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June 8, 2012
Issue 18, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings!   Please enjoy our weekly newsletter.  Have a great weekend!
News Items: 
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Therapy Idea of the Week: Working on Heel Contact
  • Therapy Resource of the Week:  Free New Screening Tool for Developmental Delays  
  • Therapist Resource of the Week:  When & How Should You Tell Your Child About His/Her Autism Diagnosis 

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT Corner: Teaching the Moving Child - A Book Review 
  • SLP Corner:   Childhood Apraxia of Speech: My Story as a Mom and SLP 
  • Autism Mom's Corner: Dear Shopper Staring at My Child Having a Meltdown in the Grocery Store
  • Worth Repeating: Constructive Fidgeting for Self-Regulation
  • Also Worth Repeating: Fragile X Syndrome and Speech & Language    
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Stuttering in the News:  Richland, Washington Salutatorian Raps Graduation Speech to Help Overcome His Stutter

[Source:  Associated Press, via the Republic]


Colin Serkowski was a freshman in high school when he realized he could rap.

Since that day, he's printed off lyrics from the internet and memorized them, doing impromptu performances for his friends almost anywhere. Now, the Hanford High School senior is planning to rap his salutatorian speech at commencement tonight.

"I was blown away," Ken Gosney, Colin's principal at Hanford High School, said of the first time he heard the 17-year-old rap.

Memory Training in the News:  No  Evidence That Working Memory Training Programs Improve General Cognitive Performance

[Source:  Medical News Today]


Working memory training is unlikely to be an effective treatment for children suffering from disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity or dyslexia, according to a research analysis published by the American Psychological Association. In addition, memory training tasks appear to have limited effect on healthy adults and children looking to do better in school or improve their cognitive skills.


Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: New Treatment for Irritability in Autism

[Source:  Science Daily.com]


Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. Irritability is a symptom of autism that can complicate adjustment at home and other settings, and can manifest itself in aggression, tantrums, and self-injurious behavior. These disruptive behaviors are frequently observed in children with autism, which may considerably affect their ability to function at home or in school.


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Neurobiology in the News: Scientists Find Learning Is Not 'Hard-Wired'
[Source:  Edweek.org]


Neuroscience exploded into the education conversation more than 20 years ago, in step with the evolution of personal computers and the rise of the Internet, and policymakers hoped medical discoveries could likewise help doctors and teachers understand the "hard wiring" of the brain.


That conception of how the brain works, exacerbated by the difficulty in translating research from lab to classroom, spawned a generation of neuro-myths and snake-oil pitches-from programs to improve cross-hemisphere brain communication to teaching practices aimed at "auditory" or "visual" learners.  


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Anxiety in the News: Anxious Girls' Brains Work Harder

[Source:  Science Daily]


In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, Michigan State University scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys.


The finding stems from an experiment in which college students performed a relatively simple task while their brain activity was measured by an electrode cap. Only girls who identified themselves as particularly anxious or big worriers recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the task.


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Technology in the News:  University of Houston Students Develop Prototype Device That Translates Sign Language
[Source:  Product Design and Development]

Too often, communication barriers exist between those who can hear and those who cannot. Sign language has helped bridge such gaps, but many people are still not fluent in its motions and hand shapes.


Thanks to a group of University of Houston students, the hearing impaired may soon have an easier time communicating with those who do not understand sign language. During the past semester, students in


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Neurobiology in the News: Stress May Delay Brain Development in Early Years
[Source:  Science Daily]

Stress may affect brain development in children, altering growth of a specific piece of the brain and abilities associated with it, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There has been a lot of work in animals linking both acute and chronic stress to changes in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in complex cognitive abilities like holding on to important


 Read the Rest of This Article Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Idea of the Week: Working on Heel Contact

Special Thanks to Your Therapy Source for this excellent idea for working on heel contact!

Four year old boy working on heel contact. Velcro is strapped to feet with velcro coins on cards.


Watch this Video on our Blog

Therapy Resource of the Week: Free Online Screening Tool for Developmental Delays  
Thank you to Ellen Seidman of the Parents.com blog "To the Max" for posting about this excellent Easter Seals initiative.

