Monday, December 5, 2011

MedCare Sponsors Trees for Tots 2011

It is that time of year again. MedCare Pediatric Group sponsored MedCare Milestones’ 6th annual Trees for Tots event this past Saturday, December 3rd. With the generous donations and contributions from other sponsors and fundraisers, there were over 250 Christmas trees and ornaments that were available to be given out to the families of children with special needs. Families enjoyed holiday treats and hot cocoa, as well as having their pictures made with Santa and his elves. We are honored to be a part of this heartfelt gesture to all of the families. Their gratitude and expressed appreciation each year keeps us wanting to do more. If you or your company would like to join MedCare Pediatric Group with this rewarding event in 2012, you can contact Macanda Hinchey-Block at 713-773-5123. Sponsorships include publicity on their website, logo/name on event shirts and banners, as well as on printed materials. For more information on MedCare Milestones and other events and charity contributions they support, please visit their website at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Proposed Budget Cuts of Up To 70% Threatens Pediatric Therapy Services Provided

     This is to notify you of proposed healthcare budget cuts to the reimbursement rates of the pediatric therapy services that are provided through Medicaid’s CCP Program. While we were successful in receiving no budget cuts at the state level a couple of months ago, Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has now proposed their budget which negatively affects these services and the therapists that provide them. HHSC has proposed to cut the reimbursement rates for these services by an average of 35-45% with some rates being cut as much as 70%. This much of a decrease in funds will cause the shutdown of many Pediatric Therapy agencies. These agencies would not be able to survive by continuing to pay the therapists what they deserve if the State’s reimbursement to the agencies does do not cover their rates. Your help is requested in voicing your opposition to these cuts in order for these much needed services to continue.

     We will be attending a rate hearing in Austin on November 21st, to voice our concerns with this proposed budget cut to the HHSC. This is a public hearing and there will be other Pediatric Therapy Agencies from around the State as well as the Board of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. We urge you to let HHSC know how you feel and how this would affect not only the children, but also the ripple effect that this would cause on therapists. You can do this by:

  1. going to Austin and letting them know you do not agree with them.
  2. writing a letter, giving a history about your child, and include details how therapy services has helped your child and without these services, how your child’s life would be effected. Give the letter to us by November 18th, and we will bring it to Austin for you. Or fax to us at 713-779-0204.
  3. Contacting HHSC by email,,
  4. writing a letter and faxing it directly to HHSC, ATTN: Rate Analysis to 1-512-491-1998, or mail it to:
               US Mail
               Attention: Rate Analysis
               HHSC Rate Analysis, Mail Code H-400
               PO Box 85200
               Austin, Texas 78708-5200

We are hoping to be able to testify against these proposals and advocate for the medically fragile children of Texas for whom therapy services are a necessity, not a privilege. Even though there are many Pediatric Therapy Agencies in Texas, this is the time that we are all united and need to stand for “one cause”…the patients and their families. MedCare has continued to fight against these proposals, contacting local representatives and continuously staying informed of proposed changes and voicing concerns when we disagree with them. You have a voice and can make a difference. Please act quickly, whether it is via email, writing a letter, or by signing the attached petition because the proposed budget cuts are supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2012. The individuals that are proposing this budget cut do not fully realize the “trickle down effect” that will occur if the proposed 35% - 45%, and some up to 70%, cut goes into effect. It is up to all of us, parents, therapists, the public, and Pediatric Agencies—all advocates for medically fragile children—to make them realize how their decisions affect these special kids and EVERYONE who cares for them. We need to protect and care for our children by doing “Whatever it Takes”.


             Paige Kinkade, CEO/Owner
             MedCare Pediatric Group, LP


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Toy Drive - Win a $100 Gift Card

The holidays season is officially upon us and MedCare would like to take this time to give to those who are less fortunate then us.  We are hosting a toy drive from Monday, November 7th through Friday, December 5th.  All of the toys that we collect will be donated to Child Advocates, a non-profit organization here in Houston that helps children who have been abused.  For every new, unwrapped toy that you donate, you will have the opportunity to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Donations will be accepted at any of our clinic locations, at our Home Health staff meetings on the 9th, 10th, and 14th of November, and at our MedCare Beach Palooza event in Galveston on November 19th!! 

Patients and their families, as well as employees, are encouraged to participate!  When you donate your toy(s), please make sure you put your full name and phone number on the tickets since we will open this up to everyone, not just employees!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Sommer LaShomb at 713-773-5100.

