The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

May 27, 2013

All play and no work

Kids’ occupational therapy uses toys, games

ANDERSON, Ind. — “Can you find the ‘c,’ for cat and candy?”

Haleigh McCue sorts through a stack of little plastic letter tiles. She briefly thumbs the ‘c,’ then decides against it – ‘w’ is better.

The 6-year-old pins it to the table with her stronger, left hand, smiling triumphantly at occupational therapist Kimberly Biberstein.

“’W’ for walk,” Biberstein says, “Because that’s your goal.”

Haleigh has cerebral palsy, a non-progressive disorder stemming from damage to the brain’s motor control centers. Common problems include limited movement, communication ability, cognition and sight.

To help alleviate some of the worst symptoms, Haleigh receives occupational therapy at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital’s Erskine Rehabilitation Center, where Biberstein and other specialists are now taking patients as young as three.

The term “occupational” is a bit of a misnomer, Biberstein said, “People think it’s just about a job or work. But it’s really any activity you engage in throughout the day.”

For children such as Haleigh, that could be playing, going to school, brushing their own teeth or socializing with peers.

Being content

The Erskine center currently sees about 10 child patients, whose cerebral palsy, ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome or other conditions have limited their developmental, educational or emotional-behavioral abilities. Before, those patients would have to travel to neighboring counties, adding fuel expenses and lost work or school time.

During therapy, Haleigh works on things like strengthening her arms, sorting and developing muscle control — exactly like Biberstein’s adult patients, only she doesn’t know she’s doing it.

“We make it fun,” Biberstein said. “We play the whole time.”

Instead of the grown-ups’ beige exam rooms, the kids get walls painted purple and covered with marker boards, puzzles and pictures of animals.

Therapy is done using play swings, stretchy bungee cords, multi-colored plastic rings and other toys.

“There are a lot of games with tactile components,” Biberstein said, “Things they have to do with their hands,” which can help build up fine and gross motor skills, sensory perception, visual processing, handwriting, feeding and other abilities they’ll need to help take care of themselves.

Haleigh’s mother, Becky McCue, said, “Really, what we want is to get Haleigh as independent as possible — not just physically, but socially.”

She said they also do therapy at home, through play, eating and other everyday activities.

“It’s tough,” said McCue, whose own cerebral palsy gives her unique insight into her daughter’s struggle, “But little by little, we’re noticing progress.”

Awhile ago, Haleigh propped herself up on her side. She can eat finger foods and hold a cup or her Dora the Explorer doll.

They’re also working on her ability to socialize.

Haleigh can say a few words, such as ‘no,’ ‘yes’ and ‘thank you.’ But mostly, she communicates via sign language or text-to-voice software, which she uses over the phone to read story books with her grandma.

Therapy has “helped quite a bit,” her mom said. But the most important thing is that Haleigh’s happy.

“She’s pretty content with who she is,” McCue said. “That’s the best thing about her, I think.”

Like Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and follow her @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

1
Text Only
Local Business
  • FEA - HB0729 - Senior Falls Aging safely in the comfort of her home Marilyn Moneyhun said being totally reliant on others is difficult. "Losing your independence is a shock to your system," Moneyhun, 84, said. "You are not in control anymore."

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - business expansion CB Fabricating makes $2 million investment

    A local business founded in 2006 has invested $2 million in new equipment and a building expansion.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd: 'My Social Security' simplifies your life So many people buzz through extremely busy and complicated schedules these days. A smartphone in one hand, a computer in front of you, and a digital task list that never seems to end. In addition, to complicate things just a little more, there’s another event you need to add to your list — National Simplify Your Life week.

    July 28, 2014

  • nws - hb0725 - colts - jc - 4.jpg Colts camp's impact: pricey or priceless?

    Football fever is here and the city is flooded with fans eager to catch a glimpse of a favorite player. But officials say they are unclear what kind of economic impact the Indianapolis Colts training camp has on the area.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ - HB0727 - Skill gap 2 Seeking a solution today, not tomorrow Tina Warner-Morton says she wants to open her own healthcare business because it is too difficult to work for an employer with unclear employee expectations.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ - HB0727 - Cathy Cupboard Biz Profile Business Profile: Cathy's Cupboard focuses on customer satisfaction Cathy McPhearson opened her first storefront in June, but this is not her first venture into business. “I have always wanted to have my own business,” she said. “The problem was finding what people like, but everyone seems to like candles.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital named Level III trauma center The Trauma Center at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital has been verified as a Level III Trauma Center by an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons.

    July 26, 2014

  • Clark, Big Joe mug 'Big Joe' Clark: Beat the market or meet your goals? True or not, my experience tells me that goals – especially when written down – undoubtedly serve as catalysts for success. However, danger arises when a goal does not properly focus on the long term result you expect.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_8125.JPG Auction teaches in business, farming

    After 10 years of 4-H, saying goodbye to his animals has become a simple matter for McKennon Heald. But he said he wouldn't be surprised to see some tears from some of the younger participants. He's been there.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson, Alexandria and Elwood receive grants to tear down abandoned houses Three Madison County cities — Anderson, Alexandria and Elwood — received state grants that will be used to tear down abandoned, dilapidated houses.

    July 25, 2014

Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide