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August 17, 2012
Weekly Edition
Issue 26, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you.   We also are re-featuring last week's SLP Corner article because the link last week was incorrect.   We apologize for the inconvenience.
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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Gene Defect Leading to Autistic Behavior Discovered  


Brain Regions Critical For Social Behavior And Cognition Affected By Gene Defect, Leading To Autism-Like Behavior

[Source:  Medical News Today]


Scientists affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have discovered how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism. The research offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.


Earlier research already has shown that the gene is defective in children with autism, but its effect on neurons in the brain was not known. The new studies in mice show that abnormal action of just this one gene disrupted energy use in neurons. The harmful changes were coupled with antisocial and prolonged repetitive behavior - traits found in autism.


Summer Camp for Kids with Autism is "Sense-ational!":

[Source:  Special Ed Post]


by Russ O'Reilly


The feel of grass on a baseball field, the kinesthetic movements involved with the sport or the sound of cheers after the solid crack of ball-to-bat contact are part of the enjoyment of baseball.

But the way children with sensory processing disorder and autism spectrum disorder receive those experiences can result in motor clumsiness, behavioral problems and anxiety.

"We want to challenge their senses," said certified therapeutic recreation specialist Shelly Beaver.

So, Penn State Altoona's nursing students and the Altoona Curve minor league baseball


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

The World's Smallest Dwarf Siblings Live Large at College

[Source: ABCNews.com]

Bradley (Brad), 21, and Bridgette (Bri), 23, Jordan are primordial dwarfs and the world's shortest living brother and sister, but they live life large.


Bri weighs 18 lbs. and is only 27 inches tall; Brad is 35 pounds on a 38-inch frame, according to the book of Guiness World Records.  


The Sandoval, Ill., siblings are part of a new eight-part television series, "Big Tiny" that will premier tonight and will air on subsequent Mondays at 10 p.m. on TLC.


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

Two Young Men with Down Syndrome Earn Eagle Scout Rank 

[Source:  Omaha.com via SpecialEdPost]

by Maggie O'Brien


Two Omaha men on Sunday became among the 5 percent of Boy Scouts to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The achievement - scouting's highest honor - is even more unusual because both have Down syndrome.


McNally and Markus, both 23, are members of Boy Scout Troop 76 and have been involved in scouting since age 8, when they joined a Cub Scout pack for boys with developmental disabilities.


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

Girls With ADHD More Prone to Self-Injury, Suicide in Adulthood

[Source:  Science Daily]


Girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - and their families - often look forward to the likely decline in visible symptoms such as fidgety or disruptive behavior as they mature into young women.


However, new findings from UC Berkeley caution that, as they enter adulthood, girls with histories of ADHD are more prone to internalize their struggles and feelings of failure - a development that can manifest itself in self-injury and even attempted suicide.

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

Postnatal Brain Development Research in the News 

White Matter Development In The Postnatal Brain Impacted By External Stimulation 


[Source: Science Daily]


A team at Children's National Medical Center has found that external stimulation has an impact on the postnatal development of a specific region of the brain. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the study used sensory deprivation to look at the growth and collection of NG2-expressing oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (NG2 cells) in the sensory cortex of the brain. This type of research is part of the Center for Neuroscience Research focus on understanding the development and treatment of white matter diseases.


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

ALERT: Popular Bumbo Seat Recalled

[Source:  USA Today]

A federal consumer safety agency recalled about 4 million of the popular Bumbo Baby Seats Wednesday after more than 20 reports of skull fractures among at least 84 falls.


The South African-based Bumbo International, maker of the seats, said it would provide owners with a repair kit to add a strap to secure babies in the seats.


Consumer groups have been pushing the Consumer Product Safety Commission for months to have the seats recalled and redesigned because babies can wriggle out of the seats and fall.


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

Pinterest Pin of the Week: Adaptation Station

Here is a very nice multi-page resource from the Prekindergarten Program for Children with Disabilities/Miami Dade Public School System that lists a variety of adaptive tools and supports for children with special needs.  It was re-pinned from our boards over 300 times last week:


Access This Great Pin Adaptive Ideas Through our Blog

Therapy Tool of the WeekMake a Reward Box 

[Source: Your Therapy Source]


Here is a nice little tool to start the new school year with.   Make this reward box, and reward students and children for their positive behavior or participation during therapy sessions or any activity?


Download the 'Reward Box' Through a Link on our Blog

Therapist Resource of the Week:  Down Syndrome Health Issues

This is a great site that I was reminded of this week by Tara Jimenez PT.  It was created by a pediatrician, Dr. Len Leshin.   I spoke with him back in 2010 and he gave PediaStaff permission to reprint several of the articles posted on his site.  All of the articles are great, but be sure to check out the articles by Winders, Kumin and Bruni that focus on therapy.


Visit Down Syndrome Health Issues Through a Link on our Blog

More Resources: Need Fresh, New Ideas This Year?

The new school year has started already in parts of the south, and will be starting soon for the rest of us!   Most of my teacher and therapist friends will spend a good deal of planning time trying to 'shake it up a little' to find fresh and novel ways to inspire our kiddos in the classroom (and ourselves as clinicians)!   


Luckily for all of us, there is Pinterest!   If you have already found Pinterest, you know that there are already thousands of pediatric and school based therapy clinicians on the social sharing site, posting great ideas for the classroom and clinic - and for take home carryover lessons.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog 
OT Corner: TV Teacher 'Alphabet Beats' Reviewed 

Editor's Note for Full Disclosure: Sarah and I met with the folks at TV Teacher last April at AOTA.  Sara and I offered to review TV Teacher on PediaStaff.  A free copy of the 'TV Teacher: Alphabet Beats' program was provided to Sarah at that time. The contents of this review and all opinions expressed herein are Sarah's own.


by  Sarah Girard, OTR/L


About the Program: The TV Teacher: Alphabet Beats is a handwriting program that utilizes videos and workbooks in order to teach children their letters, numbers and shapes. The videos are led by Miss Marnie who is 'The Lady of Many Characters' and are not only entertaining, but also attention grabbing.  The 5 minute video chapters for each letter are a novel and great way to  


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Teaching 'Yes' and 'No' to People with Communication Disorders
Editor's Note:   We featured this article last week, but the link went to the wrong article. We repeat it here with the correct link and apologize for the inconvenience

By: Landria Seals Green, M.A., CCC-SLP

Teaching people with communication impairments to respond to Yes/No questions requires a level of knowledge and understanding from the person(s) posing the question.  The person being a family member, a therapist, relevant person, or community provider. Therapists' working on Yes/No with clients, should understand that there are different levels of comprehension and thinking from clients that require increased levels of cognitive and language processing.

There are five levels of yes/no question comprehension and cognitive thinking.  To be clear, each level should have a mastery of 90% inclusive of fluency.  Fluency is the response rate the client must answer the question.  Fluency is important because typical brain developer communication is rapid and requires answers rapidly.  While situational patience is provided sometimes, therapists' should not depend on this when pushing our clients toward Independence.  As a therapist, my benchmark is the typical developer and typical peer social communication, cognitive, and language skills.  After all, inclusion is real and in order to prepare our clients, we must teach them the knowledge along with the verbal fluency the world requires.

 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Cerebral Palsy and Exercise
by: The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

All Americans should engage in regular physical activity at a level appropriate to their capacities, needs, and interests. All children and adults should set and reach a goal of accumulating 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Those who currently meet these standards may derive additional health and fitness benefits by becoming more physically active or including more vigorous activity (NIH Consensus Statement, December 18-20, 1995).

There is no longer any doubt that moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity confer immense benefits to one's health. Since the seminal work of Morris and colleagues in the early 1950s , there has been a plethora of research, documenting the benefits of physical activity in reducing morbidity and mortality. In the past three years, this influx of research has led to reports on the health benefits of physical activity from the Surgeon General, National Institutes of Health, and American College of Sports Medicine.


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

Worth Repeating - Sensory Diet for School
Editor's Note: This article is a re-post of a blog post by Hartley Steiner on Hartley's Life with 3 Boys,  an excellent mom-blog.   It was written for parents but definitely worth a read by therapists and a great one to share!

by Hartley Steiner


With school starting back up for many people in the next few weeks, I thought this would be good to re-post!


Many people ask me what a good sensory diet for school is, and unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer. But, in light of how many people are interested, I am going to breakdown what we do/have done for Gabriel in an effort to give you a starting point in determining the best fit for your own child.


PLEASE remember that I am offering mom to mom advice, which is in no way shape or form medical advice, and of course, should not be substituted for your own good judgment.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Worth Repeating - A Parent's Perspective - Life With My X-Men
[Source: Notes from a Pediatric Occupational Therapist]

Today I'd like to welcome Kristie of Life With My X-Men. Kristie and her husband, Eric, are the proud parents of two boys who have Fragile X Syndrome. Drew, age 12, and Blake, age 9, always keep them on their toes!   Our life in five words:  There's never a dull moment!  

Five qualities I look for in a therapist:

  1. Respect my knowledge about my kids. No, I don't have a degree on Fragile X, but I've been doing this awhile, and I know my kids. I can tell you what will turn my child into a blob who just slithered to the floor to avoid doing something.

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

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