March 7, 2014
Issue 10, Volume 7
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy March!

I am sure you are all looking forward to the "lamb" part of March like we are!

News Items:
  • Talking Neanderthals Challenge the Origins of Speech
  • Biological Explanation for Gender Disparity in Autism
  • Causal Link indicated Between Vitamin D, Serotonin Synthesis and Autism
  • Even Children's First Impressions Are Based on Appearance
  • Children with ADHD Have Higher Risk of Teenage Obesity and Physical Inactivity
  • Advocacy Alert: Please Help Save Early Intervention in New York State!
PediaStaff News
  • PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  Carolina on My Mind
  • Featured Job of the Week:  EI in New Mexico!
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • OT Activities of the Week: Fun with Mini Sponge Blocks
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week: Snowman Snowball Game
  • Book Review: Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
  • Apps / Tech of the Week: St. Patrick's Day Fun

Articles and Special Features 

  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: What is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC)?
  • SLP Corner: The Common Core-Informal Kindergarten Math Vocabulary Assessment
  • Physical Therapy Corner: What's Wrong with W-Sitting?
  • Worth Repeating: 20 Proprioceptive Input Ideas for Home and School
  • Also Worth Repeating: Our Perception of Taste: What's Sound Got to Do with It?
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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The Origins of Speech in the News:  Talking Neanderthals Challenge the Origins of Speech    

[Source:  Science Daily]


We humans like to think of ourselves as unique for many reasons, not least of which being our ability to communicate with words. But ground-breaking research by an expert from the University of New England shows that our 'misunderstood cousins,' the Neanderthals, may well have spoken in languages not dissimilar to the ones we use today.


Pinpointing the origin and evolution of speech and human language is one of the longest running and most hotly debated topics in the scientific world. It has long been believed that other beings, including the Neanderthals with whom our ancestors shared Earth for thousands of years, simply lacked the necessary cognitive capacity and vocal hardware for speech.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Autism in the News:  Biological Explanation for Gender Disparity in Autism  

[Source:  Psych Central]


Although professionals know that males have a higher incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders - such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - than females, the underlying reasons have been unclear. A new study provides an explanation for this observation.


Termed the "female protective model," researchers present compelling evidence that females require more extreme genetic mutations than do males to push them over the diagnostic threshold for neurodevelopmental disorders.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog 

Nutrition and Autism in the News:  Causal Link indicated Between Vitamin D, Serotonin Synthesis and Autism 

Editor's Note:  Yet more evidence that nutrition may be a powerful combatant against ASD and ADD symptoms.  


[Source:  Medical News Today]


A new study by Rhonda Patrick, PhD and Bruce Ames, PhD of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) demonstrates the impact that Vitamin D may have on social behavior associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr. Patrick and Dr. Ames show that serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, three brain hormones that affect social behavior, are all activated by vitamin D hormone. Autism, which is characterized by abnormal social behavior, has previously been linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain and to low vitamin D levels, but no mechanism has linked the two until now. 


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog 

Pediatric Social Psychology in the News:  Even Children's First Impressions Are Based on Appearance 

New research suggests children are similar to adults in judging an individual's character traits simply by looking at the person's face.


Psychological scientist Emily Cogsdill, Ph.D., of Harvard University determined that children as young as three make judgments on trustworthiness and competence from facial impressions.


And, the children show remarkable consensus in the judgments they make, the findings suggest.

The research shows that the predisposition to judge others based on physical features starts early in childhood and does not require years of social experience.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

ADHD in the News:  Children with ADHD Have Higher Risk of Teenage Obesity and Physical Inactivity  

Editor's Note:  While this study is certainly not 'news' to those of us who live and work with children with ADHD, perhaps this empirical evidence would be useful to show parents and guardians so they can work extra hard to encourage their children with the disorder to be more active.  


[Source:  Medical News Today]


Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to become obese and sedentary teenagers, according to new research.


Previous studies have suggested a link between ADHD and obesity, but whether one leads to the other is unclear. One way to better understand the link is to follow children through to adolescence.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Advocacy Alert:  Please Help Save Early Intervention in New York State!   

Editor's Note:  Please sign this petition co-sponsored by the New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the New York Physical Therapy Association, and the New York State Occupational Therapy Association - YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIVE IN NY TO SIGN!




Infants & Toddlers with disabilities need your help before it is too late!

As of April, 2013, NY State made significant administrative changes to the Early Intervention Program making it extremely difficult for children born with developmental delays to continue to receive much-needed therapies that can compensate for their issues, allowing them to thrive and grow to their full potential.


Read the Rest of this Article and Sign the Petition Through a Link our Blog

PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  Carolina on My Mind 

Congratulations to Victoria L. on her new contract position providing SLP services to children who are blind and hard of hearing in South Carolina for the 2014-2015 school year.  Way to go Victoria!

Featured Job of the Week:  Early Intervention in New Mexico  

Our client is a provider of Early Intervention Services in the state of New Mexico.  We are seeking a Pediatric Physical Therapist for Hobbs, Roswell, and Clovis for a full caseload. The position is full time and offers full benefits.  Therapists with experience working with the birth to three population are the best fit for this position.


Learn About / Apply for This Job on our Blog

OT Activities of the Week:  Fun with Mini Sponge Blocks  

Make these mini sponge blocks to encourage strengthening in the fingers, visual spatial skills, visual motor skills and grading of movements.  The bonus is that they are super light to carry around from school to school if you are a therapist who travels from school to school or a parent who needs to bring along some busy bag sometimes.


