Getting Better Seat Positioning for the Child with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a result of early damage to the parts of the brain that control muscle movements. Coordination and posture will be affected to varying degrees and symptoms can range from mild to severe physical disability (1). Some children with cerebral palsy can have mental retardation, seizures, or speech/hearing deficits as well. Although it is not progressive, cerebral palsy is a permanent condition...
Using Adaptive Equipment to Foster Participation in Vocational Settings
Physical therapists have long advocated for the use of standers and gait trainers to support the mobility, accessibility and health needs of youth and adults with mobility impairments including education of families/school teams and use of equipment in activity programs. Use of gait trainers, standers and other mobility devices allow individuals mobility they would not be able to achieve due to...
Busting that Persistent Myth about Adaptive Bikes and Recreation
I love the adaptive tricycle and the opportunities it affords many of my students. But how often have insurance companies denied requests for adaptive tricycles because they only see the recreational purpose? For my students with the most severe disabilities, the tricycle is a life-saver, and often the only piece of adaptive equipment that will help them achieve functional gains and participation. I&rsquo...
Evidence Based Practice
Evidence Update: Improving Services for Youth with Disabilities
For a child with disabilities, few transitions are as fraught as the passage from youth to adult, usually around age 21. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes some provision for transitional services for youth as they prepare to move out of the school system for “further education, employment or independent living,” these services are often poorly defined and...
Toileting Initiative Produces Great Results
It all started when therapists from the three special day schools of Baltimore County Public Schools sat down to talk at one of our yearly meetings. The discussion turned from the mundane to the visionary, how to provide more functional, purposeful activities for our kiddos throughout the day. And, of all things, we talked about toileting. As a vital part of the student’s day, we wanted the toileting...
No Way Jose!
“Jose! Jose! No way Jose!" Lined up on the playground, 500 elementary students chanted their support for Jose as he propelled his very own Rifton mobile stander across the platform at Mayflower Elementary. Then down the long ramp he went to the playground surrounded quickly by his friends, family, the Monrovia mayor, police officers and firemen (and many cameras). What a day!
A bright and...
Out in Front with Mechanical Lifts in Schools
Last week I attended the Combined Section Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. It was held in San Antonio (great choice, especially in February!) and included some excellent programming. I’d like to share highlights from one of the workshops which focused on using lift and transfer devices in schools. It was presented by therapists from four large school districts.
Benefits of Early Mobility
Early Gait Training: Positive Outcomes for the Long Term
Think about it. The more you practice, the better you get – at anything. As author Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book “Outliers,” the one point that distinguishes a violinist from a virtuoso is practice- at least 10,000 hours of it. This applies to any field regardless of nature or nurture. So with early gait training, a child...
An Unlikely Hero
At Rifton we talk a lot about heroes. They are the people we meet at schools and hospitals who care for people with multiple – and sometimes overwhelming – disabilities. People like Alicia in the photo at right, a physical therapist at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, who is helping Derrick learn to walk.
But take another look. Something has caught Derrick’s eye. Notice the...
My Thanks for a Magical Moment
About 40 miles north of Chicago, in Lake County, there is a special school called Laremont, and it was there a few weeks ago that I was reminded how fortunate I am in my line of work.
You see, I’ve worked for the last five years in customer service for Rifton. And because I cover the state of Illinois, every two years I attend an event there for school therapists. This year I scheduled an extra half...