Providing Therapy for Children with Severe Physical Disabilities

Jai RayIn January, Henry Schein Cares donated many needed items to the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center, a school that serves students with severe physical disabilities from all over New York City, Long Island and lower Westchester County. The school’s medical suite provides specialized care to these students who, otherwise, would not be able to attend school and would need to be educated at home or in a hospital setting. Its Physical and Occupational Therapy departments provide specialized therapies to assist students in meeting their activities of daily living and mobility goals within the academic setting.

The medical supplies and equipment donated are being used in the medical suite, as well as the school’s Occupational and Physical Therapy departments.

The products being used in the Occupational Therapy (OT) department include splinting supplies and materials, fitness equipment and other therapy products. The OT department uses many of these items for multiple purposes, including making adaptations like head pointers, creating functional hand splints for writing, and fabrication of positioning devices, all of which enable the students to better access the school curriculum.

Body blades and weighted bars and balls are some of the items being used in the Henry Viscardi School Physical Therapy (PT) department to strengthen the students’ upper body and maintain their range of motion. Building and maintaining their strength and mobility is important as they use their upper body to support themselves when using walkers, transferring from their power and manual wheelchairs, and spinning the wheels of their manual wheelchairs. Sustaining and improving their strength and range of motion also helps them with acts of daily living, like combing and styling their hair, as well as their ability to participate in recreational activities such as wheelchair basketball.

The lightweight body blades are being used in a variety of ways. The motions made when using the lightweight blades are very targeted, allowing the children to work specific body areas, such as the shoulder blades. The weighted bars donated are lighter than the ones the PT department already had, allowing students with more severe muscular weaknesses, such as those with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), to use them. The small weighted balls can be used individually, or as a group, offering more options for group exercise sessions.
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