July 23, 2019
Norah Brennan, M.S. ’15 (Occupational Therapy) and 2017 graduate of the Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, is the creative force behind a camp for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
While working for the Morrison Developmental Center in Scarborough, she realized the benefits of an evidence-based intervention called constraint induced movement therapy.
The therapy engages children in activities that promote movement of their affected extremity for five hours per day, five days a week, for three weeks.
The key to the program’s success is creating fun and engaging activities that are within the capabilities of the children when using only their affected side. This capitalizes on neuroplasticity of the brain to improve function of the limb affected by cerebral palsy.
Brennan conducted a successful pilot of the program with one child last summer, which effectively prepared the camper for the motor skills of kindergarten.
This year, three children will partcipate in the camp experience with theme-based activities.
Those activities include Space Day, a day filled with space-themed activities; Sports Day, which includes use of a punching bag for boxing, and Camp Day, when they pitch tents and make s’mores.