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August 10, 2012
Weekly Edition
Issue 25, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
          
Greetings!  

Summer is just about over for many of you, especially in the South.   Hope you had a great one.    Here is our newsletter offering for you:
 
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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Around The World:  Kenya's Youngest 'Outcasts' Emerge From Shadows

[Source NPR.org]

 

Kenyan Alice Njeri knew by the fourth month that something was terribly wrong with her infant son, Mike. When the baby boy was in the hospital recovering from a case of pneumonia, the doctors told Njeri that he was paralyzed on his left side and mentally disabled.

 

It appeared that Mike would grow up severely disabled in a country that shunned children with disabilities as curses from God.

 

Njeri left the house every day to pick up menial labor working in gardens for $1 a day - the going wage for unskilled labor in Kenya - in order to help support the other four in their family.  

With her other children at school, that meant leaving Mike alone every day on the floor of her apartment. She returned every afternoon to find him filthy and distraught.

 

Social Skills in the News: Social Connection More Important Route To Adult Well-Being Than Academic Ability

[Source:  Medical News Today]

 

Positive social relationships in childhood and adolescence are key to adult well-being, according to Associate Professor Craig Olsson from Deakin University and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Australia, and his colleagues. In contrast, academic achievement appears to have little effect on adult well-being. The exploratory work, looking at the child and adolescent origins of well-being in adulthood, is published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.

 

We know very little about how aspects of childhood and adolescent development, such as academic and social-emotional function, affect adult well-being - defined here as a combination of a sense of coherence, positive coping strategies, social engagement and self-perceived strengths.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Dyslexia in the News: Inspiration for Your Students with Dyslexia: Dyslexia Never Sacked Tim Tebow
[Source:  New York Post]

Tim Tebow was 7 years old when his mother Pam had him tested for learning disabilities. Tebow took a few tests to see how he processed information and what his IQ was. The results showed he was dyslexic.

 

Seventeen years later, Tebow is sitting on the edge of the Jets' practice field. The quarterback just finished his best practice of training camp as he sat down with The Post to discuss the challenges dyslexia has presented.

 

"There's a lot of people that have certain processing disabilities and it has nothing to do with your

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
IDEA in the News: States Struggle To Meet Special Education Goals
[Source:  Disability Scoop]

 

The nation is showing some signs of improvement in educating students with disabilities, though federal officials say nearly half of states continue to need help.

 

For the 2010-2011 school year, 30 states met a series of goals for their special education programs, according to an analysis of new U.S. Department of Education ratings that was done by Education Week. That's up from 28 the year prior.

 

Each year, the Education Department assesses how well states live up to their plans to meet the needs

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Insurance for Autism in the News:  The Day the World Changed for Military Families Impacted by Autism
[Source:  Huffington Post (Military Families Week]

For tens of thousands of military families impacted by autism, Thursday, July 26, was a day when everything changed. That was the day Judge Reggie B. Walton, a United States District Judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Kenneth and Dawn Berge, and the class of similarly affected families in Civil Action No. 10-0373 (Berge v. United States of America). This case was about whether or not TRICARE, the military's health insurance program, must cover Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) as a medically necessary therapy for military dependents with autism under the basic TRICARE coverage. Judge Walton's decision was an emphatic yes!

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Bilingualism in the News: Study: Bilingualism 'Can Increase Mental Agility'

[Source:  Science Daily]

 

Bilingual children outperform children who speak only one language in problem-solving skills and creative thinking, according to research led at the University of Strathclyde.

 

A study of primary school pupils who spoke English or Italian- half of whom also spoke Gaelic or Sardinian- found that the bilingual children were significantly more successful in the tasks set for them. The Gaelic-speaking children were, in turn, more successful than the Sardinian speakers.

 

The differences were linked to the mental alertness required to switch between languages, which could develop skills useful in other types of thinking. The further advantage for Gaelic-speaking children may have been due to the formal teaching of the language and its extensive literature.

