Physical therapists certified in new therapeutic technique

   Three physical therapists from the J.D. McCarty Center are skilled in a new therapeutic technique that can help children with disabilities achieve developmental milestones.
   Taylor Epling, Megan Mattox and Nicole McCarthy are registered practitioners in Dynamic Movement Intervention, a comprehensive intervention used by physical and occupational therapists to treat children with gross motor impairments. The three are among only a few in the state with the certification.
   The trio have started using the technique with patients at the center and are excited about the improvements they’re seeing. They said the technique helps with early intervention, can be used at home and can help kids achieve foundational milestones.
   “I think we’re going to be changing lives,” McCarthy said. “We’ve already seen such progress.”
   The three were certified in an introductory course in DMI after training last year in New York. The class was led by DMI founders, Jake Kreindler and Jo-Anne Weltman.
   DMI focuses on such aspects as gross motor skills; gradual progression of increasing a challenge to encourage the child to respond with greater independence; alignment and postural control; range of motion; and balance and functional movements, such as improving actions and skills that lead to attaining milestones such as rolling, sitting, standing and walking, according to the DMI website,
   Children who can benefit from this type of therapy technique include those diagnosed with any type of motor delay, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, hypotonia, chromosomal abnormalities/genetic disorders, spinal cord lesions or acquired brain injury, according to the website.
   The goal of DMI is to provoke a specified active motor response from the child in response to defined dynamic exercises prescribed by the therapist. Therapists who incorporate DMI into sessions choose exercises that challenge the child’s neurological system to the highest level of skill, and exercises that develop the core and foundational milestones.
   Exercises involve movement against gravity, progressively more challenging support, provocation of desired movements and postural and strength challenges. Exercises are conducted on a tabletop or the floor, based on the child’s abilities. DMI therapy also works well in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques and therapy equipment.
   McCarthy said DMI differs from traditional therapy in its focus on active responses from patients – meaning the patients exert the physical effort to work on movement or an exercise.
   “DMI works to improve automatic postural responses by focusing on an active response from the patient based on a specific exercise. Not all traditional therapy focuses on the active response,” McCarthy said. “This active response allows for new pathways to form in the brain and lead to motor development. DMI heavily incorporates the vestibular and proprioceptive systems into each exercise, which is not always a focus of traditional therapy.”
   McCarthy, Epling and Mattox said they are impressed with the progress they’ve seen in patients using the DMI therapy.
   For example, Epling said she has a patient with spina bifida who was showing minimal motor functions. She hadn’t been rolling but, through use of the DMI techniques, is now “rolling all over the place” and moving from lying down to sitting up.
   Epling said the technique also is helping to give parents increased optimism about skills their children can learn.
   “It gives parents hope and shows the kids they can do it,” Epling said.
Mattox adds that families also can incorporate the technique outside of a center therapy session.
   “It’s so applicable to their everyday life routine,” she said.
   The three said they are excited about the therapy and the opportunity to modernize physical therapy techniques and offer new methods to help patients progress.
   “We’re always wanting to better ourselves to better serve our patients,” Epling said.
   Families who are interested in DMI and other physical therapy services at the center can call 405-307-2855 for more information. Openings are available for outpatient physical therapy services.

Physical therapists receive certificates
Sharla Bardin