GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Five members of the Mary Free Bed Kids therapy team have earned specialized certification in a well-established treatment approach to help children with neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, become as independent as possible.
Physical therapists Andrea Dennis, Micah Huegel and Kate Rustem, and occupational therapists Elle Augustine and Jennifer Mazurkiewicz participated in a nine-month program to become certified by the Neurodevelopmental Treatment Association.
Specialized training in neurodevelopmental treatment enables therapists to help children with conditions that make it difficult to control movement. NDT is a strategy that promotes development of motor skills and minimizes development of limited movement patterns that can lead to joint malalignment and muscle shortening. NDT should be implemented as soon as possible into the patient’s treatment program.
“This certification is tangible and includes hands-on skills that are important to use,” said Dennis, who, along with the other therapists, works with patients in the Mary Free Bed Kids outpatient program. “It helped us gain clinical skills that will improve the outcomes of our patients.”
“Being able to participate in this training shows the passion for our clinical care that Mary Free Bed has for its patients.”
The therapists drove to Chicago once a month for four, sometimes five, rigorous days of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on training.
“It was a significant commitment, but was definitely worth it,” Rustem said. “I’m very proud and excited for what this brings to our care, and I have already seen our patients benefitting.”