May 2, 2014
Issue 18, Volume 7
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Blessings to All

This has been a tremendously emotional week for us all here at PediaStaff.  If you follow us on social media, or keep up with our blog on a daily basis, you have read that our headquarters hometown of Tupelo, MS was hit hard during this week of super cell tornado activity in the south.   You can read our blog post in this issue about the week so far.  Next week we hope to have a full report from the relief team that we have down there trying to help out the hardest hit.   Thank you again to everyone who has checked in on us and contributed to the Tupelo relief fund.  More help is desperately needed, so please check out the link in our blog post below or click here.  You can also text "redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation for Mississippi relief.  
Please enjoy your weekend, and remember to count your blessings every day.  We sure are!
News Items:
  • Girl Athletes Need Training to Protect Knees, Doctors Advise  
  • New Research Links Motor Skill Deficiencies to Autism Severity
  • Longhand Note-Taking Improves Academic Performance, Long-Term Comprehension
  • Study Confirms Tummy Issues More Common In Kids With Autism
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Releases Dopamine  
  • How ADHD & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Symptoms Get Mixed Up
PediaStaff News
  • PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week: South Carolina
  • PediaStaff News: Thankful for our Many Blessings after Mother Nature's Wrath - It's Now Time to Pay it Forward
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Huff and Puff Spelling! Therapy Activity of the Week
  • (Four) Featured Free Apps of the Week: by Winning Words
  • Therapy Idea of the Week: Oobi Eyes Finger Puppets
  • Book Review: Stars in Her Eyes: Navigating the Maze of Childhood Autism

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT Corner: OT Corner: Why Bubbles are a Wonderful Therapy Tool!
  • SLP Corner: Creating Culturally Specific Therapy Materials and Methods
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: The Vestibular System 
  • Worth Repeating: Let's Talk AAC - Stories and Strategies for Success
  • Also Worth Repeating: The Surprising Upside of a Dyslexic Brain
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

The Career Center

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Recent Occupational Therapist and COTA Jobs 

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Pediatric PT / Wellness in the News:  Girl Athletes Need Training to Protect Knees, Doctors Advise

[Source: NBC News]

More kids are tearing up their knees playing sports, pediatricians said Monday, and they have some advice for parents: consider extra training for your young athletes.


There's been a rise in diagnoses of a specific injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, a team of experts writes in the journal Pediatrics.


The increase is particularly dramatic in girls who play high school soccer, basketball, volleyball and in gymnasts, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. Girls suffer two to six times more ACL injuries than boys in similar sports, and are more likely to have surgery than boys, the group says.


But special training can help strengthen the muscles and help the student athlete develop habits that can prevent injury, the pediatricians found.


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

Autism Research in the News: New Research Links Motor Skill Deficiencies to Autism Severity

[Source:  Medical News Today]


An Oregon State University researcher has found a relationship between motor skill deficiencies and the severity of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in very young children.


The findings, believed to the be the first to show a direct relationship between motor skills and autism severity, indicate that development of fine and gross motor skills should be included in treatment plans for young children with autism, said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.


"Recognizing those deficits really early gives us more time to help children catch up to their peers in regards to motor skill," said MacDonald, who is an expert on the movement skills of children with autism.


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

Handwriting in the News:  Longhand Note-Taking Improves Academic Performance, Long-Term Comprehension  

[Source:  Medical News Today]


Dust off those Bic ballpoints and college-ruled notebooks - research shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Walk into any university lecture hall and you're likely to see row upon row of students sitting behind glowing laptop screens. Laptops in class have been controversial, due mostly to the many opportunities for distraction that they provide (online shopping, browsing Reddit, or playing solitaire, just to name a few). But few studies have examined how effective laptops are for the students who diligently take notes.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Autism and GI Issues in the News:  Study Confirms Tummy Issues More Common In Kids With Autism 

[Source: Disability Scoop]


Children with autism are four times more likely than other kids to experience gastrointestinal troubles, researchers say in a new study providing the largest look ever at the issue.


Digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea are three times more common and complaints of abdominal pain occur twice as often in those with the developmental disorder, researchers say.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

OCD Treatment in the News:  Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Releases Dopamine   

Editor's Note:  This is exciting research for all those hoping for a new approach alternative to pharmacological treatments! 


[Source:  Medical News Today] 


Some have characterized dopamine as the elixir of pleasure because so many rewarding stimuli - food, drugs, sex, exercise - trigger its release in the brain. However, more than a decade of research indicates that when drug use becomes compulsive, the related dopamine release becomes deficient in the striatum, a brain region that is involved in reward and behavioral control.


New research now published in Biological Psychiatry from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam suggests that dopamine release is increased in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and may be normalized by the therapeutic application of deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

ADHD and FAS in the News:  How ADHD & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Symptoms Get Mixed Up    

[Source: Special Ed Post]


Though still high, the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among American kids may be overstated by confusion with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) - a broad diagnosis describing the effects of maternal drinking during pregnancy.


Researchers at McGill University say parents and educators often confuse the symptoms of FASD with the other disorder, not realizing such kids function at a younger mental age than their peers. Jacob Burack, a professor of educational and counseling psychology there, made a study of 14 children with FASD recruited from a hospital in British Columbia.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  South Carolina  

Congratulations to Laurie-Ann S., SLP,  in northern South Carolina on her contract rehire through PediaStaff for next school year at a school for children who are deaf and/or blind! What a great assignment!


Gotta like being asked to come back, right??

PediaStaff News:  Thankful for our Many Blessings after Mother Nature's Wrath - It's Now Time to Pay it Forward  

We've been quiet on the subject until now, but we wanted to let you know that our PediaStaff family is counting all our many blessings after the devastating tornado that hit our headquarters hometown of Tupelo, MS. 

Thankfully, no-one in our PediaStaff family lost homes, but we had three families without power as of Wednesday, and one family has been moved out of their home beca
use of area gas leaks and are in a hotel.   Their neighborhood was really slammed and many of their neighbors lost everything.   The area shown in the picture to the left  is walking distance from their house.


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Therapy Activity of the Week: Huff and Puff Spelling!  

[Source:  The OT's Bag]


I absolutely love this activity I created in a pinch one day and it has since become a favorite of my students. This activity has the added benefit of potentially helping students to calm down. Many times I hear an adult tell a child to take a deep breath to calm down but often a child can't stay focused enough for this deep breathing. I have found using activities with sustained blowing and a functional goal is much more effective and fun.


Learn More About this Activity (with Photos) on our Blog

Free, Featured Apps of the Week:  (Four of Them) by Winning Words  

Thank you, Smart Apps for Special Needs for telling us about these four great language apps by Winning Words.  Singular and Plural, Double Letter Match Antonym Match and Synonym Match.  


No ads, no in-app purchases, no external links. 


Download these Apps Through a Link on our Blog

Therapy Idea of the Week:  Oobi Eyes Finger Puppets  

Thank you, @sharon_speech our SLP friend on Instagram for introducing us to Oobi Finger Puppets!   Adorable, and so useful for speech and language therapy, talking about feelings in school psychology, and as fine motor motivation too!  There is also much on the internet, that Oobi puppets are great tools for encouraging listening in children with autism.

A television show, made popular on Noggin (now Nick Jr.), Oobie is an anthropomorphic hand puppet who has every day adventures with his family.  Through connected learning, teaches a preschool audience vocabulary, concepts and skills from math, early literacy and logical thinking.   The show ran from 2004 until 2007, and only in the past year stopped airing as reruns.


Learn More About Oobi Eye Puppets on our Blog

Book Review:  Stars in Her Eyes: Navigating the Maze of Childhood Autism  

Review by Danielle Reed
Book by Dr. Linda Barboa 


"Even though autism is now a household word, many people do not understand the first thing about it."          ~Dr. B "Stars in Her Eyes"


I have always had a love for working with children with autism and other severe and profound delays/disorders.  I love that each child is incredibly unique and incredible in their own special way.  I currently work with 16 children who are diagnosed with autism.  Each of these children are incredibly special to me and the reason why my job as a Speech-Language Pathologist is so unique and why each day brings a new adventure.


