August 16, 2013
Issue 26, Volume 6
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Friday!

I know some of you are already back to school.  Have a great, safe and productive year!
News Items:
  • Active Video Gaming and Children with CP
  • Google Glass Is Changing a Quadriplegic's Life 
  • Induced Labor May Increase risk of Autism in Offspring
  • Brain Scans May Help Diagnose Dyslexia
  • Link Between ADHD, Allergies and Asthma
  • New Patterns Found in the Genetic Relationship of Five Major Psychiatric Disorders
PediaStaff News and Features
  • PediaStaff on Blog Talk Radio Social Media for Professional Development
  • We Want to See YOUR Therapy Space!
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week - Back To School Activities and Resources 
  • OT Activity of the Week: Clay 'Smooshing'
  • Product Review: Thera-Togs
  • Ted Talk:  Tom Thum - The Orchestra in My Mouth. SLPs Prepared to Be Awed.  

Articles and Special Features 

  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  'Neurotypical' - a PBS Documentary 
  • OT Corner: Body and Head Positioning Play a Key Role in Learningx
  • SLP Corner:  Carly's Voice {A Collaborative Book Review}  
  • Our Turn:  Using Instagram as a Therapy Tool! 
  • Worth Repeating: Could it be a 'Cure'? Breakthrough Prompts Down Syndrome Soul-Searching
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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Cerebral Palsy Treatment in the News:  Active Video Gaming and Children with CP

[Source:  Physical Therapy via Your Therapy Source]

Physical Therapy has published research on exercise intensity levels in children with cerebral palsy while using active video games. Ten children with spastic cerebral palsy were age matched with their peers and participated for 40 minutes in 4 active video games - jogging, bicycling, snowboarding and skiing.  Heart rates were recorded as well as lower extremity motion analysis during the last part of jogging and bicycling.  The following results were recorded:

  • no difference between the groups for any variables
  • jogging game produced larger range of motion in the lower extremities compared to the bicycling game
  • more than 50% of the playing time for the jogging game and more than 30% of the playing time for the bicycling game were spent at an intensity greater than 40% of heart rate reserve
  Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog

Feel Good Story of the Week: Google Glass Is Changing a Quadriplegic's Life

[Source ABC]

To many, Google Glass seems like an unnecessary, very expensive, odd-looking smartphone accessory. To Aleksandra Blaszczuk, Google's connected glasses are none of those things.

A 26-year-old quadriplegic, Blaszczuk needs assistance with bathing, eating and countless other activities, but the new gadget has allowed her to do things on her own that she didn't think would be possible again.

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

Autism in the News:  Induced Labor May Increase risk of Autism in Offspring   

[Source: CBS News]

Having labor that is induced or augmented may lead to a greater chance of having a child with autism, new research reveals.

The U.S. government estimates that one in 50 school-aged kids has an autism spectrum disorder, which is the designation for a group of developmental brain disorders. All the conditions include some level of impairment when it comes to social skills, communication and behavioral issues.


Researchers looked at data from the North Carolina Detailed Birth Record and Education Research databases, which included 625,042 live births linked with school records. Of the group, 5,500 children had been diagnosed with autism.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Dyslexia in the News:  Brain Scans May Help Diagnose Dyslexia  

[Source: Science Daily]


About 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia, a condition that makes learning to read difficult. Dyslexia is usually diagnosed around second grade, but the results of a new study from MIT could help identify those children before they even begin reading, so they can be given extra help earlier.

The study, done with researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, found a correlation between poor pre-reading skills in kindergartners and the size of a brain structure that connects two language-processing areas.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

ADHD in the News:  Link Between ADHD, Allergies and Asthma  

Editor's Note:  We do not link the headline Science Daily used on this article as it implies a causal relationship, but the fact the study is documenting co-morbidity is important.


[Source: Science Daily]


The number of children being diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), allergy and asthma is increasing in the United States. And according to a new study, there might be a link between the growth of these three conditions.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Psychiatric Disorders in the News:  New Patterns Found in the Genetic Relationship of Five Major Psychiatric Disorders   

[Source: Science Daily]

An international consortium has shown for the first time evidence of substantial overlap of genetic risk factors shared between bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and less overlap between those conditions and autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published this week in Nature Genetics' Advance Online publication.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

PediaStaff on Blog Talk Radio:  Social Media for Professional Development   

I was honored to be the featured guest yesterday, on Laura Mize's  Blog Talk Radio show, Teach Me to Talk.   Teach Me to Talk is an excellent weekly live show for parents and SLPs primarily geared to early intervention and pre-K language learning and facilitation.

In our discussion, Laura and I spoke for an hour about why and how to use Social Media for professional development.  Topics discussed were Pinterest, Blogs, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


 Listen to the Broadcast Through a Link on our Blog

We Want to See YOUR Therapy Space!:  Upload a Picture of Your Therapy Room to Instagram!   