Thank you in advance for your donations!! 

Monday, October 10, 2011


The school year has started and as a parent you have questions and concerns regarding your child.  “Do they like their classes?”  “Are they behaving in class?”  “Are they making friends?”  You do not want to ask the question, but it may be in the back of your mind, “Is my child being bullied?”  There are different forms of bullying such as verbal, physical and non-verbal.  You may be familiar with verbal bullying which is seen in the school as name-calling or making fun of someone.  You may even remember from your time at school about physical bullying which may be seen as pushing someone in the hallway.  You may not be aware of non-verbal bullying but it tends to have same effects as the others; this may include being ignored by others or excluding someone from a group activity.

As a parent, you may begin to see signs that your child is being bullied at school.  Your child may show a loss of interest or be afraid to go to school.  Your child may appear sad, moody, or depressed when coming home from school.  The teacher may tell you that your child appears to be withdrawn or does not want to participate in class.  Your child may complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments.  In other words, you child may be faking an illness to get out going to school, or these physical symptoms may be manifested due to stress.  Parents are often unaware of bullying problems, and students feel that adult intervention is infrequent and fear that telling an adult will only bring more harassment from bullies.

If your child shows some of these signs, it does not necessarily mean that they are being bullied; but it is something worth exploring with your child.  Talk with your child and talk with staff at school to learn more.  Let your child know that you are concerned and you would like to help.  You can get a discussion started using subtle questions.  “Do you have any special friends at school this year?  Who are they?  Who do you hang out with?”  “Are there any kids at school who really don’t like you?  Why don’t you like them?  Do they ever pick on your or leave you out of things?”  You can also get a discussion started using more direct questions.  “Are there any kids at school who pick on you or tease you in a mean way?”  “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or exclude you on purpose?”  If your child does not feel like talking about it, do not push the issue.  Your child may be embarrassed and feel as though it is their fault for what is going on at school.  As a parent, be supportive of your child; allow them to feel safe and protected with you.

It is important to also speak with your child’s teacher.  Share your observations and concerns regarding your child and ask questions.  “How does my child get along with other students in class?”  With whom does my child spend free time?”  “Have you noticed or suspect that my child is being bullied by other students?”  Ask the teacher to talk with other adults who interact with your child at school; this may include the PE teacher, bus driver or music teacher.  If the teacher is hard to contact or you are not satisfied with the conversation, make an appointment with the school counselor to discuss your concerns.

If you believe your child is being bullied, take quick action!  Bullying can have serious effects on your child.

Douglas Plaeger MA, LPC

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MedCare Pediatric Rehab Center
Cordially Invites You to Our

Northshore Clinic Groundbreaking Ceremony

September 28, 2011
12:45 p.m.

4818 E. Sam Houston Parkway North #250
Houston, TX 77015

Reception to follow at
5624 E. Sam Houston Parkway North
Houston, TX 77015

Please R.S.V.P. by September 26th to
Denise Stahmer at or
 Call 713-995-9292 ext 119


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's FLU Season!

The 2011-2012 Flu Season is quickly approaching. Each year, the severity of the virus is unpredictable. The timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading and whether they match the viruses in the vaccine. There are many ways to prevent contracting the virus. The best way to prevent getting any type of infection or virus is good hand washing techniques. Below are some of the most common FAQ and their answers regarding the flu virus…

1.    Will new strains of flu circulate this season?
Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu virus strains to appear each year.
2.   When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
3.   What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
4.   How effective is the flu vaccine?
Inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups.
5.    What other actions can I take to protect myself and my family against the flu this season on a daily basis?
In addition to the vaccine, you can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.
6.   Is there treatment for the flu?
Yes. If you get sick, there are drugs that can treat flu illness. They are called antiviral drugs and they can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They also can prevent serious flu–related complications, like pneumonia.
-Karyn Jolly, RN

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great new class!!

