August 29, 2014
Issue 35, Volume 7
It's All About the Choices!     
Greetings and Happy Labor Day. 

Hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend planned!  Here is our weekly newsletter.

News Items:
  • The ABCs of Animal Speech: Not so Random After All
  • ADHD Children Make Poor Decisions Due to Less Differentiated Learning Processes
  • Children with Autism 'Have Too Many Synapses in their Brain'
  • Dramatic Increase in Speech Problems in Children Over Past Decade
  • Young People May be Losing the Ability to Read Emotions in Our Digital World
  • Parental Attentiveness to Infant Babbling Speeds Up Language Development
PediaStaff News
  • PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week: OTRs in Los Angeles
  • Interview Tip:  Don't Forget the Follow-Up
  • Featured Job of the Week: SLPs (CF's Accepted) for Four Corners, New Mexico
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • SLP Resource of the Week: Free Journal Article Collection on IJLCD
  • Exploring the Inside of an Apple Activity
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week:  Cursive Monsters
  • Pediatric Therapy Find of the Week: The Incredible Moodbear

Articles and Special Features 

  • OT Corner: 3 Ways to Use Ping Pong Balls in Pediatric OT
  • Special Education Corner: Teaching Self-Calming Skills
  • SLP Corner: Cariboo for Speech Therapy
  • Worth Repeating: A Critical Response to "The Kids Who Beat Autism"
  • Worth Repeating: The Life Skill More Kids With Special Needs Should Learn
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Have a great weekend and Take Care!

Heidi Kay and the PediaStaff Team

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Recent Occupational Therapist and COTA Jobs 

The ABCs of Animal Speech: Not so Random After All 

[Source:  Science Daily]


The calls of many animals, from whales to wolves, might contain more language-like structure than previously thought, according to study that raises new questions about the evolutionary origins of human language.


The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analyzed the vocal sequences of seven different species of birds and mammals and found that the vocal sequences produced by the animals appear to be generated by complex statistical processes, more akin to human language.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Study Examines Why Kids With ADHD Make Poor Decisions 

[Source:  Science Daily]

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among school children. Pupils with ADHD often make poorer decisions than their unaffected classmates. Researchers from the University of Zurich now discovered that different learning and decision-making mechanisms are responsible for these behaviors, and localized the underlying impairments in the brain.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Children with Autism 'Have Too Many Synapses in their Brain'

[Source: Medical News Today] 

A new study by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, finds that children and adolescents with autism have too many synapses in their brain, which can affect their brain function. Furthermore, the team believes it may be possible to reduce this excess synapse formation with a drug, paving the way for a novel autism treatment strategy.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Dramatic Increase in Speech Problems in Kids Over Past Decade   

[Source: ASHA] 


A new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics reported a 63% increase in disability associated with speech problems from 2001-02 to 2010-11 among U.S. children, along with a more than 15% increase in disability associated with hearing problems. The data underscore the importance of early intervention for rising numbers of children who are experiencing communication disorders, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Young People May be Losing the Ability to Read Emotions    

[Source:  Medical News Today]


Children's social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media, according to a UCLA psychology study.


UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic devices.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

Attentiveness to Infant Babbling Speeds Language Development

[Source: Medical News Today]


Those of you who have young infants will be familiar with the babbling sounds they like to make. But how do you respond? A new study from The University of Iowa and Indiana University suggests that how parents react to their infants' prattling may influence their language development.


The research team, including Julie Gros-Louis, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, recently published their findings in the journal Infancy.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link our Blog

PediaStaff Therapy Placement of the Week:  OTRs in Los Angeles 

Congratulations to Maricela Y. and Julie B., on their OTR/L positions with PediaStaff. These two ladies will be working full-time for our school-based client south of Los Angeles California for the 2014-2015 school year. Congrats!! 

Interview Tip:  Don't Forget the Follow-Up  

It may seem like your interview is over when you shake the employers hand, leave the facility and head home, but it's most definitely not.   How you conduct yourself post-interview, can significantly improve, or ruin the impression you have made so far.

Within 24 hours of the initial interview, write a follow-up email AND a handwritten note via "snail mail" to the hiring manager, your personnel contact at the company and any other key decisions makers with whom you have spoken.  Thank them again for their time and make a point to tell them how interested you are in the job.  Remind them about any major points you may have covered in the interview as well as your qualifications.


