July 3, 2014
Issue 27, Volume 7
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Independence Day!

We hope you have a safe and fun 4th of July planned.  Please enjoy our abbreviated, holiday week newsletter. 
News Items:
  • Psychostimulants and Cardiovascular Risk in Children with ADHD
  • Chronic Childhood Stress Leaves Lasting Impact on Brain
  • Researchers Explain the Link Between Language and Emotions
  • The Secrets of Children's Chatter: Research Shows Boys and Girls Learn Language Differently
PediaStaff News
  • PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  OT in Wisconsin Schools
  • PediaStaff Interview Tip:  The Importance of Body Language
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Speech Therapy Resource of the Week:  Photo Artic Cards from Busy Bugs
  • Therapy Activity of the Week:  Bubble Wrap Learning
  • And Another Activity of the Week:  Top 6 Kids Yoga Poses for Bedtime: A Calming Sequence

Articles and Special Features 

  • SLP Corner: Speechcraft -  The Power of Co-Created Games
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner:  Can Free Play Prevent Depression and Anxiety In Kids?
  • Worth Repeating: Is "Sensory Processing Disorder" a Real Medical Condition?
  • Also Worth Repeating:  Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Psychostimulants and Cardiovascular Risk in Children with ADHD

[Source:  Medical News Today]
Psychostimulant use to treat children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing worldwide, and the evaluation of the cardiovascular safety of stimulant medication used in treatment has been a recent topic of concern. The results of the first nationwide study of the cardiovascular safety of stimulants in children and adolescents are published in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP), a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the JCAP website.


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

Chronic Childhood Stress Leaves Lasting Impact on Brain

[Source:  Psych Central]

Extreme stress experienced during childhood, such as poverty, neglect, and physical abuse, might alter the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and the processing of stress and emotion.


These changes may be linked to negative effects on behavior, health, employment, and even the choice of romantic partners later in life, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.\


"We haven't really understood why things that happen when you're two, three, four years old stay with you and have a lasting impact," said Dr. Seth Pollak, co-leader of the study and UW-Madison professor of psychology.


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

Researchers Explain the Link Between Language and Emotions:

[Source: Medical News Today]


A team of researchers headed by the Erfurt-based psychologist Prof. Ralf Rummer and the Cologne-based phoneticist Prof. Martine Grice has carried out some ground-breaking experiments to uncover the links between language and emotions. They were able to demonstrate that the articulation of vowels systematically influences our feelings and vice versa.


The research project looked at the question of whether and to what extent the meaning of words is linked to their sound. The specific focus of the project was on two special cases; the sound of the long 'i' vowel (/i:/) and that of the long, closed 'o' vowel (/o:/). Rummer and Grice were particularly interested in finding out whether these vowels tend to occur in words that are positively or negatively charged in terms of emotional impact. For this purpose, they carried out two fundamental experiments, the results of which have now been published in Emotion, the journal of the American Psychological Association.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Research Shows Boys and Girls Learn Language Differently   

[Source: Science Daily]


Experts believe language uses both a mental dictionary and a mental grammar. The mental 'dictionary' stores sounds, words and common phrases, while mental 'grammar' involves the real-time composition of longer words and sentences. For example, making a longer word 'walked' from a smaller one 'walk'.


However, most research into understanding how these processes work has been carried out with adults.


"Most researchers agree that the way we use language in our minds involves both storing and real-time composition," said lead researcher Dr Cristina Dye, a specialist in child language development at Newcastle University. "But a lot of the specifics about how this happens are unclear, such as identifying exactly which parts of language are stored and which are composed.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

PediaStaff Placement of the Week:  OT for Wisconsin Schools 

Congratulations to Cyndi K., OTR/L on her new direct hire position with a school district in Wisconsin through PediaStaff.   She will be a full-time employee of the school district and will work for them, rather than through PediaStaff.


Did you know that PediaStaff places both contract and direct hire?   Yep!  We do.  Call us today to learn more at 866-733-4278 x 500

PediaStaff Interview Tip :  The Importance of Body Language  

I must have watched the Disney princess movies too many times because when I think of "body language,"  I immediately start hearing Ursula singing about it in The Little Mermaid. She's talking to Ariel about impressing men, but the same holds for a job interview. "Don't underestimate the importance of body language!" The quality of your handshake, how you cross your legs, where you put your hands, whether you touch your hair or face, eye contact and your posture are all critical to to how you will be perceived - sometimes subconsciously, by your interviewer.


Read the Rest of this Post on our Blog

Speech Therapy Resource of the Week:  Photo Artic Cards  

Thank You to our friends at Busy Bugs for letting us know about this fantastic collection of free photographic articulation cards on their website!