Read More About These Acitvities Through a Link on our Blog

Pinterest Pin of the Week:  Snowman Snowball Game  

As those of you on the east coast know, winter is not over yet!  Check out this fantastic idea that we saw on Pinterest that promotes isolated finger movements, Hand strengthening, visual motor coordination skills. 

We have looked ALL over the internet for the source of this idea and cannot find the original poster.   If you are the creator of this activity, please speak up so we can link to your blog and give you credit!!


Look at this Excellent Activity on our Blog

Book Review:  Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets 

[Source:  Family] 

David tries really hard, but he just can't stand in line like the other kids. Mrs. Gorski is always interrupting his thinking and correcting him.  Even at home, he knows he gets on everyone's nerves. When Mrs. Gorski asks for a family-teacher conference, David spends the weekend brainstorming a cure for the wiggle fidgets. Maybe then everyone will be proud of him. This picture book describes the feelings and uncontrollable urges of an ADHD kid and has specific tips for helping the child in a classroom setting.  This children's picture book is part of the Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.


Read More Reviews of this Series Through a Link on our Blog

Apps/Tech of the Week:  St. Patrick's Day Fun  

[Source:  Technology Rocks Seriously]


Looking for some fun activities for the iPad to use in therapy for St. Patrick's Day?    The 'Technology Rocks Seriously' blog has a new post featuring over 30 apps, online games and even a few printables (most of them free) that can be adapted for therapy.


Features include (but are not limited to) links to a leprechaun shapes app, a coloring app that turns completed artwork into a slider puzzle, interactive story books, a mad lib type activity, a visual discrimination shamrock find puzzle, and even St. Patrick's Day Mahjong Matching game. 


Visit this Post Throug a Link on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: What is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC)?

[Source:  AMC]

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is a condition that causes many joints to be stiff and crooked at birth. A newborn with Arthrogryposis lacks the normal range of motion in one or more joints. A joint that lacks normal range of motion is called a joint contracture. These joint contractures develop before birth (prenatally) and are evident at birth (congenitally). Arthro means joint, Gryposis means crooked, multiplex means multiple and congenita means existing at birth or present at birth. Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita is an umbrella and descriptive diagnosis. This means Arthrogryposis can be caused by an underlying condition or syndrome. This underlying condition is usually the type of Arthrogryposis.

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

SLP Corner: The Common Core-Informal Kindergarten Math Vocabulary Assessment

Editor's Note:   This article excellently  reminds us that with great change can come even greater language and vocabulary challenges for some of our students.    Thank you Ruth for having your head up and going above and beyond as always!


by Ruth Morgan CCC-SLP


Service delivery for my kids has changed over the decades-now for my regular education kids, I try to go into the classroom as much as possible.  Often, there are strategies and a little coaching that needs done and the child is able to do reasonably well, or at least participate in the curriculum with his peers.  With the old familiar curriculum, the NC Standard Course of Study, I felt like the classroom was a comfortable place to go-I knew the expectations and I knew how to help.


Then things changed, rather abruptly, with the introduction of the Common Core.  I'm not anti-common core, but I'm finding that for the two curriculum areas-language arts and math, there are lofty language and verbal problem solving expectations, and my kids, with language deficits and vocabulary difficulties, struggle mightily.  Someone like the teachers and me needs to fill in the holes, but what are the holes to fill?  Teachers struggle with appropriate interventions, not knowing how to easily find the gaps in prior learning.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Physical Therapy Corner: What's Wrong with W-Sitting?

[Source:  The Inspired]


I thought it would be appropriate during our snow theme to address an everyday issue that I come across as a pediatric physical therapist in a preschool setting.   Each time I walk into a classroom, I can find at least 3 children who are on the floor in the W-Sitting position...and they kind of remind me of melting snowman.   Their legs are wide around their bottoms, their trunk posture is often droopy and they aren't able to move their arms outside of their base of support to play.  I am constantly   saying "fix your legs" or "NO "W" SITTING!".  What's so wrong with W-sitting?  Let's explore.


W-sitting looks like this:  a child sits on the floor, their bottoms are between their legs, and their knees are bent with their legs rotated away from the body - if you stand above them and look down, it looks like their legs are forming a "W".  All children have the potential to begin the W-sitting habit. In this position, kids' base of support is wider and their center of gravity is lower allowing for increased stability through their hips and trunk.   It's a convenient position for play because they do not have to work on keeping their balance while also concentrating on toys.


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

Worth Repeating: 20 Proprioceptive Input Ideas for Home and School 



The proprioceptive system is input received through receptors in the joints and muscles with movement and heavy work. When these receptors are activated, body awareness is improved and the person knows where his/her body is in space. Children who tend to crave proprioceptive input:

Also Worth Repeating: Our Perception of Taste: What's Sound Got to Do with It?

[Source:  ASHAsphere]


by Melanie Potock


My first love as a speech-language pathologist is pediatric feeding.  I spend lots of time talking to little kids about "carrot crunchies" and "pea-pops" and various silly names for the sounds that different foods make in our mouths as we explore all of the sensory components of food in weekly treatment sessions.


Is it possible that sound is a larger component of our eating experience than many of us realize? What's sound got to do with eating, or more specifically, with taste? Discovering how the sound of

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

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