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Nutrition in the News: Long Term Study: Children's Healthy Diets Linked to Higher IQ
[Source: Science Daily]

Children fed healthy diets in early age may have a slightly higher IQ, while those on heavier junk food diets may have a slightly reduced IQ, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

 

The study - led by University of Adelaide Public Health researcher Dr Lisa Smithers - looked at the link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months and two years, and their IQ at eight years of age.

 

The study of more than 7,000 children compared a range of dietary patterns, including traditional and contemporary home-prepared food, ready-prepared baby foods, breastfeeding, and 'discretionary' or junk foods. 

 

Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Attention, Listening Skills in the News: Study: In Early Childhood, The Ability To Listen, Pay Attention, And Complete Important Tasks Is Crucial For Success Later In Life

[Source:  Medical News Today]

 

Young children who are able to pay attention and persist with a task have a 50 percent greater chance of completing college, according to a new study at Oregon State University.

 

Tracking a group of 430 preschool-age children, the study gives compelling evidence that social and behavioral skills, such as paying attention, following directions and completing a task may be even more crucial than academic abilities.

 

And the good news for parents and educators, the researchers said, is that attention and persistence skills are malleable and can be taught.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog 
Autism Gone Viral: Here's Some Inspiration to Share with the Kiddos: Stephen Wiltshire

Saw this seriously inspirational story on several Facebook pages today (originally posted by Artify It) and had to share!  

 

Also check out http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk/ 

 

Check out This Amazing Artist with Autism Through a Link on our Blog

Theory of Mind in the News: Children's Brains Change As They Learn To Think About Others

[Source: Medical News Today]

 

Researchers have shown that activity in a certain region of the brain changes as children learn to reason about what other people might be thinking.

 

At around the age of 4 or 5, children begin to think and reason about other people's thoughts and emotions; they start to develop a skill that scientists call "theory of mind".

 

Now, a new study shows that a region of the brain that was already known to be involved in the use of this skill in adults, changes its pattern of activity in children as they begin to acquire theory of mind reasoning for themselves.

 

Rebecca Saxe, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and colleagues, suggest their findings provide a good basis for studying theory of mind impairments in autistic children.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog
Stuttering Research in the News:  Brains Scans Show That Just One Week of Therapy May Help Reorganize Brain, Reduce Stuttering

[Source Science Daily.com]

 

Just one week of speech therapy may reorganize the brain, helping to reduce stuttering, according to a study published in the August 8, 2012, online issue of Neurology�, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

 

The Chinese study gives researchers new insights into the role of different brain regions in stuttering, which affects about one percent of adults.

 

The study involved 28 people with stuttering and 13 people who did not stutter. Fifteen of the people with stuttering received a week of therapy with three sessions per day. The other stutterers and the controls received no therapy. Therapy involved the participants repeating two-syllable words that were spoken to them and then reading words presented to them visually. There was no time limit in either task. The average scores on stuttering tests and percent of stuttered syllables improved for those who received the therapy. There was no change in scores for the stutterers who did not receive therapy.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog
Pinterest Pin of the Week: Life Skills Ages 2-18
Here is an excellent blog post from Busy Kids = Happy Mom that we pinned last week, that has seen over 400 repins so far. Whether or not our kiddos with special needs can do these things at the ages suggested here, it is none the less an impressive list of skills to be working on.

 

Access This Great Pin of Life Skills Through our Blog

Therapy Idea of the Week: Extremely Cool Craft Idea for Therapy: DIY Gelatin Plastic For Rainbows and More

This is one of the coolest craftivities I have seen in a long time.   Special Thanks to the Crafty Crow for calling attention to the Dilly Dally Art blog where it appeared this spring.

 

Did you know that gelatin can be used for more than just eating?  You can also use it to make a plastic like material that is perfect for making sun catchers, mobiles and much more!  Making the "plastic" requires only a simple list of supplies and is a great "following directions" activity.    Then use the gelatin to practice scissors skills, hole punching (hand strengthening), stringing (fine motor and coordination) and just all around really cool fun!  I want to make some!