The Texas Department of Disability and Aging Services
DADS has issued the following Provider Alerts or Bulletins:

Benefits and work incentive sessions planned for this fall

Do you know anyone who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid, wants to work, but is worried about how work will affect these crucial benefits?  Register (link to registration form) now for one of the Benefits and Work Incentives Planning Supports and Services trainings being held around the state in September, October and November.  This unique free training is designed to give you basic knowledge about SSDI and SSI work incentives programs and the many Texas-specific programs that support someone who wishes to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.
This unique free training is designed to give you basic knowledge about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) work incentives programs
 YOU WILL LEARN Why it is important to have basic knowledge about these programs. How using federal and state work incentives programs can help a consumer reach his/her employment goal. The information you need to provide basic facts about benefits and work incentives to people you support. When to refer a consumer to a Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) certified Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) for expert, and more detailed assistance.
YOU WILL GET Easy to understand fact sheets about each federal and state program. Contact information for the seven WIPA programs statewide.
BENEFITS AND WORK INCENTIVES PLANNING SUPPORTS AND SERVICES: YES, YOU CAN! DATES AND CITIES SEPTEMBER 2011 Longview Monday 9-19 AM Tyler Tuesday 9-20 AM Austin Wednesday 9-21 AM San Antonio Thursday 9-22 AM Corpus Christi Friday 9-23 AM OCTOBER 2011 Plano Monday 10/3 AM Fort Worth Tuesday 10/4 AM Amarillo Wednesday 10/5 AM Lubbock Thursday 10/6 AM NOVEMBER 2011 McAllen Monday 11/7 AM El Paso Tuesday 11/8 AM Houston Wednesday 11/9 AM and PM LOCATIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED AM = 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM PM = 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
This training is sponsored by Texas’ Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, which is part of the Department of
Assistive and Rehabilitative Services’ Division for Rehabilitation Services. The MIG is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services . (CFDA 93.768)
and the many Texas specific programs that support someone who wishes to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vote For Jessica!

She lives at 1717 Foxglove. Help your precious neighbor, Jessica, and other local children like her with handicaps and special needs. No need to donate a dime, just 2 or 3 minutes of your time, once a day till Saturday 27th.

Your neighbor Jessica on life support

Vote for her life saving charity at
and login using your facebook account. This
will allow you to vote for the
‘The Lindsay

The Lindsay Foundation's primary goal is to assist families with resources necessary to provide medical treatments, therapies,
supplies and rehabilitative equipment in order to improve the quality of life for their children with special needs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back To School!

Back to School & Avoiding Illness
It’s that time of year again! The backpacks are packed full with school supplies a plenty. The new clothes and shoes nicely arranged in the closet. The parents are busy making the proper arrangements, and the children’s minds are filled with wonder about what the new school year has in store. And lurking around every corner, just waiting for an unsuspecting host - is a germ, a virus, or bacteria – the ones we dread most! 
During all of the hustle and bustle of heading back to school, take time out to review these important tips to keep your child well and free from illness this school year. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date before school starts, and to make sure they get a Flu vaccine every year.  If you have concerns about your child receiving vaccines, be sure to discuss them with your child’s Pediatrician.
In order to prevent infection, it is important to understand what common childhood infections are, and how they are transmitted. The term "germs" refers to the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause illness or disease. Germs are found everywhere in our environment, and while some are helpful, others can be very harmful. Germs are spread by direct contact with an infected person or surface, through air particles, or by contaminated food or water. 
Here are a few common childhood illnesses to be particularly mindful of –
  • Pinkeye (conjunctivitis). This very contagious infection of the lining of the eyelids can result in reddened, crusty and itchy eyes. The condition can be prevented by washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water. Children should also avoid touching their eyes as well as sharing eye drops, makeup, eye glasses/ sun glasses, pillowcases, washcloths and towels.
  • Strep throat. This bacterial infection causes swelling and extreme soreness in the back of the throat. This contagious illness spreads through close contact and by unwashed hands, as well as sneezing or coughing. The infection can be prevented by not sharing utensils, food, drinks, napkins or towels with a child who is already sick. Children should also be taught to sneeze or cough into their shirtsleeve, not their hands.
  • RSV- Respiratory Syncytial Virus. A viral infection of the lungs and breathing passages that is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. In adults, it may only produce a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But in premature babies and kids with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses. RSV is highly contagious and can be spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. It also can live on surfaces (such as countertops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing, so it can be easily spread when a person touches something contaminated. RSV can spread rapidly through schools and childcare centers. Babies often get it when older kids carry the virus home from school and pass it to them. Almost all kids are infected with RSV at least once by the time they're 2 years old. RSV infections often occur from late fall through early spring. Respiratory illness caused by RSV — such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia — usually lasts about a week, but some cases may last several weeks.
·         Gastroenteritis (Rotovirus, Norovirus). Infection with these viruses affects the stomach and intestines and causes an illness called gastroenteritis. Illness often begins suddenly with stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some also experience low grade fever, chills, headache, & generalized fatigue. Infections are usually not serious, and most recover within 1 or 2 days with no long-term health effects. But, more severe illness is possible, particularly in young children and those with other health conditions, and can lead to hospitalization and even death.   General symptoms of dehydration include a decrease in urination, a dry mouth, and feeling dizzy when standing up. A dehydrated child may also cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.  Severe dehydration can be serious. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of liquids. The most helpful fluids for this purpose are oral rehydration fluids such as Pedialyte.
  • Head lice. Though not an illness, this condition can be quite problematic. Lice are parasitic insects that infest the head, eyebrows and eyelashes, are common among children. Anyone can get lice and they are not associated with poor hygiene. Discourage children from sharing combs, brushes, hats and helmets to prevent infestation.
·         Influenza. (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. The flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. The 2011 seasonal flu vaccine protects against three flu viruses, including the novel H1N1 (Swine) flu virus that caused illnesses around the world last year. Unlike before, there’s no need to get two vaccines this season.
  • Walking pneumonia. This illness is the leading type of pneumonia in school-age kids and teens. It can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or through coughs or sneezes containing bacteria. Although it can be treated effectively with antibiotics, children can prevent getting the illness by washing their hands well and often.
Here are some things you can do and teach your child to do to prevent the spread of illness:

ü  Wash your hands frequently and properly. This is the number one thing that will cut down on the spread of germs. Proper hand washing includes using soap and warm water and rubbing your hands together, lathering and scrubbing all surfaces for 20 seconds. Have your child sing their “ABCs” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to remember how long to wash. Rinse hands well and dry on a paper towel or with an air dryer. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet to avoid recontamination. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands. For hand sanitizers to be effective, rub the product all over hands and fingers and under fingernails. Hand sanitizers are good at killing germs if hands are not visibly dirty. If they are dirty, use the sanitizer and wash with soap and water as soon as possible. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing or wiping your nose, coughing, sneezing or being around someone who is sick. Also wash them before eating or handling any food, and after touching an animal or touching garbage.
ü  Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not your hands. This will help you minimize the chances that you will pass your germs on when touching objects around the house. Throw your dirty tissues away immediately after using them. Germs can live in tissues for hours and leaving dirty tissues around will just make it easier for the germs to spread to other people. Not to mention, that they could reinfect you every time you use or touch it.
ü  Help Your Immune System – Diet, Rest, Water, Exercise, & Stress. An unhealthy diet and not enough sleep can affect the immune system and lower your resistance to illnesses. Normally our bodies can help fight off organisms before we get sick. However, staying up late, cramming for an exam, or eating too many cheeseburgers and fries can wear our body down. Poor nutrition and not getting good rest can weaken the immune system. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can prevent health problems. Sleep is crucial to maintaining your child’s health. Sleep is the body’s time to repair and rejuvenate itself. Drinking water helps prevent dehydration and helps flush out the body. Exercise is good for us physically and mentally. Exercise helps with anxiety, stress and we sleep better too. Exercise gives us a higher energy level and can promote better concentration in school. Stress is the body's normal response to troubling situations. Children can experience stress such as entering a new grade, a new school, or worrying about an upcoming test at school. So preparing your child ahead of time can help reduce stress. Encourage your child to study each evening versus cramming the night before a test.
ü  Teaching children good health habits - Make sure your children follow healthy habits. Children are a major source of illness because they are exposed to a lot when they are around other children. They will often bring an illness home from school or daycare then spread it to other family members. Instilling in children the importance of washing their hands often will help cut down on their illnesses, as well as implementing the tips above.
So, now that you are armed with all of this “germ” knowledge – go out there and have a fun, prosperous, and HEALTHY school year!
Written by: Sherrie Mullikin, RN   
Assistant Director of Nursing

