November 23, 2012
Monthly Edition
Issue 11, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving to All!

We trust everyone made it home from ASHA safely?  What a great convention we had.  Please enjoy our wrap-up of ASHA 2012 events, especially the totally fun Flash Mob put on by the #SLPeeps!  

hopes everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.   Safe travels to all of you on the road.  Please enjoy our newsletter offering for you!   See you next week! 
News Items:
  • Muscle Degeneration May Be Reduced In Muscular Dystrophy By New Vitamin-Based Treatment 
  • Area of the Brain That Processes Empathy Identified 
  • Football Safety Concerns Affect Youth Leagues, Causing NFL to Take Notice
  • Autism Early Intervention Can Help Regulate Brain Activity In Kids  
  • At Six Months, Development of Children With Autism Like Those Without
  • The Science and Art of Listening: NYT Article 
  • Research Finds Kids Who Drank More Milk Have Faster Walking Times And Better Balance As Older Adults
  • A New Way of Looking at Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Road to Language Learning Is Iconic
  • Children Who Swim Start Smarter, Study Suggests

Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week: Top 5 Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language 
  • Therapy Resource of the Week:  Speech Reward Stickers 
  • App Review: Ready to Print 
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: It's The Friday After Thanksgiving and That Means... 

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT Corner: Book Excerpt - Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years
  • Focus on Bilingualism: Focus on Bilingualism: Evaluating Children from Second Language Backgrounds 
  • SLP Corner: Beyond the Geico Gecko: The Use of Advertising in Therapy with Adolescents
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: The D.I.R.� Model and Floortime™  
  • Worth Repeating: Seven Myths About Sensory Issues
  • Also Worth Repeating: What? - Auditory Processing Disorder
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Muscular Dystrophy in the News: Muscle Degeneration May Be Reduced In Muscular Dystrophy By New Vitamin-Based Treatment

[Source: Science Daily]


Boosting the activity of a vitamin-sensitive cell adhesion pathway has the potential to counteract the muscle degeneration and reduced mobility caused by muscular dystrophies, according to a research team led by scientists at the University of Maine.


The discovery, published in the open access journal PLOS Biology, is particularly important for congenital muscular dystrophies, which are progressive, debilitating and often lethal diseases that currently remain without cure. The researchers found that they could improve muscle structure and function in a zebrafish version of muscular dystrophy by supplying a common cellular chemical (or its precursor, vitamin B3) to activate a cell adhesion pathway.


Brain Mapping in the News:  Area of the Brain That Processes Empathy Identified

[Source: Science Daily]

An international team led by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has for the first time shown that one area of the brain, called the anterior insular cortex, is the activity center of human empathy, whereas other areas of the brain are not. The study is published in the September 2012 issue of the journal Brain.


Empathy, the ability to perceive and share another person's emotional state, has been described by philosophers and psychologists for centuries. In the past decade, however, scientists have used powerful functional MRI imaging to identify several regions in the brain that are associated with empathy for pain. This most recent study, however, firmly establishes that the anterior insular cortex is where the feeling of empathy originates.


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

Pediatric TBI News: Football Safety Concerns Affect Youth Leagues, Causing NFL to Take Notice

Thanks to our friends at Brainline for tweeting this article

[Source: Washington Post via Brainline]

On recent cool autumn night, Roger Goodell walked from group to group on the artificial turf football field. Wearing sneakers and a dark-gray pullover, the commissioner of the National Football League watched as the coaches put their players through a series of drills that just could help save football.The players weren't hard-hitting behemoths like the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis or Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harrison, though. Goodell traveled from New York to Centreville earlier this month to watch 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds play the game, to study new techniques designed to make an inherently physical game less dangerous.


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

Biofeedback in the News: Video Game Helps Kids Control Anger


Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital had the bright idea that, since kids with anger-control problems tend to resist psychotherapy but enjoy video games, the researchers should develop a game that sneakily helps kids practice emotion-control skills - and in the process perhaps reduces the need for medication.


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

Early Intervention in the News:  Early Start Denver Model Can Help Regulate Brain Activity In Kids

[Source: Medical News Today]


A new type of early intervention therapy called Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is effective for boosting language skills and cognitive thinking in autistic children as young as 18 months old. It can also help their social skills, decrease their symptoms of autism, and push their brain activity to work in a "normal" manner , according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.


This is the first study of its kind to reveal that early intervention of autism can help "normalize" happenings in the brain.  


