Medical Rehabilitation

Building Independence
Woman with young lady in rehabMedical rehabilitation focuses on building independence through the use of therapies that meet the needs of individuals and families. Easter Seals therapists work together with individuals and families to teach new skills, restore function and provide technologies that promote independence and quality of life.
Whether teaching a person with traumatic brain injury skills to live independently, or helping a child with cerebral palsy learn to walk, Easter Seals therapists use exercise, activities of daily living, education and prevention to help each person attain their goals.

A medical rehabilitation program includes an assessment of an individual’s skills and abilities, setting goals to match the individual’s desires, and specific therapy to build the individual’s abilities. Therapy might include training in self-care, parent coaching, teaching a person to use an assistive device, specialized education services and/or guidance and support in the workplace.

How can I get therapy for myself or a family member?
In many states a prescription from a doctor is required in order for you to be seen by a therapist. Often you doctor can help you decide what type of therapy you or your family member needs.
If you have a child who is up to the age of three years, all you need to do is to contact the early intervention system in your area and they will help you arrange evaluations and treatment for your child. If you need help finding your local early intervention system, visit the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center to find information for all 50 states.

How is therapy paid for?
If you have private insurance, you will need to check with your insurance provider to see if they cover the therapy you want to receive. Some state and federal programs may pay for therapy including Medicaid, Medicare, Workers’ Compensation, Medicaid Waivers or vocational rehabilitation. This varies from state to state. Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for information about Medicaid in your state.

Where will I receive my therapy?
Easter Seals is family-focused and wants you to receive your therapy in the place where it is most convenient and meaningful to you. Depending on the rules, regulations, needs of the community and needs of the person, therapy may happen at a rehabilitation center or clinic, at a child development center, in a school, in an adult day program, or even in your own home. You will want to talk to your doctor and your therapist to decide where it would be best for you to receive your therapy.

What is medical rehabilitation? Medical rehabilitation may include:

Early intervention
Early intervention is designed to help babies and toddlers meet their developmental milestones. Qualified professionals work with parents and children up to the age of 3 years old who are experiencing delays in development. The goal of early intervention is for children to reach their highest level of development. Therapists work closely with parents and other family members to teach them how to help their young child learn the skills they need to develop as they grow, such as rolling over, sitting up, picking things up with their hands, walking and talking.

Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy focuses on developing a person’s ability to be able to take care of themselves. This includes a child’s or adult’s ability to bathe, get dressed, eat, do school work, manage a home or work. Easter Seals’ licensed occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants promote independence in self-care, work, school and play.

Physical therapy
Physical therapy services focus on enhancing or restoring mobility that may have been lost due to injury, disease, aging or birth defect. Easter Seals physical therapists use exercise, activity, assistive devices, massage and other techniques to encourage independence at home, school, work and in the community.

Speech-language pathology (speech therapy)
Speech pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, help people learn speech and language. They also treat swallowing and feeding problems. Speech pathologists might help a stroke survivor regain their ability to talk, or might help a young child learn to speak. Speech pathologists also help people who cannot learn to talk to use augmentative communication devices, like computer-based devices that speak for a person or a board with pictures or words that a person can point to.

Assistive technology
Assistive technology includes equipment and services that allow individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers in the home, on the job, at school or just about anywhere. Assistive technology can include programs that read a computer screen out loud for people who are blind, computer devices that speak for people who cannot speak or an organization system for someone who has had a traumatic brain injury.

Recreational therapy
Recreational therapy incorporates the goals of therapy for people with disabilities into fun, everyday activities. By using special techniques and equipment, programs provide leisure time and recreation like individual and team sports, exercise and craft classes, adapted swimming, outings and camping.

Mental health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that mental illness affects one in five families in America. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 12 to 25 percent of American preschool and school-aged children have an emotional or behavioral disorder. Without support for these individuals and families, the consequences can be serious, contributing to preschool expulsion, problems in school, difficulties at work, drug and alcohol abuse, and homelessness. There are many effective interventions and treatments for mental health. Up to 90 percent of people who receive treatment experience fewer problems and a better quality of life.

Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood behavior problems, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) are some common mental health problems that might be experienced. Early screening and referral to services are important to a successful recovery. Some interventions might include cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, interpersonal therapy, support groups and other community services. Many individuals are helped with the prescription of specific medications.