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tips for Handling Stress

It is totally normal for caregivers of all kinds to experience stressful times, especially when caring for a child who is experiencing challenges or has special needs.  When under stress, remember, you are not alone, and these feelings do not mean that you are weak or a bad caregiver.  It is important to take the necessary measures to ease these feelings before they hurt someone verbally or even physically. 
Here are some tips:
·         Give yourself a TIME OUT!  Yes, caregivers need a time out too.  Finding 10-20 minutes a day just to clear your mind can work wonders.  Whether it is a short walk outside, enjoying pleasant scenery, or simply closing your eyes in meditation this short bit of time as a regular routine can help to de-stress yourself.
·         Let your child know that you are feeling stressed out, angry, or whatever the feeling may be.  By identifying your feeling and appropriate coping skill, such as a few minutes of time to yourself, you are modeling a technique that is great for our kids to learn when they get overwhelmed. 
·          When we are angry or stressed, it is important to postpone implementing punishment until we have had time to think it through calmly.  If you happen to lose your temper, or make remarks that are hurtful, it is also important to say that you are sorry.
·         Create a “to do list”.  This is helpful in remembering what we need to do for the day no matter how old we are!  It is also self-fulfilling to see each item on the list checked or crossed off.
·         Journal your thoughts and feelings.  Journaling is a great outlet in processing what has been happening and allowing you to think things through.  Reflecting on the journal entries during similar times can also normalize the situation for you when feeling overwhelmed.
·         Connect with other caregivers that are in similar situations.  Support groups are also a great way to validate your thoughts and recognize that you are not alone.  Learning more about what your child may be going through based on their disorder or challenge through the internet, doctor, therapist, or counselor are all great ways to find out about local resources that you can connect with.
·         BREATHE!  Literally, breathing techniques are a great way to decompress and de-stress.  You may feel a little silly at first, but here are some steps:
1.        Place your right hand over your chest and your left hand right above your belly button.
2.       Breathe in and out slowly 5 times, paying attention to your breathing pattern with your hands still in place.
3.       Repeat this 2 additional times or as needed.
The idea of this technique is for you to be aware of your body when in a relaxed state of mind.  As you practice this technique regularly, you will recognize the signals your body is giving that you need a time out for yourself.
Remember, all of these tips are also great ways to model healthy coping skills for your child.  By following through and being consistent with regular self care, you are promoting positive behaviors and, in essence, showing your child that they can do the same thing!
By: Naomi Berger-Perez, MA, LPC, LMFT

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Aqua Therapy!

All About Aquatic Therapy!

It’s summertime which means that many children will be spending their days at the pool splashing around and trying to stay cool!  The swimming pool isn’t just for swimming though!  At MedCare Pediatric Rehab Center, our occupational and physical therapists use the pool to help patients in a number of ways.  In this week’s blog we will talk about the different characteristics of water and how we use them in therapy, as well as locations in and around Houston where you can access pools if you don’t have your own!

Buoyancy is the force that the water exerts against our body.  In everyday terms, buoyancy is what makes us float in the water and is also the reason why we feel so much lighter in the water!  Movement is sometimes much easier in the water for patients who have physical disabilities because they feel so much lighter.  Sometimes they are able to sit upright, stand, walk, jump and even hop in the pool-things that they may not be able to do on land easily.  Buoyancy also helps the therapists and patients work range of motion (ROM).  ROM is the amount of movement that a person has at a joint.  So, for example, a patient may not be able to raise their arm over their head all the way when they are on land, but may be able to straighten it all the way when they are in the water because buoyancy just helps that arm float right up!  Patients who have difficulty breathing on land may also have improved breathing in the pool because the bones of their rib cage can move more easily in the water.

Viscosity is the resistance that the water exerts against your body.  So even though we feel lighter in the water, our muscles are still working to move against the resistance of the water.  If you’ve ever been to the ocean, just think about how hard it is to move in the water when the waves are crashing!  We often use jets in the pool to create “waves” for the patients to move against so they can work on strengthening their muscles. 

