September 21, 2012
Weekly Edition
Issue 30, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings Happy Friday to you!  Please enjoy this week's newsletter with our compliments!
News Items:
  • Actors with Down Syndrome Raise Awareness 
  • Gestational Diabetes, Poverty Linked to ADHD
  • Research: Neuronal Circuits In Autism Can Be Reversed
  • How Early Social Deprivation Impairs Long-Term Cognitive Function
  • Well-Designed Study Shows Benefits of Morning Classroom Yoga for Children with Autism
  • Safety Alert: FDA Expands Caution About SimplyThick
  • Music Underlies Language Acquisition, Theorists Propose

Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Phonemic Awareness Activity That Your Kiddos Will Love!
  • Cheers! Watch this Great Video that Promotes the 'Giving Voice' Campaign!
  • App Review: /R/ Intensive 
  • Version 1.3 of TxTools Available.  New Features!

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT/PT Corner: Small Changes = Big Differences
  • SLP Corner: The Conversation Tree: A Visual Support for Conversational Mapping
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Why Hopscotch Matters 
  • Worth Repeating: Cooperative Learning from a Student's Point of View
  • Also Worth Repeating: 5 Sensory Ways to Celebrate Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month
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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: Actors with Down Syndrome Raise Awareness

[Source: ABC News]


When Gail Williamson was pregnant with her son Blair in 1979, there was no one on TV with Down syndrome to help make the diagnosis less scary.


Today, doctors tell parents that their babies will grow up and be like "Becky," a character on "Glee" who has Down syndrome - and quite a bit of sass as she rocks a cheerleading uniform at the fictional William McKinley High School.


"It changes it for parents," said Williamson, the woman who connected "Glee" with Lauren Potter, the actress who plays Becky; Robin Trocki, the actress who played Sue Sylvester's big sister, Jean; and Jordyn Orr, the baby who made her "Glee" debut as Sue's daughter Thursday night. They all have Down syndrome.


ADHD in the News:  Gestational Diabetes, Poverty Linked to ADHD

[Source: Health Day via us News and World Report]


Gestational diabetes and a lower socioeconomic status are the latest environmental factors to be associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to new research.

The German study found that children born to mothers who developed high blood sugar during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) were almost twice as likely to have ADHD as children born to mothers without gestational diabetes. The study also found more than double the risk of ADHD for children born


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

Autism in the News: Research: Neuronal Circuits In Autism Can Be Reversed

[Source: Medical News Today]


People with autism suffer from a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain that becomes evident in early childhood.


A specific dysfunction in neuronal circuits has been identified, by Professors Peter Scheiffele and Kaspar Vogt at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, that results from autism.


The researchers also discovered a way to reverse these neuronal changes. They believe that their findings, published in the journal Science, will have a great effect in drug development for treating autism.  


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

Cognitive Development in News: How Early Social Deprivation Impairs Long-Term Cognitive Function

[Source:  Medical News Today]


A growing body of research shows that children who suffer severe neglect and social isolation have cognitive and social impairments as adults. A study from Boston Children's Hospital shows, for the first time, how these functional impairments arise: Social isolation during early life prevents the cells that make up the brain's white matter from maturing and producing the right amount of myelin, the fatty "insulation" on nerve fibers that helps them transmit long-distance messages within the brain.

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

Yoga for Autism in the News: Well-Designed Study Shows Benefits of Morning Classroom Yoga for Children with Autism

Special Thanks to Omazing Kids Yoga for making the full text of this article available!


[Source: American Journal of Occupational Therapy]


Occupational therapists use school-based yoga programs, but these interventions typically lack manualization and evidence from well-designed studies. Using an experimental pretest-posttest control group design, we examined the effectiveness of the Get Ready to Learn (GRTL) classroom yoga program among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The intervention group received the manualized yoga program daily for 16 wk, and the control group engaged in their standard morning routine. We assessed challenging behaviors with standardized measures and behavior coding before and after intervention. We completed a between-groups analysis of variance to assess differences in  


Safety Alert:  FDA Expands Caution About SimplyThick 

Thanks to our #SLPeep friend @KXSLP  on Twitter for posting this expanded caution information:


[Source: FDA]


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants parents, caregivers and health care professionals to be aware that infants of any age may face an increased risk of developing a life-threatening condition if fed a thickening product called SimplyThick.


Since May 2011, the agency has identified 22 infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition in which tissue in the intestines becomes inflamed and dies, after being fed SimplyThick. Seven of those infants died.


Read the Rest of this Article a Link on our Blog

Language Development in the News:  Music Underlies Language Acquisition, Theorists Propose 

[Source:  Science Daily]


Contrary to the prevailing theories that music and language are cognitively separate or that music is a byproduct of language, theorists at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) advocate that music underlies the ability to acquire language.

"Spoken language is a special type of music," said Anthony Brandt, co-author of a theory paper published online this month in the journal Frontiers in Cognitive Auditory Neuroscience. "Language is typically viewed as fundamental to human intelligence, and music is often treated as being dependent on or derived from language. But from a developmental perspective, we argue that music comes first and language arises from


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

Therapy Idea of the Week:  Phonemic Awareness Activity That Your Kiddos Will Love! 

Ever been at home enjoying your family and had an epiphany where you said "Wow, THAT would make a great speech-language activity??'   Well I had one yesterday that I would like to share with you.  It is a hilarious way to work on phonemic awareness, and might even get your kids to talk about speech-language class with their families at the dinner table!


My daughter Jaime came home from school yesterday, babbling on in 'Pig Latin.'  She told me that it was her new "secret language" with her friends, and "Did I know Pig Latin?"  "Of course, I do," I replied, "but EVERYbody knows Pig Latin.  What will really baffle everyone is Ubbi Dubbi!"


 Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

Therapist Resource of the Week:  Great Video that Promotes the 'Giving Voice' Campaign!  

Cheers on this wonderful video by the Giving Voice Campaign of the UK.


The Giving Voice campaign aims to raise the awareness of speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties and the unique role that speech and language therapists can play in supporting these needs.


This video aims to highlight the variety of alternative ways of communicating that are available and that people are using these alternatives everyday.


Watch This Video and Learn More About Giving Voice Through a Link our Blog

App Review of the Week:  "R Intensive" 

[Source: Speech Room News]

You might have noticed that Smarty Ears has been releasing big updates to some of their early apps. This week they released an update on R Intensive. When I saw the update I knew many of you would be eyeing it  because I'm sure I'm not the only one with many /r/ kids on my caseload! Smarty Ears provided with the code, but the opinions are mine! 


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

Therapy Resource of the Week:  Version 1.3 of TxTools is Available Now (and Free) from the App Store!

PediaStaff is very excited to announce an update to TxTools - Version 1.3!  In addition to all the features you are using already, version 1.3 includes a couple of new features suggested by you, our users!


Download the New Version of TxTools Through a Link our Blog

OT/PT Corner: Small Changes = Big Differences

by Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist

I was just on vacation visiting my family while I recuperated and I was lucky enough to enjoy the beach for a few beautiful days.  Right before I flew home, I was able to walk about a mile or so on level ground without excessive fatigue in my hip.  At this point my protocol had me riding a stationary bike and using the elliptical a few days a week so my hip was getting the chance to build up some muscular endurance.  I was actually feeling pretty good about my progress.  Well, going to the beach gave me a chance to look at my progress again.  Yes, I was still doing really well but what I found was that just from walking about 200-300 yards across the sand (and mostly packed sand) to my beach chair and then back to the car (so 400-600 yards total), my hip muscles were exhausted that night.  In fact, they were still tired


Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: The Conversation Tree - A Visual Support for Conversational Mapping 

by Hanna Bogen


I'd like to dovetail on my previous post about executive functioning and its impact on the development of social-cognitive skills and pragmatic language. In its role as the brain's "secretary," executive functioning helps to regulate an individual's ability to map/plan a conversation and then to follow that plan. This isn't to say that every conversation should be planned out ahead of time-that would be completely crazy and impractical, as conversations are organic, dynamic, and sometimes take unpredictable turns based upon the participants' perspectives. What I mean by a conversational map is some kind of mental/visual

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Why Hopscotch Matters

Editor's Note:  Please enjoy this WONDERFUL article on why hopscotch is "total brain food!"

[Source: Moving Smart]

Hopscotch was one of my favorite games as a child and it still is today. In fact, Hopscotch proves one of my pet theories that (in most cases) what's fun for kids is good for kids. 

Here's my Child-At-Play/Play-At-Work analysis of this timeless, universal classic or 11 Great Reasons to Rush Out and Buy Some Chalk Today!  


CHILD'S PLAY. For kids, it feels good to move, and when it feels good, they want to do it over and over again... just as the rules of Hopscotch require.


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

Worth Repeating: Cooperative Learning from a Student's Point of View


Editor's Note:  Here is an interesting article that your colleagues teaching in classrooms might find worthwhile - group projects from the point of view of a kid with ADHD

by Lucy Lynette


I don't remember any of the content from my 9th grade history class. I couldn't tell you a single thing we were taught or put my finger on any of the events, dates, or people we studied; what I can remember though is the educational horror that was "cooperative learning"


I'm aware that most educators these days are familiar with this teaching method but for those of you outside the educational world, let me give you a little overview: the concept is to get kids to interact with their peers and think outside the box by giving them countless group activities and constantly putting them in front of the class to do "creative presentations." Sounds great, right? Wrong. Let me give you a student perspective.


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

Also Worth Repeating: 5 Sensory Ways to Celebrate Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month


Did you know that we are half-way through Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month?   More importantly, are you struggling with getting some nutrition into your picky eater? Then, you may want to include fruits and vegetables in your child's sensory diet in the near future.  For despite the common reprimand among the general population of "Don't play with your food!", playing with food is exactly what some sensory kids need to do before accepting certain healthy foods into their diets. 


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

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