In the relatively few years that I have been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist, I have worked with and met people of every degree of knowledge on the subject of autism from knowing it in term only to having spent their entire careers working with individuals with the  


Read the Rest of this Book Review on our Blog

OT Corner: Why Bubbles are a Wonderful Therapy Tool!

by Anne Zachry, OTR/L


I keep a spill-proof bottle in my therapy bag at all times. Here are just a few of the benefits of using bubbles during therapy.


-Watching and popping bubbles requires sustained attention
-Following the bubbles with the eyes is good for visual tracking
-Popping the bubbles with a swipe of the hand is good for eye-hand coordination
-Popping bubbles with an index finger requires finger isolation
-Encouraging the child to ask you to blow the bubbles promotes language
-Blowing bubbles is requires breath support
-Blowing bubbles works oral musculature which can help with feeding and speech
-Address taking turns by alternating blowing and popping the bubbles with the child
-The child can practice counting by counting the bubbles as he pops them
-Touching the bubbles is a sensory experience

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Creating Culturally Specific Therapy Materials and Methods

by Natasha Haftel CCC-SLP


At home, every time I know I am about to administer a phonological assessment to a preschooler, I cringe a little. I adore preschoolers and I love phonology - so what's the matter? The truth is, I dread that moment when I will turn the page of a standardized assessment's elicitation book to reveal an anachronistic picture of a rotary phone, a riffle, or some other bizarre object that none of the three-year-olds I work with has ever laid eyes on and hopefully never will. Many treatment and assessment materials, even the most useful ones, are scattered with images, words, and ideas that are out of date or socially unfamiliar to my clients.  I am certain that, no matter where you work as a speech-language pathologist, you have run across the same problem at one time or

Pediatric Therapy Corner: The Vestibular System

[Source: The Inspired Treehouse]


We're happy to be partnering up with Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures for the second post in our series together on  sensory processing.  Today's post is all about the vestibular system - what is it, why is it important to growth and development, and what can you do to support it in your child? 


At The Inspired Treehouse, we write about sensory processing from our point of view as occupational therapists, using our training and experience in the field to break information down into terms everyone can understand.  Dayna, an early childhood educator and a homeschooling mom of 3 , including a little guy with Sensory Processing Disorder, writes about Sensory Processing Disorder and sensory activities for kids from a mom and teacher's point of view.


The vestibular sense has to do with balance and movement and is centered in the inner ear.  Each of us has vestibular organs located deep inside our ears. When we move our heads, the fluid in these organs moves and shifts, constantly providing us with information about the position of our heads and bodies in space (spatial awareness). This sense allows us to maintain our balance and to experience gravitational security: confidence that we can maintain a position without falling.  The vestibular system allows us to move smoothly and efficiently. It also works right alongside all of our other sensory systems, helping us use our eyes effectively and process sounds in our environment. Overall, vestibular processing helps us feel confident moving and interacting with our surroundings.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Let's Talk AAC - Stories and Strategies for Success

By Laura Kessel, M.S., CCC-SLP, AAC Specialist

I'm Laura, an SLP and AAC Specialist working with both adults and children. I'm generally curious about everything and in the process of collecting far more picture symbols, apps, and toys than any one person reasonably needs.  You can find more musing on AAC over at my blog.

Getting teams on board with core vocabulary can be challenging. One of the biggest hurdles I face in my role as an AAC Specialist for Easter Seals of Massachusetts is that even when a teacher and classroom staff theoretically understand the emphasis on core vocabulary in  

Also Worth Repeating: The Surprising Upside of a Dyslexic Brain

[Source:  Time Magazine]

What we think of as a learning disability could translate into real-life skills 


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

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