Occupational and Physical Therapy
Occupational and Physical Therapists are supportive team members, who provide evaluation and treatment, across the life span, for a diverse population that presents with multiple medical disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. An eclectic approach to treatment is the foundation for motivating and meaningful interventions that incorporate NDT, SI, aquatics, and equine assisted activities within nature and arts based thematic curriculums. Individualized and enriched activities in conjunction with an integrated interdisciplinary approach to intervention promotes collaboration with professionals in education, residential and health services programs and yields practice of sensory motor tasks in all situations. Physical and Occupational Therapists are an integral part of the team that supports medical specialty clinics including orthopedics and physiatry; and the therapists participation in DME and orthotics clinics assure the availability of upper and lower extremity splints and orthoses to assure optimal alignment and motor performance.
Music Therapy Program
Music, which is a source of joy for many, may be of special significance for people with disabilities. At The Center a staff of dedicated and gifted music therapists explores the power of music to engage individuals and to foster new skills and abilities. Music Therapy sessions emphasize music making, whether that is done with instruments, the human voice or creative movement.
Individual and group sessions promote skills in various developmental areas including sensori-motor, cognitive, communication, social, and affective-emotional skills.
Music is part of the life of The Center – thanks to choirs, concerts and frequent appearances by BK Jamm, a musical group comprised of therapists and some of their students.
Greater body awareness, physical well-being and confidence are among the program’s formal goals, but pool activities provide a lot more to residents and therapists, including fun. Aquatic therapy improves balance, allows for a greater range of motion and flexibility, and reduces the force on the joints, allowing individuals with limited mobility to move more easily and freely.
A dozen certified lifeguards supervise those scheduled for therapy as they work with trained aquatic therapists.
Adaptive Physical Education
Physical activity is important for us all, whether or not we have disabilities that may present practical challenges. At The Center, ‘physical education’ is a category that extends from golf and bowling to skiing and skating, and is a subject of constant exploration and thoughtful discussion by a team that includes highly trained specialists.
Clearly, there are often obstacles that need to be overcome and the Center staff works imaginatively and patiently to adapt and modify activities and sports so that they are as accessible and appropriate for those with specific challenges as for anyone else.
The Center’s approach is based on a well developed discipline but never ignores the fun and social interaction that we associate with games and sports, as well as the individual benefits that begin with a sense of accomplishment.
For those with challenging behaviors, such as those with ASD, vigorous physical activity has proved to be an alternative to medication or intrusive behavioral management techniques.
Vigorous routines are integrated into individual daily programs in a manner that maximizes their effectiveness. Teachers and students both appreciate the calm moods that follow exercise sessions and take advantage of the ability to focus and attend to task that result.
Gross and fine motor skills are also taught as part of a constantly expanding repertoire of play and leisure skill activities. Many individuals receive occupational therapy as part of their exercise program. Sensory activities such as deep massage are occasionally used to help individuals focus and maintain their alertness throughout the day.
The interventions provided by Speech Language Pathologists foster skills in the areas of: language, cognition; oral development and feeding techniques; facilitation of respiration, phonation and speech, and alternate modes of communication. The comprehensive and individualized programs provided in The Center’s adult and pediatric programs rely on speech language pathologists’ advanced skills in the areas of AAC and dysphagia. An integrated interdisciplinary approach to speech language interventions promotes collaboration with professionals in all physical medicine disciplines and in education, residential and health services programs. Individualized and enriched activities in conjunction with an integrated interdisciplinary approach to intervention assure practice of communication and mealtime strategies in all locations. Medical and dental specialty clinics, including application of information that derives from FEES studies accomplished at The Center, support best practice to assure optimal experiences and progress in all speech language areas for each individual.
Learning to navigate the social demands of the world can be challenging. In today’s society, we are all faced with an intense expectation to engage with the people, places and things around us, sometimes at lightning speed. For individuals with multiple disabilities, the ability to communicate and interact effectively and efficiently is often compromised. The psychologist, or integration specialist, assists the individual to regain the ability to self-regulate their own response to a variety of everyday as well as unanticipated situations. This is accomplished through careful observation, assessment and analysis of the individual and their responses to a variety of situations. From the starting point of careful observation, the integration specialist collaborates with the other members of the team to develop positive behavioral supports and strategies. This assures that the children and adults are provided with the opportunity to use their strengths to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, and to ultimately enhance their experiences for work and play.