Hydrostatic Pressure is the pressure that the water against our body.  This pressure against the body can help to reduce swelling, similar to the way an ace bandage wrapped around a sprained ankle helps to reduce swelling.  Hydrostatic pressure also helps to improve proprioception, which is the awareness of where your body is in space.  Children who seem “clumsy” and who often bump into things or fall may do so because they don’t have a good sense of where their body is in space.  The pressure of the water can stimulate receptors in your joints that tell your brain where your body is in space. 
Temperature is another important characteristic of water that we use in therapy.  Cold water helps to slow blood flow and reduce swelling so we will often use cold water when someone has an injury such as a broken bone, a sprain, or after a surgery.  The faster we can get the swelling to go down, the faster the patient can get up and moving and back to the activities that they love.  Warm water helps relax tight muscles, increase blood flow, and increase heart rate.  With our patients who have spasticity, stretching and ROM activities in the warm waters of the pool are much easier and much less painful then if we do them on land.  For patients who have decreased endurance, just simply being in the warm water makes their heart beat faster and work harder.  Add some exercises on top of that and their heart is getting a great workout!
Even the sensation of water and being wet is an important goal for some patients.  Patients who have Sensory Integration Disorder or who have tactile defensiveness may not be able to tolerate the feeling of being wet.  Their brains and bodies don’t recognize sensations the same way a typical child’s does, so being wet may actually feel “gross” or even be painful to them.  Therapists often work with these children in the water to help their bodies and their brains get used to the feeling of being wet so that events like bath time or being caught in the rain aren’t so traumatizing.
So now that you know all about how and why we use water in therapy, it’s time for you get your swimsuits on and head for the pool!  But outside of therapy, where can you go if you don’t have a pool of your own?  Here are some agencies in and around Houston which provide access to a pool for children with disabilities!
Metropolitan Multi-Service Center
1475 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 284-1973
The MMSC pool provides a great environment for people with disabilities to exercise. The 5-lane, 25-yard heated pool is fully accessible by wheelchair and is equipped with a zero depth entry ramp, hand rails, and three chair lifts. Changing and shower facilities are available adjacent to the pool area.  Participants are required to have independent functioning mobility skills or bring an adult attendant to assist.  A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist oversees the Adaptive Aquatics program. Fulltime lifeguards and trainers lead water fitness classes and FREE exercise periods for people with disabilities.  Water fitness classes are offered Monday – Friday. Swimming skills are not necessary to participate in our water programs. Year-round swim lessons are available for adults and children.  Pre-registration is required and must be complete prior to getting in the pool.
YMCA of Greater Houston
P.O. Box 3007
Houston, TX 77253
(713) 659-5566

The Y offers a wide range of swimming options for the whole family. Swimming builds self-confidence and develops the whole person – spirit, mind and body. Classes are divided into ability groups while trained instructors who emphasize personal safety, swimming skills, endurance and social skills guided with praise and encouragement.  The Y offers swim lessons for all ages and abilities

Written By:
Sommer L. LaShomb, PT, DPT, PCS

Acerca de la Terapia Acuática!

Llego el verano eso significa que muchos niños van a pasar sus días en la piscina chapoteando y tratando de mantenerse frescos.  La piscina no es solo para natación sinembargo! En MedCare Pediatric Rehab Center, nuestros terapistas ocupacionales y de física usan la piscina para ayudar a los pacientes en un sin número de maneras.  En el blog de esta semana vamos a hablar de las diferentes características del agua como se usan en la terapia, así como los lugares en los alrededores de Houston, donde se puede acceder a las piscinas si no tiene una propia! 

La flotabilidad es la fuerza que el agua ejerce en contra de nuestro cuerpo.  En términos cotidianos, la flotabilidad es lo que nos hace flotar en el agua y es también la razón por la cual nos sentimos mucho mas ligeros en el agua!  El movimiento es a veces mucho más fácil en el agua para los pacientes que tienen una discapacidad física porque se sienten mucho más ligeros.  A veces son capaces de sentarse en posición vertical, de pie, caminar, saltar e incluso brincar de la piscina, cosas que pueden no ser capaces de hacer en la tierra con facilidad. La flotabilidad también ayuda a los terapistas y pacientes trabajar en la amplitud de movimiento (ROM).  ROM es la cantidad de movimiento que tiene una persona en una articulación.  Así, por ejemplo, un paciente no puede ser capaz de levantar su brazo sobre su cabeza todo el camino cuando están en tierra, pero puede ser capaz de enderezarlo todo el camino cuando se encuentra en el agua debido a la flotabilidad que solo ayuda a que flote su brazo hacia arriba!  Los pacientes que tienen dificultad para respirar fuera de la tierra también pueden mejorar la respiración en la piscina, porque los huesos de sus costillas tienen un soporte mejor dentro del agua. La  resistencia de la viscosidad del agua es la que ejerce contra su cuerpo.  Así que, aunque nos sentimos más ligeros en el agua, nuestros músculos están trabajando para avanzar contra la resistencia del agua.  Si alguna vez has estado en el mar, sólo al pensar lo difícil que es moverse dentro del agua cuando hay olas! Solemos usar los chorros en la piscina para crear "olas" para que los pacientes puedan moverse en contra para que puedan trabajar en fortaler sus músculos.  La presión hidrostática es la presión que el agua va en contra de nuestro cuerpo. Esta presión contra el cuerpo puede ayudar a reducir la hinchazón, de forma similar a un vendaje envuelto alrededor de un tobillo torcido ayuda a reducir la hinchazón.  La presión hidrostática también ayuda a mejorar la propiocepción, que es la conciencia de dónde está su cuerpo en el espacio.  Los niños que parecen "torpe" y que a menudo tropiezan con cosas o se caen es porque no tienen un buen equilibrio de su cuerpo.   La presión del agua puede estimular los receptores en las articulaciones que le indican al cerebro dónde está su cuerpo en el espacio. 

