple "Wow, you did it!".  Therefore, I think it is so important for us to continue to incorporate positive reinforcement into our sessions and life in general.  If we can find something positive to say first and then incorporate what we want our student and/or client to work on next time, then I think each individual is more receptive to what

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Teaching Inference 
by Rachel Lynette

If you could see me typing this article in my office right now, you could probably infer several thing about me. The array of papers and books all around me would tell you that neatness is not my best quality. The placement of my computer mouse would tell you that I am left-handed, and the fact that I am currently wearing work-out clothes would tell you that I am planning to get  tto the gym at some point today. Most of us can make these kinds of inferences automatically, however; as you well know inference does not come so easily to everyone.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Meet PediaStaff: Manager of Information Technology - Ahmed Daher 

Ahmed Daher has been with PediaStaff since late 2007, starting as a member of our career services team.   Currently, as our IT manager, he handles any tech projects and keeps all of the computers running. 


Read More About Ahmed on our Blog

Worth Repeating - 20 Bikes, Trikes and Tandems for Children with Special Needs
[Source:  Friendship Circle Blog]

For children with special needs bike riding does not come easy. Trying to coordinate balance, pedaling and steering is an extremely difficult task. For children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida or other similar conditions, riding a two wheeler may never be a practical option.  

If you have a child with special needs you may want to consider an adaptive bike. To make your job easier we have scoured the web looking for all types of adaptive bikes, trikes and more. We found 20 bikes ranging from $70 to $7,000.

 

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Enduring Shoe Tying Torture (by a Parent of a Child with Autism)

By:  Yugi Fukunaga

 

I am not a patient person. And I am very stubborn.  That is not a great combination when you are trying to teach a child with autism how to tie their shoes.

 

Tying shoes a particular challenge for kids with autism

 

Shoelaces. Is there a worse form of torture for parents?

 

I know that teaching any child how to tie their shoes can be a challenge, but it is particularly hard when you have a child with autism.

 

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