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

Autism in the News:  At Six Months, Development of Children With Autism Like Those Without 

[Source: Science Daily]


The development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is much like that of children without ASD at 6 months of age, but differs afterwards. That's the main finding of the largest prospective, longitudinal study to date comparing children with early and later diagnosis of ASD with children without ASD. The study appears in the journal Child Development and has implications for clinical work, public health, and policy.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Auditory Processing in the Mainstream News:  Excellent NYT Article: The Science and Art of Listening 

Thank You to Loren Shlaes, OTR/L of Pediatric OT for sharing this piece!


[Source: New York Times]


By Seth S. Horowitz


HERE'S a trick question. What do you hear right now?


If your home is like mine, you hear the humming sound of a printer, the low throbbing of traffic from the nearby highway and the clatter of plastic followed by the muffled impact of paws landing on linoleum - meaning that the cat has once again tried to open the catnip container atop the fridge and succeeded only in knocking it to the kitchen floor.


The slight trick in the question is that, by asking you what you were hearing, I prompted your brain to take control of the sensory experience - and made you listen rather than just hear. That, in effect, is what happens when an event jumps out of the background enough to be perceived consciously rather than just being part of your auditory surroundings. The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Balance and Gross Motor Fitness in the News:  Research Finds Kids Who Drank More Milk Have Faster Walking Times And Better Balance As Older Adults 

[Source:  Medical News Today]

Starting a milk drinking habit as a child can lead to lifelong benefits, even improving physical ability and balance in older age, according to new research. A new study published in Age & Aging found an increase of about one glass of milk a day as a child was linked to a 5% faster walking time and 25% lesser chance of poor balance in older age. The researchers suggest a "public health benefit of childhood milk intake on physical function in old age" - a finding that has huge potential for adults over 65, a population expected reach more than 70 million by the year 2030, doubling over just 30 years.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Prader-Willi in the News:  A New Way of Looking at Prader-Willi Syndrome  

[Source:  Science Daily]


An Australian study reveals that people with the rare genetic disorder known as Prader-Willi Syndrome may have an impaired autonomic nervous system. This discovery opens up a new way of looking at the insatiable appetite experienced by all sufferers, as well as their very high risk of cardiovascular disease.

The autonomic nervous system controls our inner organs, including our gut, heart, liver and blood vessels. It is a finely tuned, dynamic system, responding moment-by-moment to the body's needs.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Language Development in the News:  Road to Language Learning Is Iconic   

[Source:  Science Daily]


Languages are highly complex systems and yet most children seem to acquire language easily, even in the absence of formal instruction. New research on young children's use of British Sign Language (BSL) sheds light on one mechanism - iconicity - that may play an important role in children's ability to learn language.


or spoken and written language, the arbitrary relationship between a word's form - how it sounds or how it looks on paper - and its meaning is a particularly challenging feature of language acquisition. But one of the first things people notice about sign languages is that signs often represent aspects of meaning in their form. For example, in BSL the sign EAT

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Physical Activity in the News:  Children Who Swim Start Smarter, Study Suggests    

[Source:  Science Daily]


Children who learn how to swim at a young age are reaching many developmental milestones earlier than the norm.


Researchers from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research surveyed parents of 7000 under-fives from Australia, New Zealand and the US over three years.


A further 180 children aged 3, 4 and 5 years have been involved in intensive testing, making it the world's most comprehensive study into early-years swimming.


Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen says the study shows young children who participate in early-years swimming achieve a wide range of skills earlier than the normal population.

"Many of these skills are those that help young children into the transition into formal learning contexts such as pre-school or school.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Pinterest Pin of the Week:  "Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language" 

This excellent article on the "Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language" by Lisa Geary of Live Speak Love was our Pinterest Pin of the Week this week with almost 250 repins!


Access this Pin of the Week Through a Link our Blog

Therapy Resource of the Week:  Speech Reward Stickers  

[Source:  Ms. Lane's SLP Materials]


I always forget to tell my clients' parents how great they did at one thing or another.  So I made these little 'speech reward stickers' to remind THEM to tell their parents what they are working on, and what they have done a good job with!

 Download These Free Stickers Through a Link our Blog

App Review of the Week:  Ready to Print  

[Source:  Notes from a Pediatric Occupational Therapist]


Ready to Print is a pre-writing app that was developed by an occupational therapist with more than 20 years of experience working with children. This app progresses through pre-writing skills in a specific order so that children can master the skills necessary for writing.

Here's a quick breakdown of each skill addressed in this app:
Touch: This activity focuses on basic index finger isolation and visual scanning skills. It contains 16 different levels, with different pictures and varying number of pictures. The size of the items may be changed to match the child's skill level. As seen below, when the child touches the picture, it turns into something else!


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

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  It's The Friday After Thanksgiving and That Means...'s time to start thinking about how you are going to celebrate the holidays in your classroom!   We will be featuring all our holiday and seasonal boards in the coming weeks, but since it IS traditional, let's talk about Christmas!


