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Special Early Edition
November 15, 2011

Issue 36, Volume 5
It's All About the Choices!     

We are pushing off today and looking forward to a great ASHA convention in sunny San Diego.  For those of you who are traveling, here is our weekly newsletter a few days early so you might enjoy it enroute! 

Are you coming to ASHA too?  Stop by our booth #924!   We have free Toobaloos while supplies last!  

Are you an #SLPeep, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook?  Come to the ASHA Tweetup on Friday at 4:30 in the Community Lounge for a chance to win a gift bag full of Thumballs, courtesy of PediaStaff!

Here is our weekly newsletter offering for you!   Looking to incorporate fun activities for season into your therapy lessons?  Don't forget to check out all our Holiday Themed Therapy Ideas on Pinterest!

News Items: 
  • Senators Unveil Plan To Boost Down Syndrome Research
  • Most Kids Lack Early Intervention Services
  • 'Glee' Star Tapped For President's Disability Committee
  • British Scientists Suggests Genetic Variant in Play in ADHD
  • Handwriting and OT in the News  
  • Challenges In The Emerging Field Of Pediatric Palliative Care
  • Brains of Children with Autism Develop More Slowly Than Healthy Brains, Researchers Say
Therapy Activities, Tips and Resources
  • Pinterest Pin of the Week: Flipping Beanbags for Wrist Strengthening 
  • 493 Shared Speech Therapy Resources on Quia 
  • Big Find of the Week -  PictureSet: Downloadable Visual Support Collection 

Articles and Blogs

  • Guest Blog:  Having a Dangerously Good Time in Speech Therapy
  • Guest Blog: What's in Your OT Therapy Bag? 
  • Pediatric Therapy Corner: Language Development and Bilingual Children
  • Worth Repeating: Motor Development For Individuals With Down Syndrome - An Overview
  • Also Worth Repeating: Celebrate Crawling! 8 Reasons Crawling Creates Capable Kids                   
Feel free to contact us with any questions about our openings or items in these pages. Have you discovered our RSS feed? Click on the orange button below to subscribe to all our openings and have them delivered to your Feed Reader!  Don't have an RSS Feed Reader set up? Sign up at
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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:  Senators Unveil Plan To Boost Down Syndrome Research

[Source: Disability Scoop]


Efforts to expand Down syndrome research may be gaining traction after a pair of U.S. senators introduced legislation to increase funding and establish centers to study the disorder.


Two bills introduced in the Senate Thursday would allocate $6 million annually to create six centers of excellence for Down syndrome research. In addition, the measures call for the establishment of three research databases and would require the National Institutes of Health to maintain a Down syndrome research plan.

 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Early Intervention in the News:  Most Kids Lack Early Intervention Services

[Source: Disability Scoop]


Just a fraction of the nation's children with disabilities and developmental delays may be accessing the early intervention services they need, a new advocacy group report suggests.

An analysis released Tuesday by Easter Seals indicates that fewer than 3 percent of kids are participating in the government-funded Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C program, which offers early intervention services to children up to age 3.  At the same time, estimates suggest that almost 13 percent of children across the country should qualify.

The report offers a state-by-state profile of the number of children served by the early intervention program. Six states stood out - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Wyoming, New York and New Hampshire - for serving at least 4 percent of children.


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Developmental Disabilities in the News:  'Glee' Star Tapped For President's Disability Committee

[Source: Disability Scoop]


President Barack Obama is soliciting advice on disability issues from an actress with Down syndrome who has a regular role on Fox's "Glee."


Lauren Potter, who plays cheerleader Becky Jackson on Fox's "Glee," has been appointed to serve on the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.  


Obama said he plans to appoint Lauren Potter, 21, to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. She is well-known for playing cheerleader Becky Jackson on the hit television show "Glee."


 Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
ADHD in the News:  British Scientists Suggests Genetic Variant in Play in ADHD

[Source Medical XPress]


Cardiff University scientists revealed last year that children with the condition, like those with autism, were more likely than unaffected individuals to carry duplicated or omitted small DNA segments known as copy number variants (CNVs). The findings suggested that rare genetic variations contribute to ADHD risk. Similar findings have been found for autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disability.

Now a wider study by the same team and colleagues in Eire and Scotland has replicated the initial findings that these large, rare CNVs are more common in children with ADHD than amongst the 

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Handwriting and OT in the News:  Chicago Tribune Blog Post on Benefits of Cursive 

[Source: The Chicago Tribune]


Though handwriting is still a part of many school curricula, cursive writing - what once was an anticipated rite of passage for many third-graders - is disappearing from classrooms.


The writing style is left out of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which means the 44 states that have adopted the criteria are not required to teach it in public schools. Instead, the initiative recommends typing and keyboard skills. (Though the Common Core initiative doesn't require cursive writing, school districts still may teach it.)


Some experts say parents should consider teaching cursive at home if their child isn't learning it in school, or augmenting the instruction if their school is cutting back


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pediatric Palliative Care in the News:  Challenges In The Emerging Field Of Pediatric Palliative Care

[Source: Medical News Today]


When children are facing a life-threatening illness, bringing in palliative medicine specialists can help both the child and family improve the child's quality of life, for however long he or she lives.


Over the past decade, pediatric palliative care has emerged as a recognized medical specialty, including a subspecialty certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties and a certification from the Joint Commission for hospital palliative care programs.