[Source:  Busy Bugs]


We love using real photo images rather than line drawings with younger children.  The target words on each page have been carefully chosen so that they are recognisable to young children.  Most words are one syllable (and some two syllable) to make home practice more simple.  Choose a sound and you can download it right away and start playing!


Download these Excellent Cards Through a Link on our Blog

Therapy Idea of the Week:  Bubble Wrap Learning  

[Source:  Discover Explore Learn]

Thank You to Discover Explore Learn for this Fantastic Idea that makes great carry-over work for the summer as well as school-time fun!


Use colored markers to write a variety of letters, numbers, and shapes on a piece of bubble wrap.   Let child pop letters and numbers with either a push-pin (for fine motor practice) or with their fingers (hand strengthening).

Learn More About this Activity on our Blog

Activity of the Week: Yoga Poses for Bedtime: Calming Sequence  

[Source:  Sing Song Yoga] 

Ahhhh!  Summer is here.  After long lovely days at the beach, at the ballpark, on the playground and running around the neighborhood, kids tend to remain wired when heading to bed.  Unless of course a calming activity is deliberately infused into the routine leading up to bedtime.


One such activity can be a short series of kids yoga poses.  Here are top 6 yoga poses for helping your child begin to calm their bodies and minds - in as little as 8 minutes.


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

SLP Corner: Speechcraft -  The Power of Co-Created Games

by Lucas Steuber, MA-T, MS SLP/CF


We've been having a lot of conversations here at the Language Lab in the past few weeks about creating themed materials that are engaging for the kids that we work with. A few days ago, I was speaking with another member of the team about ways to leverage collaborative gaming and current cultural trends to promote engagement from kids in speech therapy, and we started talking about the sorts of games that we enjoyed playing as kids. She shared the following story about a trip to the sea lion caves on the Oregon coast, a popular (and notoriously smelly) destination for families:


When I was a child we went on a day trip to the Oregon coast to see the sea lions. The road there was long and winding, and at some point I remember my parents had to pull over because I was carsick. Eventually, though, we finally made it to our destination. The next day, my mother made me a board game of our trip. She used my markers on a large sheet of paper and drew a long, S-curved, winding road across the page, interspersed with actual events from our trip. It had a stop on the road that said: "Get carsick. Lose a turn." She even listed the name of the restaurant where we ate as one of the stops on the road, making a tiny sign post. The starting point was a drawing of a little house and the ending point had a sketch of the shoreline with a starfish and seashells. We used the game pieces and the dice from one of the other board games that we had in the house. 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: The Power of Free Play - TED Talk

[Source:  Mindshift and TEDx]

Over the past 50-60 years, play time in kids' lives has been drastically cut. School days and years are longer and parents often schedule enrichment activities for their children instead of giving them space to direct their own play. Children are rarely given the freedom to direct their own activities, leading to a persistent rise in children feeling that they have no control over their lives. And, while correlation doesn't prove causation, Dr. Peter Gray, who has been studying play for years, says there's strong evidence that in this case, the decline in play is leading to a rise in depression and acute anxiety among young people. 


Read the Rest of This Article and Watch Dr. Gray's Excellent TED Talk Through a Link on our Blog

Worth Repeating: Is SPD a Real Medical Condition?

Editor's Note:  Thank You to my friends on the Pediatric OT group on Facebook for posting this article from New Republic Magazine.  It prompted vigorous discussion on the board.   I particularly think this comment by Beverly Moskowitz, was most thought provoking:


It is NOT the responsibility of OTs to educate the medical or psychiatric community. Rather it IS the responsibility of OTs to conduct large scale random controlled studies to prove the effectiveness of the treatments they are employing. My friends, please do not read this article as a criticism or dismissal or Sensory Processing or of its existence. Instead, read it as a Call for Action. This is the current state of the art. Anecdotal, passionate or short-lived case studies are not going to change anyone's minds. We as OTs believe our parent's reports of the severe difficulties their children have. But we must be more methodical, scientific and objective in coming up with conclusive proof that 1) This is a unique entity, and 2) The best treatment is clinical.


by Jenny Jarvie


Jacob Trigg was barely three years old when his mother, Pamela, began to notice he was not quite like other boys. While his classmates ran amok in preschool, he would find a quiet corner and sit by himself. At the age of four, he begged to leave restaurants, refused to play sports, and showed little interest in making friends. It took several adults to hold him down for a haircut.

Also Worth Repeating: Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers

[Source: Edutopia]

During summer days, if you're a top teacher, you'll take time to improve your best asset -- you. If somehow it's not clear why that's so important, look at it this way: when financial times are tight, our schools can improve the bottom line in four ways, three which aren't beneficial for us as teachers.

  1. They can cut teachers and staff.
  2. They can cut benefits.
  3. They can lower quality.
  4. We teachers can become more productive and better at our jobs.
Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog

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