 Read More About This Screening Tool Through a Link on our Blog
Therapy Resource of the Week: When & How Should You Tell Your Child About His/Her Autism Diagnosis

Thanks to our friends at OT for Kids for recommending this video!


[Source:  The Autism Support Network]


Dr. Stephen Shore, professor of special education at Adelphi University, and who also has Asperger's, discusses his perspectives on when and how to tell your child about his/her diagnosis. He breaks this down into a four-step approach.  


Watch This Video on our Blog

Occupational Therapy Corner: Teaching the Moving Child: A Book Review

Review by Barbara Smith, OTR/L
Book by:  Sybil M. Berkey


Teaching the Moving Child by occupational therapist Sybil M. Berkey is not an easy read but it is an essential resource for therapists and educators seeking an in-depth look at the research that supports the movement-learning connection and the OT interventions that address it. The traditional model based on OTs treating only students identified to have disabilities is transitioning into a teacher-OT relationship based on early collaborative problem-solving that includes Response To Intervention (RIT) and positive behavioral supports. In other words, the role of OT is expanding in general education to meet the needs of students who struggle in school.   


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

SLP Corner: Childhood Apraxia of Speech: My Story as a Mom and SLP
By: Deb Tomarakos, SLP-CCC


Through this blog, I have shared a bit about my kids but I haven't gone into too much detail because I was always on the fence about how much was too much to share.  Due to some recent frustrating experiences as a parent of children with special needs, I felt compelled to share more of our family's personal story. I still have reservations about public sharing and I wonder if one day my children will be angry with me for sharing too much. That said, I think that sharing some of our experiences can be helpful to other parents and to SLPs.   


When my daughter was about 15 months old, I thought she probably had CAS.  Around that time, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic where I was working for a full speech/language eval.  One of my co-workers completed the assessment and agreed that she saw red flags for CAS. Of course, due to my daughter's young age, my co-worker did not officially diagnose CAS.  So, with a diagnosis of "other speech deficit" and an "expressive language delay," we went forward into therapy 2 times per week for 30 minutes at the center.  I also went forward trying to devour all the info on CAS that I could find.


 Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Autism Mom's Corner: Dear Shopper Staring at My Child Having a Meltdown in the Grocery Store
 Note:  Thanks Lucy Windevoxel MS CCC-SLP or calling our attention to this essay.


[Source:  Flappinessis.com]


Dear Shopper,

Yes, I know.  I'm well aware that my child is screaming.  Not just a regular scream, but an ear-piercing, sanity-shattering screech.  Even if I wasn't seeing and hearing it, I would know by the expression on your face.


Clearly, you have raised your children better than me.

That is what you were wanting to say, right?   There certainly can't be any other purpose to you stopping in your tracks to stare or elbow your companion  or better yet - give knowing looks to other shoppers passing by.


Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Constructive Fidgeting for Self-Regulation
Editor's Note:  This is a nice article to share with your teacher colleagues.

[Source:  Bodylogique.com]  


How many times have you told a fidgety student to sit still and focus so they can complete a task?


Telling a child to "Stop fidgeting" and "Sit still!", "Quiet hands/body" or "Look at me when I talk to you"  is counter productive. Instead, understand and acknowledge that these actions (sometimes called "stims" ) are not signs of disrespect or bad behavior, but a way for the child to self-adjust when they have difficulty paying attention. All children require fidgeting & sensory-motor activities to help them function well.   


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog 
Also Worth Repeating - Fragile X Syndrome and Speech & Language
[Source:  The ASHA Leader]

Henry is an energetic 6-year-old boy with fragile X syndrome (FXS). Physically he does not appear different from other children his age, though with a long face and fairly large ears. Henry enjoys giving hugs and singing, but when he meets new people he becomes very quiet and avoids eye contact. Transitions are stressful for Henry, so his teachers provide him with a set schedule for each day and give him ample time to prepare for new activities.


Most of Henry's utterances are two to three words in length, with more advanced comprehension than expression. Although in single words Henry's speech is intelligible, he talks rapidly and is quite difficult to understand in conversational speech. He has difficulty responding to questions and quickly changes the topic to something of greater interest.


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