Pediatric Update - Sep 2013 - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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September 2013 Update:
Pediatrics at RIC

RIC Therapy Camps Offer Fun and Progress for Children

Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Camps Combine Fun and Intense Rehabilitation for Kids

Young children who have either hemiplegia or hemiparesis took part in intensive group-based camps this summer at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to both have fun and make progress with their weaker limbs.

These Constraint Induced Movement Therapy summer camps offer kids the opportunity to take part in traditional day-camp activities such as games, art projects, outings and sensory play along with similar-aged peers. All the while, the children were taking part in therapy, as their unaffected arms were restrained with a removable cast, forcing the children to use their affected arms for all functional activities.

Instead of camp counselors, the sessions are led by RIC pediatric occupational therapists. The group aspect and activities set the camp experience apart from traditional occupational therapy sessions, said Margaret Dargan, clinical manager of RIC’s pediatric outpatient therapy program, who oversees the camp.

“When you look at them, it really looks like they’re playing, not doing repetitive therapy exercises,” she said. “The occupational therapist runs the group, and the kids kind of show off and play off each other.”

Children between the ages of three and nine attended camp three hours a day, four days a week for three weeks. Another session open to two-year-olds was two hours three days a week for two weeks.

“We have found short bursts of high-intensity intervention tend to be very beneficial,” said Margie Gautier, RIC’s director of outpatient rehabilitation.

In addition to their intensive focus during camp hours, participants also have a robust home exercise program to complete during the course of their three-week session. The program is designed to encourage faster improvement.

While the camps have concluded for 2013, the group approach to therapy is offered in weekly evening sessions during the school year.  RIC plans to continue offering the CIMT summer camps as a novel approach to therapeutic input for kids who benefit from occupational therapy.

A physician referral is required for camp participants. For information, contact Margaret Dargan, at (312) 238-6129 or email her at

RIC Research Program Uses Technology to Benefit Children’s Walking

RIC’s clinical Motion Analysis Center focuses on gait analysis and upper extremity function during activities of daily living. We provide an array of services and treat children* with a variety of conditions.

The information that is recorded and can be analyzed includes:

  1. The movement pattern of the entire body and each body segment
  2. The external forces applied to the body that may affect or may be affected by the manner of walking
  3. The muscle activation patterns that contribute to the internal and external forces and torques experienced as well as to the movement pattern; and
  4. The pressure distribution on the bottom of the foot while the person is standing or walking. Analysis involves the construction of mathematical and computerized models to digitize and reconstruct the movement pattern captured and to determine the internal joint forces and torques generated by the combined interaction among the muscles, the movement patterns and the external forces applied to the body.

Motion analysis can benefit the following patient populations and conditions: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, hip and joint problems, diabetes, stroke or cerebral vascular disease, brain injury, joint injuries or abnormalities, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, balance disorders, and brace or prosthetic device modification.

*Note: It is recommended that the patient be at least four years old and 38 inches tall as cooperation is needed during the evaluation, and the ability of the cameras to resolve the coordinates of the reflective devices decreases as the devices get closer together. Patients should also be able to follow simple instructions, tolerate tactile stimulation, and walk at least 20 feet.

Symposium and CE Course for Pediatric Clinicians and Therapists

Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Symposium 2013, October 15-16 (preconference for AACPDM annual meeting)

New technology in neurorehabilitation, motivating children with virtual environments, surgical and pharmacological interventions, and research in pediatric neurological pathologies are the main topics of the Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Symposium 2013. Registration closes Monday, September 30th, but a few spaces are still available. Go to

Pediatric Gait Analysis: A Segmental Kinematic Approach to Orthotic Management, Dec. 12-14

This course explores a fresh approach to the observation and analysis of normal standing, stepping and gait and the management of gait disorders. The biomechanics of normal gait and the pathological gaits of disabling conditions will be reviewed, with particular reference to orthotic management. Go to

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