Well, we've only been on Instagram a week, but we are already having so much fun!   After we started seeing pictures of friends' therapy rooms (and posted a picture of my own cave here at PediaStaff!), I thought it might be fun for all of us to share pictures of our therapy rooms!

Post a photo of your therapy room, space or cart, and put it up on Instagram with the hashtag "#myTxroom."  After Labor Day (when most of our school-based therapy friends are back and organized) I will collect them all and make a collage or slideshow for everyone to see!


Pediatric Therapy Corner: 'Neurotypical' - a PBS Documentary

Editor's Note:  Thanks to our friend on Google+,  John McCarthy who gave us the heads up to this full-length documentary avaible to view free on PBS Point of View.

[Source: PBS]

'Neurotypical' is an unprecedented exploration of autism from the point of view of autistic people themselves. Four-year-old Violet, teenaged Nicholas and adult Paula occupy different positions on the autism spectrum, but they are all at pivotal moments in their lives. How they and the people around them work out their perceptual and behavioral differences becomes a remarkable reflection


 Watch this Full Length Documentary Through a Link on our Blog

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  Back To School Activities and Resources   

Some of you still have a few weeks of summer to enjoy, but those of us in the south are heading back to school as we speak!   As you know, Pinterest is just a treasure trove of great activities suitable for therapy - especially around holidays and special times of the year!


We have 111 pins and the board continues to grow!

 Visit our Back to School Pinboard Through a Link on our Blog

OT Activity of the Week:  Clay 'Smooshing' 

Editor's Note:  I love when I find a blog post on a general early childhood site that makes for perfect therapy!  Let's hear it for finger/hand strengthening!!


[Source:  Twodaloo]


Please visit for the complete blog post about this great Activity.  She discusses the best "canvases" to use, and what kinds of clay work best for the best motor workout. 


  Learn More About this Activity Through a Link on our Blog

Product Review of the Week:  Thera-Togs   

by Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist

In the pediatric therapy world there are a plethora of tools, equipment, gadgets and other devices designed to be therapeutic and helpful when working with kids.  One of these items that we frequently use with the kids we work with is called TheraTogs.


Unless you've seen TheraTogs, they may be a little hard to explain. They are a soft, breathable, slightly stretchy material that is cut such that you can create a vest and shorts to put on the kids.  When we use them during therapy sessions we put them on over the kiddos clothes, however they are designed to go directly next to the skin, and are even cut such that you can put a diaper/underwear on over them so they can be worn throughout the day.


 Read the Rest of this Review on our Blog

TED Talk:  Tom Thum - The Orchestra in My Mouth 

[Source:  TED X]


Beatboxing doesn't even begin to describe the sounds this guy can make.   Amazing!!


 Watch This Incredible Performance Through a Link our Blog

OT Corner: Body and Head Positioning Play a Key Role in Learning

by Katherine Collmer, OTR/L

Elementary school children spend 30-60% of their classroom time working at their desks on fine motor skills,  predominantly on tasks involving handwriting.   A visual sweep of the classroom scene will uncover as many seated body postures as there are students.  For the most part, an upright position will not be the one most utilized.  Slouching, leaning forward; resting heads on the desk, arm or hand; and legs curled up on the chair seat will most likely be the writing positions that would be observed. 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Carly's Voice, A Collaborative Book Review 

by Kristin Cummings - MS CCC-SLP

Hi everyone, this is Kristin Cummings, author of the Simply Speech Blog! This summer, I started a book club. A few years ago I made a New Year's resolution to read a new book each month. Well that didn't work out too well, so I decided to invite other bloggers and readers to join my book club to help keep me motivated!

The first book we read was Carly's Voice by Author Fleischmann and Carly Fleischmann. This is an amazing story of a young girl and her family's experiences as she grows up with Autism. This story will definitely tug at your heartstrings and make you look at non-verbal children in a different light.


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

Our Turn: Using Instagram as a Therapy Tool!

Last year, when we first discovered Pinterest, it became apparent that portable technology was perfect for using photos to work on various therapy goals.   PediaStaff created a bunch of boards with photos working on emotions, social problems solving, action verbs, time and space concepts and more.  Jenna Rayburn, of Speech Room News came up with a great way to put those pictures into the app Tapikeo to create your own custom app for those photos. 

Its great, no doubt, however it is a several step process every time you want to add a photo to your collection. What if there is was a way to take and use pictures, adding them as needed, straight from your device -with a neat clean interface - without importing them through an extra app?   Well, there is... Instagram.   


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Could it be a 'Cure'? Breakthrough Prompts Down Syndrome Soul-Searching

[Source:  NBC]


by JoNel Aleccia NBC News


In the 14 years since her daughter, Rachel, was born with Down syndrome, Jawanda Mast has always been clear that she'd change the condition if she could.

"I couldn't love her more, but I would give almost anything to take away that extra chromosome," the Olathe, Kansas, mom wrote on her blog. "While I may know she's perfect, the world doesn't."

But when Massachusetts scientists announced recently that they've found a way to silence the chromosome that causes trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, it rocked Mast - and the rest of the disability community.  

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