infant physical therapy

Infant Physical Therapy: What You Need to Know

Infant physical therapy can be one of the best forms of habilitative and rehabilitative treatment for babies who are delayed, disabled or who have suffered a birth injury or genetic condition. For our smallest patients, physical therapy is typically going to focus on helping babies:

  • Learn to balance
  • Gain muscle control
  • Reach or catch up to important developmental milestones

Therapy & Wellness Connection Teams With Augment Therapy

Therapy and Wellness Connection in Brecksville has teamed with Cleveland-based virtual therapy provider, Augment Therapy to provide our patients with high-quality speech, occupational, ABA and physical therapy online.

Families can set up this service through their television. It uses augmented reality programming (think Pokemon GO) to make exercise and engagement fun. The software is equipped with a camera that can capture not only the child’s image but movements too. These games on screen can be used to help children interact with cartoon characters and other features, allowing them to earn badges for reaching certain goals. physical therapy

It’s a prime tool in any circumstance, but especially effective as social distancing guidelines remain in place. With the tools and software provided by Augment Therapy, we’re able to continue teaching social and emotional regulation and participation in one of our many social skills groups.

Augment Therapy was founded and designed three years ago by Chagrin Falls pediatric physical therapist Lindsay Watson and software developer Stephen Blake. As Watson explained to a reporter from FreshWater Cleveland last year, many of her young physical therapy patients with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome were sometimes resistant to repetitive physical therapy exercises.

Inspired by the way Pokemon GO motivated so many kids to become active, she began brainstorming a similar program that could motivate her patients to move, communicate and push themselves to their highest potential.

Supplement to In-Clinic Speech, ABA, Occupational and Physical Therapy

physical therapy
Photo Courtesy of Augment Therapy

Augment Therapy has been valuable  at a time when teletherapy services have become a necessity due to the ongoing pandemic. But long-term, it will be an excellent supplement to our in-clinic and therapy services Therapy and Wellness Connection.

When kids are having fun, they’re motivated to stay the course. Virtual, interactive games can accomplish this. For them, it’s not “doing therapy.” It’s playing a game. Yet it keeps them engaged with the therapist and other children and focused on their goals. Ultimately, allows them to achieve faster results that are more likely to “stick.”

Some of the benefits as outlined by Augment Therapy:

  • Improves adherence. This refers to how closely a child follows the prescribed moves with good frequency and consistency.
  • Use in home and in clinic. It has applications not just for therapists but teachers and parents too.
  • Ease of use. Basically, you just plug in the software and play it. The setup time is minimal.
  • Portable technology. The hardware itself is small, so even if you’re traveling or otherwise not at home, it can still be used.
  • Does not require wearable devices. Lots of our patients have sensory issues, so wearing a technology device isn’t comfortable or practical. The Augment Therapy technology does not require it.
  • Encourages social interaction. It can be played by more than one child at a time, promoting social skills as well as physical movement.
  • Makes therapy and exercising fun! What kid doesn’t love video games? The difference between this and other movement games is that it focuses on engagement as much as movement.

Pilot programs were launched at the Cleveland Clinic and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. The technology also earned a sponsorship from MetroHealth after securing an award at the Medical Capital Innovation Competition.

Anything that can improve accessibility, participation and progress for children with special needs is something we’re eager to utilize, and we’re excited to offer this new service to our patients.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech, occupational, ABA and physical therapy to children in Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Akron and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email

Additional Resources:

Cleveland-based Augment Therapy is making physical therapy fun for kids via augmented reality, Aug. 24, 2019, By Ilona Westfall, FreshWaterCleveland.com

More Blog Entries:

5 Ways Our Akron Physical Therapy Helps Children With Down Syndrome, Sept. 28, 2019, Cleveland Physical Therapy Blog

virtual learning

Virtual Learning, Therapies Continue at Therapy and Wellness Connection

With Ohio schools closed for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Therapy and Wellness Connection has continued to provide therapy and virtual learning to children with special needs and learning disabilities in the Cleveland metro area.

Since schools have shuttered, many of these students have lost access to the critical services and programs offered by school districts and some outside providers. These students receive a combination of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavior therapy and community integration services.

Although we very much look forward (when it’s safe) to resuming the daily, in-person interaction that is so vital to students with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs, we are proud to have quickly on-boarded our teletherapy and virtual learning services as well as online social groups and functional fitness courses.

Akron physical therapy

5 Ways Our Akron Physical Therapy Helps Children With Down Syndrome

Down syndrome, sometimes called Trisomy 21, is one of the most common chromosomal genetic disorders, affecting approximately 1 in every 700 babies born in the U.S. Most experience developmental and physical delays, and often have several physical conditions that require additional treatment.

There are many ways our Akron physical therapy services can help children with Down syndrome, working with them from infancy through adulthood to help them reach their maximum level of functioning and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.

How Does Down Syndrome Impair Physical Function?

Babies born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, altering the typical development of both the brain and body and resulting in varying ranges of both intellectual and physical challenges.

Therapy & Wellness Connection offers Akron physical therapy in your home, school or work environment, working side-by-side with our patients and their families to help sidestep or minimize some of the most common complications of the condition, such as obesity and developmental delay, as well as help improve and maintain cardiovascular fitness, as between 40 and 60 percent of those with Down syndrome suffer some type of congenital heart disease.

One of the defining physical characteristics of Down syndrome is low muscle tone, lower bone density, decreased strength and trouble with posture/balance – all of which can delay motor development (movement). They also frequently have problems with feeding and hand use challenges, and sometimes intense pain from joint problems. Each of these can be addressed and improved with help from our Akron physical therapy services.

How Akron Physical Therapy Can Help Children With Down Syndrome

The good news is that many teens and adults with Down syndrome go on to be active participants in family and community activities, leading lives that are both active and productive.

Our dedicated physical therapists work with individuals, families and other health care providers to reduce the impact of these conditions – in some cases preventing them from developing in the first place. Best results are when a child is receiving adequate medical services and supportive home and educational environments that incorporate physical therapy.

Physical therapists work to help children with this condition improve their muscle strength, coordination, movement, balance and gain their peak level of independence in activities of daily life.

The Top 5 Ways Physical Therapists Treat Children With Down Syndrome:

  • Strength-building. There are a number of exercises we can practice to help you child increase their strength.These can include fun games, adjusted to their abilities as they grow, to help maintain heart health and lower the risk of obesity.
  • Developmental skills. Children with Down syndrome are delayed when mastering motor skills like crawling, standing, walking and safe eating. We can work on this in the clinic, as well as at home and in day care settings, giving parents and caregivers training for how to support these emerging skills in a way that’s safe and efficient.
  • Improvement of balance, coordination and control of posture. This often starts quite early, with exercises like using a ball to help improve the child’s ability to hold their head up or maintain a sitting position. Other things like jumping or throwing a ball can be worked into a fun physical therapy regime.
  • Improving physical fitness. Promotion of healthy living choices can help reduce some of the common complications that stem from cardiovascular problems and obesity.
  • Educating parents and caregivers. Little of what we do will have the maximum impact if we don’t educate parents to carryover these skills and incorporate these exercises in everyday life. It’s a critical part of therapy and the child’s success.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides physical therapy to children with Down syndrome in Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Akron and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email

Additional Resources:

Facts about Down Syndrome, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More Blog Entries:

NEW: Functional Fitness Class by Brecksville Occupational Therapist, July 25, 2019, Akron Physical Therapy Blog