 Check out our Christmas Activities and Treats Board Through a Link our Blog

OT Corner: Book Excerpt - Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years  

Written by Britt Collins, MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson - Available through Sensory World, & Barnes & Noble.


Chapter 8:  Sensory Seasons and Sensory Holidays - Excerpt p.155-157: 

For those of us that don't live on a tropical island, winter means cold air and extreme weather, which can be extra hard on sensory-sensitive kiddos. Try to keep your child's skin from getting chapped by using nontoxic lotions on her body and lip balm on her lips. Remember that she may need sunscreen, even when it's freezing outside.


Severe cold weather can be painful for anyone-especially if you have SPD. If your child can only handle the cold for short periods of time, make sure she has a place to warm up if she gets too 


Read the Rest of This Book Excerpt on our Blog

Focus on Bilingualism: Evaluating Children from Second Language Backgrounds

by Ellen Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP  


I chaired the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association's Task Force on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity for the last 4 years until July of this year.  In that role, I was frequently asked about appropriate assessment procedures when working with a child who does not speak English as a first language or does not speak English at all.  Our task force put together a presentation that presented ASHA's stance on the issue.  Below is a slide that lays out the selection of personnel to complete such evaluations.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

School Psychology Corner: Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Strategies for Students with Autism

by: Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD, NCSP


The problem behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are among the most challenging and stressful issues faced by schools and parents. The current best practice in treating and preventing undesirable or challenging behaviors utilizes the principles and practices of positive behavior support (PBS). PBS is not a specific intervention per se, but rather a set of research-based strategies that are intended to decrease problem behaviors by designing effective environments and teaching students appropriate social and communication skills. The objective of PBS is to decrease potentially problematic behavior by making environmental changes and teach


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Beyond the Geico Gecko: The Use of Advertising in Therapy with Adolescents

by:  Karen Clark, M.A. CCC-SLP


When developing lessons that target specific language skills in adolescents, the use of high interest and relevant material engages students and provides an opportunity for students to learn and generalize concepts. Advertising is a medium that gives us a wealth of creativity, imagination, and ambiguity and is a perfect resource for the therapy or classroom setting. Using print ads, vintage ads, and commercials in therapy affords the opportunity to target a multitude of language and critical thinking skills. Even articulation, fluency, and verbal/written expression skills can easily be integrated into a lesson with this form of media.


 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: The D.I.R.� Model and Floortime™

By, Krystal Vermeire, OTR/L


D.I.R. � Model: Refers to the theoretical model of childhood intervention. The 'D' correlates with development, 'I' with individual differences, and 'R' with relationships.


Floortime™:  Refers to the intervention approach under the D.I.R. � Model. It is the process of taking the information of the D.I.R. � Model and applying it to practice. I have spent a great deal of hours completing tutoring, reading books, watching and attending lectures, and engaging in self-reflection to reach the comfort level I have with using the D.I.R. � Model. For more information, including videos and archived podcasts, as well as links to informational resources and future conferences please see:


Let us first explore the "D" of the D.I.R. � Model:   


This aspect of the model refers to development in relation to discipline specific contexts: motor, speech, cognition, social, etc. This is where all the different disciplines come into play; developmental pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, and the list goes on and on. Additionally, across disciplines, those familiar with the D.I.R. � Model will assess and address the capacities of social-emotional development, also referred to as functional emotional capacities. It is important to keep in mind that in order to assess atypical development effectively, one must have a strong understanding of typical development.


 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Seven Myths About Sensory Issues

By Bobbi Sheahan


I appreciate the opportunity to return to D.S. Walker's site as a guest blogger! Today, I'm back to talk about Sensory Processing Disorder, which was formerly called Sensory Integration Dysfunction.


Our senses are what we humans use to perceive. In addition to our five senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing and vision, people also perceive temperature, balance, acceleration, proprioception/kinesthesis (where one's body is in space), and pain. When any of these "senses" are calibrated differently from the norm, it is considered a sensory difference.  These differences can rise to the level of sensory dysfunction, which can be dangerous. For example, my child


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

Also Worth Repeating: What? - Auditory Processing Disorder

Source:  Special Education Advisor]

By Carol Murphy, MA, CCC-SLP


The weird thing about the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder is that, although most everyone agrees on the variety of symptoms, the actual testing of it can differ widely. Assessments, and therefore instructive strategies, can fluctuate by state, district, profession and resources, both public and private. The California Office of Administrative Hearings for [Public School] Special Education has over 500 notices of fair hearings with the term Auditory Processing Disorder, meaning that either a parent or a school district was attempting clarification or a decision regarding some aspect of this disorder. Further, the California Speech-language Pathology, Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board has published a notice:  


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

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