 

Learn How to Make Plastic Gelatin Creations Through a Link on our Blog

Talking Tech: iPad Essentials - What can iBooks do for you? 

by Sean Sweeney, CCC-SLP

 

This post reprinted with express permission of the author as it appeared on the Speech Techie blog 

iBooks is a free app from Apple (it doesn't come with your iPad but is the first app the App Store suggests when you open it) that is an increasingly interesting e-book app with implications for speech and language interventions.

 

Initially, I was myself skeptical about the potential of e-books, because I actually really appreciate the value of traditional paper, particularly picture books, in therapy activities. However, I think iBooks is 

 

Learn More About Using iBooks for Speech Language Therapy on our Blog

OT Corner: Callirobics For Kids - Writing Skills With Music

Editor's Note for Full Disclosure: Sarah and I met with Liora Laufer of Callirobics last November at ASHA.  Sara and I offered to review Callirobics on PediaStaff.  A free copy of the Callirobics program was provided to Sarah at that time.  The contents of this review and all opinions expressed herein are Sarah's own. 

 

by Sarah Gerard, OTR/L

 

Music shows to be a highly motivational tool for children. How many times have you caught yourself singing to your children to get them to eat, transition between activities, go to the bathroom or go to bed? How about to write? There are handwriting programs out there that incorporate music to provide verbal cues on how to hold your pencil, where to start your letters, what the helping hand does, etc. They can be a catchy and useful way to provide verbal cues for learning the basic functional skills of handwriting.

 

Callirobics, founded by Liora Laufer takes a different approach to music and handwriting. She utilizes the rhythm of familiar music to help teach the basic strokes and movement of 

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Teaching 'Yes' and 'No' to People with Communication Disorders
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 communciation, 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: Improving a Child's Sleep-Wake Cycle

by Natan Gendleman, PT

 

Sleep is a crucial factor in a child's development, health, and lifestyle. It's important to understand your child and notice how he functions through the day, what activities he engages in, and his daily sleep patterns. This becomes especially important when looking at a child that has a serious condition such as epilepsy. In doing so, you can help him eliminate activities which can affect his sleep, and thus decrease the likelihood of him experiencing seizures or other serious health problems. 

 

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Mega Button Blast - Huff Post Essay on One Parent's Experience with Sensory Integration Dysfunction
[Source:  Huffington Post]

by Leda Natikin Nelis

 

When my son was a toddler, he had many fears. He was afraid of loud noises, ostriches and doorknockers in the shape of lions. But what terrified my son the most was a McDonald's dessert called "Mega Button Blast."

 

The television adverts for this confection featured explosions of chocolate buttons and cascades of ice cream intercepted by high-speed streams of fudge sauce. The noises, the rapid movement and the unexpected collision of these ingredients rendered my son a quivering heap of fear. Each time we visited McDonald's during the seemingly endless six months of this promotion, we had to stand in the far left hand queue, as far away from the 

 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Also Worth Repeating - Dizziness Can Be a Drag - Coping with Balance Disorders
Editor's Note:   While this article on balance disorders is not specifically pediatrics, it is a good one to read and file away in case one of your kiddos (or you!) ever needs help with BPPV.   I have had a couple of bouts of it and it is no fun at all!  

[Source:  NIH News in Health]

 

Imagine reaching for something on a grocery shelf and suddenly feeling unsteady. Or looking over your shoulder to back up the car and having things start whirling around you. Most people feel dizzy now and then. But if that feeling persists or interferes with your daily life, it could be a sign of a balance disorder.  

A balance disorder makes you feel as if you're moving, spinning or floating, even though you're quite still. More than 4 in 10 Americans will experience an episode of dizziness sometime during their lives that's significant enough to send them to a doctor.

 

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

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