La temperatura es otra característica importante de agua que utilizamos en la terapia.  El agua fría ayuda a disminuir el flujo sanguíneo y reduce la hinchazón, así que a menudo se utiliza agua fría cuando alguien tiene una lesión, como un hueso roto, una torcedura, o después de una cirugía.  Cuanto más rápido podamos conseguir que la hinchazón baje, más rápido el paciente puede levantarse y caminar y regresar a las actividades que le gustan.  El agua caliente ayuda a relajar los músculos tensos, aumentar el flujo de sangre, y aumentar el ritmo cardíaco. Con los pacientes que tienen espasticidad, estiramientos y actividades de ROM con las cálidas aguas de la piscina es mucho más fácil y menos doloroso, si despues lo hacemos en la tierra.  Para los pacientes que tienen disminución de la resistencia, simplemente estar en el agua caliente hace que su corazón lata más rápido y trabaja más duro. Agregue un poco de ejercicios y su corazón estará recibiendo un gran entrenamiento!

Incluso la sensación de estar en el agua es un objetivo importante para algunos pacientes.  Los pacientes que tienen trastorno de integración sensorial o que tienen la defensa táctil puede no ser capaz de tolerar la sensación de estar húmedo. Sus cuerpos y cerebros no reconocen las sensaciones de la misma manera que un niño típico es, y estar mojado puede realmente sentirse "intolerable" o incluso ser doloroso para ellos.  Terapistas a menudo trabajan con estos niños en el agua para ayudar a su cuerpo y su cerebro se acostumbre a la sensación de estar húmedos para que eventos como la hora del baño o ser atrapado en la lluvia no sea tan traumático.

Así que ahora que sabes todo acerca de cómo y por qué el uso del agua en la terapia, es el momento de obtener su traje de baño y la cabeza en la piscina! Pero fuera de la terapia, ¿dónde puede ir si usted no tiene una piscina propia?

Aquí están algunas agencias en y alrededor de Houston que ofrecen acceso a piscina para niños con discapacidades!

Metropolitan Multi-Service Center
1475 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 284-1973

La piscina MMSC proporciona un entorno ideal para personas con discapacidad para hacer ejercicio.  Los 5-carriles, 25 yardas de piscina climatizada es totalmente accesible en silla de ruedas y esta equipada con una rampa de entrada de cero de profundidad, pasamanos, y tres elevador de silla de ruedas.  Hay un lugar para vestirse y ducharse disponible junto a la zona de la piscina.

Los participantes deben tener habilidades técnicas de movilidad independiente o llevar un acompañante adulto para asistir.  Un Especialista Certificado en Recreación Terapéutica supervisa el programa de actividades de adaptación acuáticas.  Salvavidas de tiempo completo y entrenadores principales clases de ejercicios en el agua y ejercicios gratuitos para personas con discapacidad.  Clases de ejercicios en el agua se ofrecen de lunes - viernes.  Habilidad de natación no es necesario para participar en nuestros programas de agua.

Clases durante todo el año de natación están disponibles para adultos y niños.  Pre-inscripción es obligatorio y debe ser completado antes de entrar a la piscina.

YMCA of Greater Houston
P.O. Box 3007
Houston, TX 77253
(713) 659-5566

El YMCA ofrece una amplia selección de opciones para natación para toda la familia.  La  natación construye confianza en sí mismo y desarrolla toda la persona - espíritu, mente y cuerpo.  Las clases están divididas en grupos de habilidad, mientras que los instructores capacitados hacen hincapié en la seguridad personal, habilidades de natación, resistencia y habilidades sociales guiadas con elogios y ánimos.  El YMCA ofrece clases de natación para todas las edades y habilidades.