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July 27, 2012
Monthly Edition
Issue 7, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Hello there and Happy Friday!  Here is our Monthly Edition of our newsletter for you.
 
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources

Articles and Special Features 

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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team





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Down Syndrome in the News:  Children With Trisomy 13 and 18 and Their Families Appear Happy

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

Children with trisomy 13 or 18, who are for the most part severely disabled and have a very short life expectancy, and their families lead a life that is happy and rewarding overall, contrary to the usually gloomy predictions made by the medical community at the time of diagnosis, according to a study of parents who are members of support groups published July 23 inPediatrics. The study was conducted by Dr. Annie Janvier of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and the University of Montreal with the special collaboration of the mother of a child who died from trisomy 13, Barbara Farlow, Eng, MSc as the second author.

 

Neurobiology in the News: New Clue On How Brain Processes Visual Information

[Source:  Science Daily]  

 

Ever wonder how the human brain, which is constantly bombarded with millions of pieces of visual information, can filter out what's unimportant and focus on what's most useful?

The process is known as selective attention and scientists have long debated how it works. But now, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have discovered an important clue. Evidence from an animal study, published in the July 22 online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that the prefrontal cortex is involved in a previously unknown way.

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog
Autism Treatments in the News: Stroke, Tinnitus, Autism And Other Disorders May In Future Be Treated With Nerve Stimulation

[Source:  Medical News Today]

 

UT Dallas researchers recently demonstrated how nerve stimulation paired with specific experiences, such as movements or sounds, can reorganize the brain. This technology could lead to new treatments for stroke, tinnitus, autism and other disorders.

 

In a related paper, UT Dallas neuroscientists showed that they could alter the speed at which the brain works in laboratory animals by pairing stimulation of the vagus nerve with fast or slow sounds.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Feeding in the News: What Would Batman Eat? - Study Suggests That Superhero Role Models Could Help Kids Make Healthy Choices

[Source: Science Daily]

 

In the ongoing battle to get children to eat healthfully, parents may do well invoking the names of superheroes to come to their rescue, say Cornell researchers.

Just as Popeye inspired a generation to eat spinach, such role models as Spiderman or Batman could help children make healthy choices, according to Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Language Development in the News: Infants Can Use Language to Learn About People's Intentions
[Source:  Science Daily]

Infants are able to detect how speech communicates unobservable intentions, researchers at New York University and McGill University have found in a study that sheds new light on how early in life we can rely on language to acquire knowledge about matters that go beyond first-hand experiences.

Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
 Feel Good Story of the Week: Miami Girl With Down Syndrome Lands Gig as the Cover Girl for Prestigious Fashion Designer

Thanks to our friends at NEPA Special Needs Network for this great news!

 

[Source:  AdWeek]

 

Models with Down syndrome have been making inroads into advertising lately as part of ensemble casts in circulars and catalogs.Now, a 10-month-old Miami girl, Valentina Guerrero, is fronting a whole campaign from the notable Spanish swimwear designer Dolores Cort�s. Valentina graces the cover of 

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Technology in the News: Writing Using the Eyes Might Help Paralyzed Communicate

[Source:  Health Day via Yahoo News]

 

A new technology may enable people who have lost the ability to move their arms or legs to use their eyes to write in cursive, or script.

 

The technology, which enables people to produce smooth eye movements in desired directions, could be of great benefit to people who have lost limb movement because of diseases such as Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called ALS) or spinal or other injuries, according to the study published online July 26 in the journal Current Biology.

 
Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
The NICU in the News: Survival Rates For Premature Babies In High-Level NICUs Are Better Than Previously Reported

Premature babies are more likely to survive when they are born in high-level neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) than in hospitals without such facilities, and this benefit is considerably larger than previously reported.

 

The likelihood that an extremely premature baby will survive if born in a high-technology, high-volume hospital unit was already known, but the current study, the largest to date, revealed a stronger effect. Pediatric researchers who analyzed more than 1.3 million premature births over a 10-year span found that the survival benefits applied not only to extremely preterm babies, but also to moderately preterm newborns.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog 
Memory in the News: Better Understanding of Memory Retrieval Between Children and Adults

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

Neuroscientists from Wayne State University and the Massachusetts Institute of

Technology (MIT) are taking a deeper look into how the brain mechanisms for memory retrieval differ between adults and children. While the memory systems are the same in many ways, the researchers have learned that crucial functions with relevance to learning and education differ.

 

The team's findings were published on July 17, 2012, in the Journal of Neuroscience.

 

According to lead author Noa Ofen, Ph.D., assistant professor in WSU's Institute of Gerontology and Department of Pediatrics, cognitive ability, including the ability to learn and remember new information, dramatically changes between childhood and adulthood. This ability parallels with dramatic changes that occur in the structure and function of the brain during these periods.

 

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

App Review of the Week: Augment your Reality: Become Spider-Man

by Jeremy Legaspi, The Speech Guy

 

Here is a really cool free augmented reality (AR) app called The Amazing Spider-Man AR available on both the App Store as well as Google Play which is bonus for Android users. I like to Appdapt apps that weren't specifically made for speech-language therapy (if you want to see more Appdapted Apps visit Speaking of Apps a weekly blog I co-write on apps for Advance Magazine). If you are not familiar with AR apps they make use of your device's camera and then overlay the graphics over what you are seeing. With this app you become Spider-Man which most of my clients just love (and also maybe that inner geeky slp) and you 


Read the Rest of this Article/Review on our Blog 
Pinterest Pin of the Week : Speech Jenga
This idea was wildly popular this week with close to 300 repins last week.  I also like the idea that was proposed over at Consonantly Speaking on how to use Jenga for articulation Speech Drills without writing on your blocks. 

