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Toys and technology for rehabilitation in cerebral palsy patients
Date:7/1/2008

Providence, RI What began as a college course project to design therapeutic toys has resulted in the first toys of their kind, designed as therapy for children with cerebral palsy (CP).

CP is a disorder that affects the development of the brain and the motor system, often causing muscle weakness and paralysis. Physical and occupational therapy have been shown to be effective treatments in improving function, however, Karen Kerman, M.D., director of the pediatric rehabilitation center at Hasbro Children's Hospital, wanted to find a way to incorporate physical therapy into the normal activity of children play.

Kerman noted that while there are currently toys that address the cognitive realm, nothing existed to address the unique needs of CP patients more than 800 in Rhode Island and nationally, between 750,000 and one million.

Kerman approached the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and explained her idea to create toys that would allow children with CP to obtain vital therapy in a fun way. Kerman says, "The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust was wonderful, immediately seeing the advantages of such a project, and their support allowed us to go ahead with our idea."

With funding available, she approached her colleague, Joseph (Trey) Crisco, Ph.D., director of the bioengineering lab in the department of orthopedics at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of orthopedics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Crisco was teaching an engineering course that combined industrial science students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and engineering studies students at Brown University. The pair believed this was a perfect forum to bring creative minds together to create some prototypes for new therapeutic toys. Thus, Toys and Technology for Rehabilitation was formed. Kerman says the project "has the power to harness the benefits of play, and may have many implications in the future."

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Contact: Nancy Cawley
ncawley@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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