Tag Archives: occupational therapy

Meet our Staff Spotlight – Hilda Harrison

What initially drew you to choose a career helping improve the lives of children with disabilities?

Since childhood I “sensed” people’s feelings and attitudes, things about a person that weren’t verbally expressed. Psychology became my passion in college years, but I still was not totally satisfied. I met a pediatric Occupational Therapist whose influence and counsel were so significant that I changed majors, university, and professional course. OT became the bridge between psychology and the art and science for practical and functional interventions into a person’s daily life.

Have you been touch personally in this area?

You should ask how important is waking up every morning. For over 35 years as an Occupational Therapist, I look forward to each work day, to the discovery of children’s potentials, sharing with team members, learning from families, and challenged with each gift in which “problems” are often wrapped. With the support of owner Jon Edenfield, team work, and family involvement evidence occurs every day that miracles happen at GSR.

How long have you worked for Great Strides Rehab and in what capacity(ies)?

I have worked at GSR for 12 years, beginning when the owner had just 2 employees and a clinic about the size of one of our therapy rooms. I serve as staff OT within a team of about 50 professionals to include ABA, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Physical Therapy, Music Therapy, Nutrition, and administrative staff across settings to include public and private school systems, medically complex outpatient settings, and the GSR center-based private school and preschool. Watching GSR grow with such excellence over these years is beyond exciting.

Tell us about your history and career background.

I have been fortunate to work as an Occupational Therapist in many different types of settings to include university teaching hospitals providing therapy in both neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and pediatric intensive care units (PICU), a cerebral palsy rehab facility, childrens hospitals, school systems, and private practice. These facilities supported professional activities to include grant writing to procure NICU related NIDCAP staff training and a computer technology grant from Easter Seals. I taught Level II and Level I OT and OT Assistant fieldwork students for 20 years from which I probably learned more than I taught. I worked on multi-disciplinary medical teams to include ECMO ( based on a heart-lung bypass machine), a post heart transplant feeding program, neurology and orthopedic rhizotomy treatment team, and a radiology department swallow study team. I have published one national pediatric research paper on the play of children with disabilities and one state wide adult-related research paper on sensation restoration. I have presented papers at national and state conferences related to children’s head injury, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and fieldwork supervision. And last but not least, I have been fortunate to serve with distinguished colleagues lobbying for children’s healthcare.

Inform us on your educational accomplishments: Degrees earned, Certifications, any related Organization memberships?

Children and families needs are multi-dimensional as it is for all of our lives. I am fortunate to have received post-professional certifications related to my passion with Sensory Integration, Neuro-Developmental Training (NDT), and multiple trainings with pediatric feeding and swallowing. As with an iceberg, only 15% is visible above water and 85% is underwater unseen. These advanced trainings have helped give insight into the 85% of what in not seen in children on first look, especially when combined with a GSR team approach.

 What do you enjoy most about working at Great Strides?

Getting to know and meaningfully engage with families and children is a profound privilege at GSR. The depth of family engagement within a team approach at GSR surpasses any work setting in which I have worked.

 What is one fun fact most people don’t know about you or something that makes you smile?

Balance with work, play, rest, and leisure is a basic tenet of Occupational Therapy. When not working, I ride my Harley Davidson Sportster, scuba dive, or just work in the yard and garden. My husband Wayne Powell, who is an electrical engineer by profession, and I were married underwater 20 years ago, so we often combine a motorcycle and scuba diving trip in the Florida Keys. We just bought an RV and made our first cross country trip to Arizona and Utah, motorcycles in tow.

 What is your favorite inspirational quote or motto?

I have a few years “under my belt” and more than one guiding quote. But for today, here goes a blended version: Live well, laugh often and insanely, love truly, live in prayer, and forgive quickly. And work like you don’t need the money, love like you have never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching. But a favorite is Matthew 19:26: “With God all things are possible.”

 

 

Fletchers PPEC Success Story—Prymus Buckholtz

Prymus ArticlePrymus is an adorable and friendly four year old boy who began coming to the Fletchers PPEC as a baby. He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia meaning that he has weakness and difficulty moving his arms and legs like he wants. In addition, the muscles of his face and mouth which would coordinate speech and oral feeding are also impacted. Prymus is a bright young boy who loves people and loves learning. He is devoted to his parents and has wonderful support from them. He has a high level of cognitive and receptive language skills but has difficulty expressing what he knows verbally or through gestures, signs or pointing.

In the four years that Prymus has been coming to Fletchers, no one is more proud and happy with his progress than his mom. “When Prymus was born and we learned about his condition, we were told by his doctor what he couldn’t do and his limitations,” said Mrs. Buckholtz. “But the therapy team has always looked to the possibilities and the four years they have worked with him at Fletchers, he had made a 360 degree turn around.”

Prymus’ GS Therapy team include: John Kirkland, DPT; Jess Dailey, DPT; Julissa Taveras, OTR/L; Robyn Hershberger, MS-CCC-SLP; and Susannah Doherty, MS-CCC-SLP.

Occupational Therapy Focus:

Prymus is learning daily living activities such as how to take off his socks, grasp a cup to drink independently, or grasp and release objects. He is also learning how to use one part of his body (one arm or hand) while keeping the rest of his body still. Educational activities and pre-writing skills are also addressed to prepare him for school.

Speech Therapy Focus:

Prymus has difficulty completing the very rapid, alternating fine motor movements of the tongue for speech production. He must work hard to produce even voicing to command. His voice is often much easier for him to produce spontaneously, such as shouting or laughing, but he still needed a method to help him communicate while he works on improving coordination and strength in his oral muscles for speech.

Speech therapy also continues to focus on increasing Prymus’s vocabulary and understanding of language, as well as improving his ability to chew and swallow solids, master cup drinking and swallow safely to avoid aspiration.

Additionally, although he can move his arms, he has difficulty with performing tasks such as pointing with a finger, or targeting a small picture target with his hands to select it as a means of communicating. Therefore, usage of pictures or IPAD apps were not able to match the cognitive ability of his language skills.

After consulting with an assistive technology specialist, his speech therapists decided to try an eye gaze communication system that operates by Prymus “choosing” words with his eyes which then “speak” loud for him. He has just received this device for a trial period during which he will learn how to use it and his family will decide if it is right for him.

In addition to the eye gaze communication system, to give Prymus the very best devices to aid him in his growth in the physical therapy area, Great Strides has helped him obtain a specialized walker called the Theraputic Ambulatory Orthotic System or TAOS Walker along with other medical equipment such as braces for his feet/ legs, a wheelchair and a bath chair.

Physical Therapy Focus

This is the first time Great Strides has ordered such specialized equipment like the TAOS for a child. We are excited to be able to provide the TAOS as there are children who have different needs and every walker or device is not always appropriate for every child, parent and physical therapist.

The TAOS has two basic parts, a bracing system and the 4-wheeled base. The bracing system provides side to side and front to back support to the child’s trunk and pelvis.

Along with the TAOS, physical therapists are working diligently on helping Prymus improve a method for locomotion independently in other ways. They also help him with increasing control of his head and neck muscles, and torso so that he can better sit upright without support.

Great Strides is proud to be a part of Prymus’ learning, growth and continuing advancement.

Make Your Calendars!! GSR Sensory Friendly Halloween Tuesday, October 29th 5:30-7:00pm