 

Check out this Great Pinterest Idea on our Blog

OT Product of the Week: Squiggle, Wiggle Writer: Fun Therapy Tool!
by Anne Zachry, OTR/L

Have you ever seen a Squiggle, Wiggle Writer? It is a great little vibrating pen that can be used in therapy, and kids absolutely love it! It is triangular in shape and slightly heavy, so it's great for helping a child learn to use more pressure when writing, especially when the vibration component is turned on. In order to maintain control of the pen, a child has to press down fairly hard. The vibration also increases kinesthetic awareness of the hand.

 

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Therapist Resource of the Week: WonderBaby.org
 

Every once and a while, I find a resource that makes me say 'WOW!'  WonderBaby.org is one of those - a veritable treasure trove of resources for parenting and teaching children with visual impairment.

 

WonderBaby.org, is a project funded by Perkins School for the Blind, is dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities.  Here you'll find a database of articles written by parents who want to share with others what 


Learn More About WonderBaby.org on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Feeding Therapy - Treating the Whole Child

Thanks to regular PediaStaff contributor Melanie Potock, for calling attention to this wonderful article she wrote for Special Education Advisor!

 

by Melanie Potock, CCC-SLP

 

I have the fun of meeting a LOT of cute kids in my practice as a feeding therapist and  likewise, the honor of meeting some great parents.  Sometimes the kiddos have Down syndrome or a gastrointestinal tube for liquid tube feedings or autism or for one reason or another are just darn-picky eaters.  Know what the common denominator is among all these families, regardless of a child's diagnosis?  STRESS.  Parenting a child who does not eat well is STRESSFUL and it's a very unexpected problem to have in a family.  I have never met a new mom who cradled her brand new baby and said,  "Gosh, I hope he eats his broccoli."  It never occurs to a new parent that their child will have difficulty eating.


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

School Psychology Corner: Helping Children Navigate Personal Loss

By: Diane I. Ferber-Collins MBA, MA, C.A.S.

 

Our children, unfortunately, are likely to experience loss during their childhood, whether it is a pet, neighbor, classmate, grandparent or other family member.   In many situations, it can be difficult to know how to help children cope with the loss, especially if their loved one is alsoour loved one, and we are working through our own grief.   This is true for families and for school communities that experience the loss of a parent, student, or teacher.

 

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, for primary grade children,adult reactions will play an especially important role in shaping a child's perceptions of the situation.  This piece offers a brief compilation of practical advice from experts in outline form about how to talk to our kids about loss, including developmentally appropriate language, answering questions, sharing beliefs, letting our children see our own grief, and making choices about including them in specific activities.

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Social Stories 201 - Extinguishing Negative Behaviors
by:  Haley Villines, Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Way back in April, I wrote a post called Social Stories 101: Be Prepared.  That post talked about the basics of social stories and how you can use them to help kids (with and without special needs) know what to expect in new or uncomfortable situations.  As promised (thought not as soon as promised), here's the follow-up to that post.

Social stories can also be used to extinguish negative behaviors.  Here's the catch, though...they won't work when the child is in the middle of the negative behavior and they won't work when the child has passed the point of self-control.  Social stories need to be used 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Focus on Bilingualism: Korean: Language History, Culture and Comparison to English

by: Ellen Kester & Alejandro Brice 

 

The Korean-American population has been growing steadily since the 1990 census and continues to increase.  As such, the number of school children who speak Korean and English is increasing and it is important for speech therapists to understand the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the Korean population.  Below is an excerpt from a more detailed article on Korean that will appear online in the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association's Communicologist.  The article will include information about the history of the Korean Language, its written forms, cultural details, and Korean age of acquisition information.

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Professional to Parent: Finding the Best Way to be the Best Parent - is it Possible?

Editor's Note:  This article was written for parents by an Occupational Therapist.  We share it with you here so that you may in turn share it with the parents and guardians of your kiddos.

by: Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L 

 

First off let's start by saying that there is no such thing as the best method, the best protocol, the best book to read on how to be the best parent.  Whether or not your child has special needs or not, there just simply isn't a method that is the one to use.

 

Every snowflake is different and so is every child.  Every family is different too. So those "experts" who espouse to know just how YOU should be doing something as important as raising your child are way off the mark!!

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - 36 Fun Summer Activities for Kids Who are Blind or Multiply Disabled
[Source: WonderBaby.org]

During long breaks from school we're always looking for something fun (and preferably educational) for Ivan to do. I like to search through Pinterest and parenting blogs looking for fun summer-time activities, but it can be very difficult to find projects or outings that are appropriate for a young child who is blind and has multiple disabilities.

 

So we adapt the activities that we find online, ask our friends for ideas and make up some of our own. Here are some ideas for you to try with your child this summer....

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Studies Dispute Benefits of Brain Training

[Source:  Education Week]

 

By: Sarah D. Sparks

 

While programs to improve students' working memory are among the hottest new education interventions, new studies are calling into question whether exercises to improve this foundational skill can actually translate into greater intelligence, problem-solving ability, or academic achievement.

 

Working memory is the system the mind uses to hold information during decision making and analysis.   As much as half of the variation in individual intelligence can be explained by differences in working-memory capacity, research shows. Working memory has come to be considered by researchers and educators as a key leverage point in boosting brainpower overall- 

 

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