November - December 2004 • Dystonia
Volume 11, Issue 6

Finding a Common Language
Definitions, Classifications, and Measurement of Hypertonia
By Meg Barry Michaels, PhD, PT, PCS
Proper identification of a movement disorder is crucial for the therapist. Let’s start with the case of a 4-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. He was diagnosed with spasticity, and like hundreds of other children, underwent a selective dorsal rhizotomy. Click for more

Promoting Participation
Conductive Education as an intervention for Children with CP
By Janet M. Howle, PT, MACT
In 2001, the AACPDM Outcome Committee published a review of the state of the evidence regarding NDT for children with CP (Butler C, Darrah J 2001). In the March 2004 issue of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, this group has again published an evidence report on intervention for CP, this time reviewing the evidence regarding conductive education intervention for children with CP. Click for more

Understanding Dystonia
The Sense of a Goose
By Pamela Curtiss-Smith, OTR/L
According to the International Dystonia On-Line Support Group, dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that force certain parts of the body into abnormal movements or postures. It is the third most common movement disorder after Parkinson’s Disease and tremor, affecting more than 300,000 people of various ages, races, and ethnic groups in North America. Click for more

Success in the Classroom
The Role of Occupational Therapy
By Steve Milliken
Language regarding highly qualified teachers in “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) amendments to the Elementary/Secondary Education Act of 1965 has brought forth a discussion on the importance of highly qualified teachers in the learning process. While most of the attention has been on the qualifications of those instructing the content area of course work, I believe that related service personnel are key to the individual success of students with disabilities and to the overall success of school. Click for more

Who’s in Charge
Blueprint for Managing Long-term Rehabilitation
By Mike and Becky O’Rear
Our son is recovering from a traumatic brain injury received in a car accident in July 1999. His recovery has been complicated, slowed by a high degree of tone and spasticity. For us, facing his long-term rehabilitation was a daunting, overwhelming task. Click for more

Demystifying Dystonia
Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Dystonia
By A. Leland Albright, M.D.
What is Dystonia? Dystonia is defined medically as “sustained muscle contractions that result in twisting and abnormal postures.” It is a hyper-kinetic movement disorder, meaning the amount of movement is greater than normal. It differs from athetosis, which is characterized by writhing movements, especially of the hands, fingers, and peri-oral muscles. Click for more

Question from the Field
Question from the Field
By Monica Wojcik, M.A., CCC –SLP
Question: I am working with a seven-year-old boy who has dystonic/athetoid cerebral palsy. He tests in the normal range cognitively and is learning how to use a Pathfinder system for augmentative communication. He tries hard to vocalize, and his mother says there are some words she understands. Is talking ever going to be a possibility for him? Click for more

Playing Around
Creating a Place to Play and Learn
By Bonnie Boenig M.Ed, OTR/L
In observing children engaged in solitary or group play, it is difficult not to marvel at the amount of learning that occurs. Exploration of the environment, problem solving with constructive tasks, and creative use of play media, such as crayons, paint, and clay, as well as the interpersonal lessons that come from socialization with peers all lead to the emergence and acquisition of a variety of skills. Click for more

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