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March 9, 2012
Issue 8, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Greetings! 

Hope everyone is warming up now that Spring is almost here!   Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you.

 
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Speech & Language Resource / Pinterest Pin of the Week:  Free Language Stuff.com 
  • Occupational Therapy Activity / Pin of the Week:  Clothespin Bird Games 
  • App Review of the Week:  Using 'Story Kit' for Gross Motor Adventures in Physical Therapy 
  • Pinterest Pinboard of the Week:  Therapy Activities for St. Patrick's Day 
Discussion Group Topics 

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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Down Syndrome in the News:  Understanding and Treating the Cognitive Dysfunction of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease
Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic disorder in live born children arising as a consequence of a chromosomal abnormality. It occurs as a result of having three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two. It causes substantial physical and behavioral abnormalities, including life-long cognitive dysfunction that can range from mild to severe but which further deteriorates as individuals with DS age.

Feeding and Nutrition in the News: A Study Reveals That Vegetables May Not Have To Hide

Pass the peas please! How often do we hear our children say this? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey of adolescents, only 21% of our children eat the recommended 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day. So not very many children are asking their parents to "pass the peas," and parents are resorting to other methods to get their children to eat their vegetables.

 

One popular method is hiding vegetables. There are even cookbooks devoted to doing this and new food products promise they contain vegetable servings but don't taste like vegetables! But this "sneaky" technique has been controversial, as some dietitians, doctors, and parents have argued that sneaking

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
(Creepy?) Technology in the News:  Speech Jammer Brings Talkers' Brains to Stuttering Halt
[Source:  MSNBC via Innovation News Daily]

Some people never know when to shut up during meetings, movies or while yammering away on the phone at public libraries. Now Japanese scientists have come up with a portable speech-jamming gun that forces obnoxious talkers to come to a stuttering halt.  

The "SpeechJammer" device uses a direction-sensitive microphone and speaker to silence talkers with their own words - a psychological trick that creates a delay between the time talkers speak and the time when they hear the words coming out of their mouths. The hearing delay trips up the brain's thinking processes and causes the person to stutter.

 

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

PediaStaff in the News: PediaStaff Article "Therapy Tips and Tricks" Featured on Parents.com

Congratulations to PediaStaff's own guest columnist, Loren Shlaes, OTR of the PediatricOT blog for her feature article on Ellen Seidman's great blog, To the Max on the Parents.com website.  PediaStaff has been working with Ellen to bring great therapy clinicians to special needs parents.  

Recently, Ellen asked PediaStaff to get a few of our favorite therapist bloggers to comment on the topic of "Therapy Tips and Tricks"   We so overwhelmed her with great ideas that she decided to feature Loren's responses on their very own post on Parents.com!

 

Read Loren's Great Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News: Why B�b� Doesn't Have ADHD
Editor's Note:  Thank You to Loren Shlaes of Pediatric OT for sending us this article

[Source:  Huffington Post]

In the United States, approximately 5 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France the percentage is a mere 0.05 percent. How come the epidemic of ADHD - which has established itself firmly in the United States - has almost completely passed over children in France?

 

First, is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the United States. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological -  

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News:  Study: Children with Autism Watch Inanimate Objects

[Source:  Daily Rx]

 

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are known to have difficulty communicating, especially in social situations. Soon researchers may learn how to communicate with them better through eye-tracking technology.

 

A group of 10 year old children, some with ASD, were shown movie scenes of school-children in social situations. Using eye-tracking technology, researchers were able to find out what the children focused on.

 

Katherine Rice, Ph.D., of the Marcus Autism Center, led the largest study to date to study social interactions in children with ASD. One hundred and nine children with ASD and 26 children without ASD participated in the study.

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric TBI in the News: Danger of Even Mild Concussions in the News

Editor's Note:  Here is a good article to share with the parents/caregivers of your kiddos, and with your colleagues.   Even though most people don't want to hear it, evidence is really starting to build against youth football!

 

[Source:  Huffington Post]

 

Children with even relatively mild concussions can have persistent attention and memory problems a year after their injuries, according to a study that helps identify which kids may be most at risk for lingering symptoms.

 

In most kids with these injuries, symptoms resolve within a few months but the study results suggest that problems may linger for up to about 20 percent, said study author Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University's Center for Biobehaviorial Health.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
The Campaign Against the 'R-Word' in the News: Exquisite Video by 'Love That Max's Mom - Would You Call My Child a Retard?

Pediatric and School-Based therapists and clinicians are uniquely qualified to spread the word about the amazing accomplishments and full lives that are led by all our special kids - and you all do that - every day! 
 

You also experience first hand, and also every day I am guessing, the power of misunderstanding and ignorance. 
 

Yesterday, our good friend Ellen Seidman over at Love that Max posted an absolutely beautiful video to YouTube on the "R-Word."

 
Watch this Video and Read the CNN and MSNBC Articles on it Through a Link on our Blog
Speech & Language Resource/Pin of the Week: Free Language Stuff.com 
Well Speech Lady Liz certainly did hit the jackpot last week when she found the site Free Language Stuff.com.   She wrote a blog post about it which we pinned to Pinterest.  So far we have seen over 200 repins for it just on our site.

 Visit This Great Site Through a Link on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Activity / Pinterest Pin of the Week: Clothespin Bird Games 

How cute are these?    Let's here it for our friends at Your Therapy Source who came up with these two adorable printable clothespin games -  Find the Bird and Bird Memory.   Perfect for spring!  

I also see SLPs using these as puppets and using them for speech and language as well.      One idea would be that you could put a target sound on the bird's belly!


View and Download this Activity Through a Link on our Blog
App Review of the Week : Using 'Story Kit' for Gross Motor Adventures in Physical Therapy
I love books. I often use books in therapy as motivation to have kids reach up to turn a page or do something in order for me to read the next page. I even used a book that one of our OT's had adapted and made it into a gross motor activity. That being said I haven't found many books that I can use to facilitate gross motor activities (I would love any suggestions if you know of any out there). So I finally decided to make up my own stories that could include gross motor activities. So far I have only made

 

Read the Rest of this App Review on our Blog

Pinterest Pinboard of the Week: Therapy Ideas and Activities for St. Patrick's Day
Ready for St. Patrick's Day?   It's a fun holiday to celebrate in the therapy room.  Come on by our Pinterest St. Patrick's Day board and check out the over 200 Activities, Resources and Treats you can make for the kiddos!

 

Check out Over 200 St. Patrick's Day Ideas Through a Link on our Blog

SLPeeps on Pinterest Discussion Round-Up: Build a Lego Tower Game Board 
Lots of good input this week on how we can use this downloadable Lego Tower Board game to advance speech and language objectives.  

I would like to give special shout outs to the the PediaStaff columnists and guest bloggers that contributed from the following speech and language blogs:  Chapel Hill Snippets, Minds in Bloom, Speech Time Fun, Speech Room News, Child Talk, The Speech Guy, All 4 My Child , and Activity Tailor

Read Suggestions for Playing 'Build a Lego Tower' for Speech/Language Objectives Through a Link on our Blog
Social PTs and OTs on Pinterest Discussion Round-Up: Build a Lego Tower Board Game
We also got great feedback on how we can use this downloadable Lego Tower Board game to advance OT and PT objectives. 

We would like to make a special shout out to the the PediaStaff columnists and guest bloggers that contributed to the conversation this week, from the following OT and PT sites and blogs:  Your Therapy Source, Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips, The Recycling Occupational Therapist, Jen's OT for Kids and Therapy Fun Zone

Read Great Suggestions on Making the Lego Tower Game Board an OT/PT Therapy Activity Through a Link on our Blog
New Pinterest Pin for Discussion What is Your Favorite (FREE) Online Therapy Resource?
Something different today.    So many of us are pinning and bookmarking, and saving the resources you like.   Let's share with one another all our FAVORITE online resources.   We will have one pin for Speech Language Pathologists and one for OTs, PTs and School Psychologists (sorry everyone, but I need to put you together for critical mass!)

What's your favorite site or resources in your online therapy toolbox?