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Autism in the News: Brains of Children with Autism Develop More Slowly Than Healthy Brains, Researchers Say

[Source: ScienceDaily.com]


Researchers at UCLA have found a possible explanation for why children with autism act and think differently than their peers. For the first time, they've shown that the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism than in children without autism.


Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Human Brain Mapping, senior author Jennifer G. Levitt, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA; first author Xua Hua, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher; and colleagues found aberrant growth rates in areas of the brain implicated in the social impairment, communication deficits and repetitive behaviors that characterize autism.

Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog
Pinterest Pin of the Week: Flipping Beanbags for Wrist Strengthening 
Thanks to Your Therapy Source for recommending this Pinterest goodie - Flipping Bean Bags for Wrist Strengthening!  We posted this pin on Thursday of last week and it had seen 60 repins by the weekend!

 Take a Look at this Popular Activity on our Blog
Therapist Resource of the Week: 493 Shared Speech Therapy Resources on Quia 

This week's Therapy Resource of the Week is website known to few outside of the teaching field. Quia - pronounced "key-ah" is short for Quintessential Instructional Archive. Quia provides a wide variety of tools, including:

  • Templates for creating 16 types of online activities using your own content.
  • A complete online testing system with automatic grading, immediate feedback, and detailed reporting.
  • Online surveys for gathering student and teacher feedback.
  • A class Web page creator to share Quia activities and class announcements with students and parents.

Learn More About Quia and the Shared SLP Resources On our Blog 

Big Find of the Week: PictureSet - Wonderful Collection of Free Downloadable Visual Supports 

PictureSET is a wonderful, user contributed collection of free, ready to use, downloadable visual supports that can be used by students for both receptive and expressive communication in the classroom, at home, and in the community. This searchable database allows you to find a wide range of useful visual supports for different curriculum areas, activities, and events. PictureSET resources are created and updated by dedicated professionals working with students in British Columbia.  Files are primarily PDF and Boardmaker files.  Vocabulary Cards, Sentence Strips, Social Stories and more for a wide variety of categories!!

Check out PictureSet Through our Blog. This is a GREAT Find!
Guest Blogs This Week: Artic Brain, My Special Needs Network   
Having a Dangerously Good Time in Speech Therapy - By: Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP

Regardless of what grade my students are in, I always make it a point to educate them about the importance of having a job that helps those around them. In my opinion, it is crucial that children learn about the neighborhood they live in and about who helps to make their community a better place through their job. Teaching our speech students about various occupations that men and women have can open their minds to jobs they never knew existed and also help to improve speech and language at the same time. It is a win/win situation!

Read the Rest of this Guest Post on our Blog
What's in Your Therapy Bag -  by:  Celia Cruse, OTR

I travel a good bit with my job so am a frequent flyer with the airlines. Typically the in flight magazines have a feature where they interview some movie star, CEO or savvy world traveler to ask them what they always carry in a flight bag. In the spirit of this theme (minus the celebrity status!) I have put together my favorite list of items that have been a part of my OT bag for many years...as an itinerant school therapist, a private home based practitioner and even during my days of working pediatric inpatient services at a busy hospital. Here are 6 things I always have on hand:


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

Pediatric Therapy Corner: Language Development and Bilingual Children
 By: Lucy Windevoxhel, M.S., CCC-SLP

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents but is an excellent resource for therapists to share with the parents/guardians of the kiddos they work with.


This article comes as a response to a friend's question regarding her own child. In fact as a speech-language pathologist I have been asked many times if the cause of the language delay was exposure to two languages . The answer is No. Being exposed to two or more languages does not cause a child to have a language delay.


Many parents believe that if a child is exposed to more than one language then he will achieve typical language developmental milestones later than monolingual children. However, research indicates that bilingual children achieve those milestones at roughly the same time as monolingual children. As with everything in life though, all children achieve each milestone at a different age. Some children may say their first words at 9 months while others at 14  

Read the Rest of This Article on our Blog

Worth Repeating - Motor Development For Individuals With Down Syndrome - An Overview
by: Ben Sacks and Sue Buckley

[Source: Down Syndrome Online

In the first year of life, infants begin to gain control over movements - they begin to be able to hold their heads steady, to reach out and grasp objects, to roll, sit and crawl and to hold cups or bottles for feeding. They then go on to walk, run, climb stairs, use a spoon, knife and fork, and dress themselves. Later they draw, write, use the computer, play football and dance. We tend to take our movement abilities for granted as, for most of us, they have developed effortlessly and most are carried out as we go through our day without conscious attention to them at all.

However, there is a large research literature devoted to trying to understand how the brain controls our everyday movements so skilfully, and the processes are still not fully understood. In the first section of this overview we will discuss the current views of the motor research experts, as it is relevant


Read the Rest of this Article Through a Link on our Blog  
Also Worth Repeating - Celebrate Crawling! 8 Reasons Crawling Creates Capable Kids
By: Sue Wilkinson

[Source: My Special Needs Network]

Did you know that this generation of kids is less likely to crawl than any generation in the history of toddlers? That is, if you live in the U.S. or the U.K. We have embraced the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) "Back To Sleep" program which trains new Moms to place their babies on their backs to minimize suffocation risk. Gratefully, there has been a decrease in SIDS. We've just forgotten the second part of the message..."Tummy Time for PLAY." Why care if kids don't crawl? Many pediatricians advise us to use a different developmental milestone to gauge a child's development. However, crawling creates capable kids.


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