CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. — Children with limb differences have few opportunities to interact with peers who have similar body types, according to a speaker here at the Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics Annual Meeting. So she and a team of therapists developed a monthly support group for those children and their families.
Dubbed “Someone Like Me,” the multidisciplinary program offers adaptive sports, therapeutic games and age-appropriate diagnosis education for children from 1 year to 8 years old. Through occupational and physical therapy, it provides early exposure to new skills in a comfortable environment, Lisa Schwarcz, PT, DPT, PCS, founder of the group and also from the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, said.
“We focus on the bigger, more functional things rather than specific parameters. By doing group therapy, we are able to work on team goals that sometimes we cannot in individual therapy,” she said.
The program also offers parent support, training, resources and information on relevant topics such as ADA law, prostheses and bullying. One-on-one sessions with speakers and therapists who specialize in limb difference are also available. Schwarcz said combining a therapy group with a support program could offer unique benefits to children with limb differences, and ultimately improve their outlook on life.
“This is just a great initiative. We have received a huge response from these children and their families,” she said. “Our goal is to convince everyone that they need to make some kind of group. It does not have to be therapist directed – it could be parent, patient, prosthetist or surgeon [directed]. I would love to see more of these groups in more places.”
Someone Like Me is currently working with e-NABLE, Save-A-Limb, I-CAN, SOPAC and other organizations to develop new groups and resources for children in the O&P community. – by Shawn M. Carter
Schwarcz L. Creative solution #2. Presented at: Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics Annual Meeting; May. 13-16, 2015; Clearwater Beach, Fla.
Disclosure: Schwarcz reports no relevant financial disclosures.