 

Tell Us Your Favorite Resource Through a Link on our Blog
Occupational Therapy Corner: 10 Fun Ways to Use Toothpicks for Fine Motor Practice and Grasping Skills

By: Dana Elliot, OTR/L 

 

Another great household object that can be used to build sensory-motor skills is a toothpick.  Toothpicks are great for building fine motor and grasping skills.  Their small size encourages the child to use and strengthen their fingertips.  Challenge your little one to hold the toothpick with their thumb, index, and middle fingers only.  You can have them hold a cotton ball or another small object with their ring and little fingers if they are having difficulty separating the two sides of their hand.  Toothpicks are also great for building visual motor skills and eye-hand coordination as you use the toothpicks to manipulate other objects.

 

Here are 10 fun ways to get your kid engaged in toothpick fun!

1.  Stab It:  Use the toothpicks during snack time to pick up grapes, watermelon, strawberries, cheese cubes, or melons.  

2.  Build It:  Use toothpicks along with gum drops, marshmallows, or clay/playdoh to create a fun 3-D design, like our house or train.  

 
Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Is the Toy Industry Listening to Kids With Special Needs?

by:  Sherry Artemenko, M.S., CCC-SLP  

 

Earning bling for my princess tiara, landing at the secret rangers headquarters, shooting mini-marshmallows, cuddling up in a wearable puppet, guessing, rhyming, plinking and popping, I was captivated by every minute of the 2012 New York International Toy Fair. The air was alive with excitement as I talked to inventors, tried out products, and listened to manufacturers about the play potential of the best new products to benefit our kids with special needs. For the first time in my 6 years of attending the show, I saw an increased interest from the toy industry in learning how their products can be helpful. Companies were hearing from retailers that parents had successfully used their products to strengthen specific skills related to disabilities.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog


Pediatric Therapy Corner: We're Getting a Divorce 
Editor's Note:  We are honored  that one of our very favorite Special Needs Mom Bloggers,  Hartley Steiner offered to let PediaStaff reprint this poignant, personal story.   Definitely something to print off for safekeeping and sharing the next time you hear that one of your special needs families is going through this rough time.    Thank You so much, Hartley for opening your heart and sharing this difficult experience with us all so publicly

by Hartley Steiner


I sat next to my husband at the kitchen table, looking at all three of my boys eating their lunch, wrapped in multicolored towels, still wet from their swimming lessons, and I began to choke up before a single word left my mouth.  

"Boys," I began, not sure if I would remember all I planned to say, even though I had my notes and a book tightly in my grasp.  When I had their attention, I just said it, plain and simple, "Dad and I are getting divorced."  

My husband and I had only been separated about two weeks at the time.  The word 'divorce' was almost as foreign to me as it was to my children.  Having to tell any child about divorce is heart-wrenching, incredibly difficult and probably one of the only times in your life where each word you say truly matters.  But, throw in special needs children, who see the world as black and white, without the grey area that divorce falls into, and who are often confused by language, relying heavily on semantics, and each word carries exponentially more weight.

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - The Evocative Power of Toys

Editor's Note: Check out the comment on this article submitted by PediaStaff Guest Columnist and SLP, Sherry Artemenko of Play on Words!  

 

[Source:  Wall Street Journal]

 

by Ralph Gardner

 

Here's how I would celebrate FAO Schwarz's 150th anniversary if it were up to me: I'd move the store back across the street, to the southeast corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue-as everyone knows, it's now in the GM Building-and renovate it so it looked just like it did in 1963, give or take a year, when I was in my toy heyday.

 

During my childhood, after poring through the catalog at home, picking out the toys I wanted and plotting (usually unsuccessfully) how I was going to persuade my parents to buy them for me, I'd get to visit the store a couple of times a year. It was like seeing your favorite celebrities in

 

Read the Rest of this Article on our Blog 
Also Worth Repeating - In Defense of Board Games

(As Electronics Gobble Up our Children's Childhood) 

by Jill Mays

 

Call me old fashioned, but I felt compelled to respond to a front page article in the

Sunday NY Times about old fashioned board games and the reproduction of them digitally.  While certain strategies and dynamics of the game stay intact, I want to list here the many aspects of a PHYSICAL Board game that build skills that digital versions lack. 

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