Washington University NF Center Fall 2015 Newsletter

Fall 2015 NewsletterCheck out the fall 2015 newsletter (pdf) for some of our most popular research articles, patient stories and details about upcoming events this fall!

Some of the highlights in this issue include:

  • Researchers Separate NF1/RAS Function in Brain Stem Cells
  • Patient Spotlight: Molly McNeill
  • Washington University NF Center to Hold Research Symposium

Also be sure to take a look at our previous issues!

YOU’RE INVITED: Club NF Heads to FuNFest!

The Washington University NF Center, in collaboration with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, is excited to announce our October 2015 Club NF event – Club NF Goes to FuNFest!

Please join us on Saturday, October 3, at the Walk Family’s 5th annual FuNFest, which will also include Club NF. FuNFest is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Walk family at Gatch Lake — near Vandalia, Illinois. FuNFest includes games, bounce houses, face painting, a silent auction and a bake sale along with the infamous Cow Patty Bingo! Food and drinks are available for purchase.

All proceeds from the event are donated to St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation/Washington University NF Center. To help support this exciting event, Club NF will travel to FuNFest. Team NF Therapists will lead games and activities that reinforce fine and gross motor skills, which are frequently delayed in children with NF1.

For more information about the event, check out our event flyer or contact Kirsten Brouillet at brouilletk@neuro.wustl.edu.

If your family would like to ride a free charter bus from the Washington University Danforth Campus (leaving campus at 9:30 a.m. and returning to campus at about 5:30 p.m.), please contact Kirsten Brouillet no later than September 30.


Nicole’s Nook: Back to School Apps

Heading back to school in the fall is a very exciting time, but it can also bring about anxiety and stress for children with NF1 who frequently struggle with fine motor skills, organization and/or executive functioning. However, the use of technology can alleviate many of these concerns and assist children and adults in becoming more productive, functional and independent individuals.

With its variety of accessibility features, the iPad provides many ways to increase efficiency in your everyday life. In addition to the built-in features, the availability of a large selection of quality third party apps turn the iPad into a powerful educational tool.

While I have often showcased my favorite productivity apps, I think they are worth mentioning again with the start of a new school year upon us.

  • SnapType:  This simple and easy-to-use app takes a picture of a worksheet and allows a student to complete it on the iPad by creating text boxes. It also gives the option to print or turn into a PDF that can be exported and shared.
  • JotNot Scanner Pro:  This app takes a picture of a worksheet and turns it into a PDF. It can then be used with another app, iAnnotate, to modify and complete the worksheet. This app enables a student to get started on their work immediately, eliminating the need for work to be scanned/emailed.
  • iAnnotate PDF:  This app allows a worksheet or document to be marked up using a variety of tools such as a marker, highlighter, stamp, text box and more. You can create customizable toolbars and annotate multiple pages. The final product can be shared via email or printed. Together, JotNot Scanner Pro and iAnnotate can complete the same function as SnapType but feature many more tools and options.
  • Co-Writer:  This app has extensive word prediction and text-to-speech features which can speed up typing and productivity. The finished product can be shared via email or exported to cloud-based sites, including Dropbox or Google Drive. It has a main dictionary but also allows topic web-scraped dictionaries, which search the web to find relevant words.
  • ModMath:  This app allows students to create and complete math problems on virtual graph paper. It helps with organization, sequencing and legibility. Once completed, it can be printed or shared.
  • myMemoir:  This is a journaling app allowing you to include a picture or photo. Journal entries can be shared as a PDF, EPUB or TEXT. Many elementary students will journal as a part of their morning or daily routine, and this app can help serve that purpose.

Wishing you a productive and successful school year!

– Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L