Read More on our Blog

Job of the Week:  SLPs (CF's Accepted) for Four Corners, NM

PediaStaff has  a "now" opportunity for the Speech Language Pathologist who may be seeking an opportunity to work in a school.  Our client is situated in the Northwest corner of New Mexico, otherwise known as "The Four Corners".  It is a rugged dry climate, however, there is still spectacular scenery. This area is on the territory of Navajo Nation near the town of the same name and is one of  New


Learn About / Apply for This Job on our Blog

SLP Resource of the Week:  Free IJLCD Articles  

Editor's Note:  Thank you to Caroline Bowen of  for telling us about this 

A large collection of speech-language journal articles have been unlocked for the non-subscribers for this special issue of the International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders.

It contains lead articles by Dorothy Bishop and Sheena Reilly and colleagues, 20 commentaries by academics and professionals working with children with language impairments and a response article from Dorothy Bishop, Sheena Reilly and Bruce Tomblin.


Access these Articles Through a Link on our Blog

Activity of the Week:  The Inside of an Apple Craft  

[Source:  I Heart Crafty Things]

Apples are one of my daughter's favorite snacks! She loves when we slice it open and she sees the fun star seed shape inside, so we decided to make this darling Apple Craft that gives a unique focus on the insides of an apple. The use of a clear plastic drink lid helps achieve an awesome dimensional look to the craft.


Learn More About this Great Craft Through a Link on our Blog

Pinterest Pin of the Week:  Cursive Monsters  

Saw this photo on Pinterest of Cursive Monsters.  Great start of school activity.  Display all the new monsters in your classroom by making Cursive Monsters!    So fun!   It didn't lead to a blog post so I did some Googling to see if I could find a blog post with directions!


Look at and Learn More About this Fun Handwriting Activity Through Links on our Blog

Pediatric Therapy Find of the Week:  The Incredible Moodbear  

Bumped into this one on Pinterest.  I LOVE this!! Perfect for the desk of the school psychologist, or any therapy clinician working on emotions and social skills!


View and Download this Adorable Printable Through a Link on our Blog

OT Corner: 3 Ways to Use Ping Pong Balls in Pediatric OT

Editor's Note:  Thank you to OT Cafe's Abby Brayton-Chung and Christie Kiley for permission to reprint this article.   This post was originally on OT Cafe.  Please support our contributors and visit both Mama OT and OT Cafe

by Christie Kiley, OTR

What's in My Therapy Bag?

School-based occupational therapists often have to cart around therapy materials from school to school, so it's important to have access to versatile, lightweight materials that can be used to work on a variety of skills. That's why I love keeping ping pong balls in my therapy bag!

I have used ping pong balls with students from Kindergarten all the way to sixth grade to work on fine motor, visual motor, oculomotor, and attention/regulation skills.

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Special Education Corner: Teaching Self-Calming Skills

[Source:  Special Education Advisor]

by Jessica Minahan, M.Ed BCBA

"You need to calm down."

This is something I hear a lot in my work as a behavior specialist when a student starts to get agitated- answering rudely, refusing to work, making insulting comments or whining. A teacher might tell a child to "go sit in the beanbag chair and calm down" or simply "relax."

The problem is, many students don't know how to calm down. This is especially true for children who display chronic agitation or defiance.

When a child behaves inappropriately, I find that it's almost always due to an underdeveloped skill. If we don't explicitly teach the student this skill, their behavior is unlikely to change for the better.

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

SLP Corner: Cariboo for Speech Therapy

By Jenna Rayburn, Speech Room News


I've been using this game for seven years and it's still going strong! Cariboo was a cranium game. It is no longer made. I see it at Goodwill frequently. If you start looking you'll be able to pick up a version for cheap. In the past I've shared about using Cariboo for Articulation Therapy and with AAC in preschoolers. 

The object of the game is to find all the hidden balls. To find the balls you open the doors on the game with the key. Keep the balls in the shoot on the right hand side. Once you collect all the balls the treasure box opens. The kids LOVE this one because it involves hidden bouncy balls. I love this one because it's so motivating, a great way to withhold to entice language, and easily modified to fit therapy. The cards slide into the slots on the top of each door.

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

Worth Repeating: A Critical Response to "Kids Who Beat Autism"

Editor's Note:  PediaStaff ran this story when the NYT article came out. We thought this was an important followup.


by Steven Kapp, M.A.

I critically lectured on autism and "outcomes" like "recovery" for my UCLA Autism and Neurodiversity class the day the New York Times article The Kids Who Beat Autism came out, then saw a related statement I wrote for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network shared widely later that same day - so I mulled over how much more attention to give the NYT story. 

Also Worth Repeating: The Life Skill More Kids Should Learn

[Source: Love That Max]

School officials in Jurupa Valley, California, apologized last week for having Patriot High School students in special ed sort through campus trash bins for recyclables. The activity was part of a functional skills program, which also includes doing a budget, purchasing groceries and cooking meals. Outraged parents condemned administrators for humiliating and stigmatizing students with special needs.


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

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