Founded in 1987, the Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) specializes in the application of technology to assist people with disabilities, of all ages, to increase their independence. We offer evaluation, training, custom design and installation for a wide variety of assistive technologies. The Center helps individuals with a range of disorders, including:
|Spinal Cord Injury||Cerebral Palsy|
|Stroke||Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis|
|Muscular Dystrophy||Back & Other Injuries|
|Multiple Sclerosis||Traumatic Brain Injury|
|Developmental Delay||Learning Disabilities|
|Autism/PD||Repetitive Stress Injuries|
During a rehabilitation technology evaluation, CRT Specialists help consumers determine the best assistive technology to meet their needs. Throughout the evaluation, we encourage the full participation of the user, his or her family and other professionals who may be part of the team. This evaluation process begins with a determination of the consumer’s goals, followed by an assessment of the physical and cognitive abilities that are relevant to those goals. We assess other factors, such as the environment in which the equipment will be used and the support and training available for the equipment. A selection of products of potential benefit is then made available for trial. This way, the final choice can be based on experience rather than on sales information and literature alone.
After a complete evaluation, exact product specifications and options are decided. In some cases, a knowledgeable rehabilitation technology supplier or vendor may be present to assist in the final selection of equipment. When all decisions are complete, the CRT Rehabilitation Technologist will submit a report to available funding sources that will detail and justify all equipment recommended. Our staff may also assist in setting up the equipment and training the consumer on how to use it. We may also modify equipment or manufacture custom equipment when needed.
Seating and Wheeled Mobility
Long-term users of wheelchairs find that a variety of factors affect their day-to-day function, such as posture, comfort, and efficient mobility. In recent years a wealth of new cushions, positioning aids, wheelchairs, and control mechanisms have become available which can be mixed and matched to suit individual needs. Careful selection of a wheelchair or scooter can optimize independent mobility. Various types of specially designed cushions can alleviate pressure, help prevent pressure-sore formation, and promote good posture. In our Arnold Goldman Center showroom, we have on-site multiple products for trial from pediatric adaptive strollers, high performance ultra light weight manual wheelchairs to highly complex power wheelchairs. Other positioning devices can improve posture and result in increased health and function. CRT also works with those who have seating needs other than in wheelchairs. This includes office chairs for persons with back-pain or other orthopedic problems, children with disabilities who may need alternate seating while in a school, and a variety of other situations.
In addition, our seating and wheeled mobility staff are very knowledgeable in bath safety equipment, adaptive standers, patient transfer devices, hospital beds and sleep support surfaces for individuals at high risk of skin breakdown.
Augmentative communication refers to a variety of communication approaches that are used to help persons who are unable to communicate their messages through natural modes of communication such as speech, gesture and writing.
For children or adults who are non-speaking or whose speech is severely impaired, augmentative communication devices can help them send their messages through voice or alternative methods. AAC systems include a variety of devices from simple letter boards to sophisticated electronic devices or computers with voice output. These devices can be used to supplement or replace a persons’ spoken language. The augmentative communication specialist can help non-vocal people determine their most effective method of communication. One does not need to be literate to use a communication system. Often language can be represented by symbol codes. We assess language and cognition to choose an appropriate method of language representation for the use of a communication system. Individuals with all types of physical impairments can use communication devices, and determining how a client will operate a device is an important part of the evaluation. We ensure each device is customized for our clients; programming systems and follow-up training are an essential part of this service.
Job, Environmental & Ergonomic Accommodations
A job accommodation is any change to tools, work environment, or the method of work that will accommodate a disability and allow an individual with a disability to successfully complete a job. Job accommodations encompasses a wide variety of job-related adaptations, such as ergonomically designed tools, furniture, or workstations; architectural modifications such as ramps and widened doorways for wheelchair users; tools that are automated or modified to be easier to use; re-arranging work-spaces to make them more functional; instructions and reminders for those with memory difficulties; and inclusion of computer adaptations and environmental controls. If someone is qualified for a job but is unable to use certain tools or perform certain tasks as a result of a disability, an accommodation may remove these barriers to employment. Rehabilitation Technologists at Helen Hayes Hospital can assist to determine appropriate job modifications.
Injuries resulting from acute events or long-term exposure to repetitive motions can ruin people’s health, cause loss of productivity and lead to costly workers’ compensation cases.
Good ergonomics in the workplace can reduce the risk of injury on the job and make people more comfortable and productive. CRT will collaborate with employers to perform on-site ergonomics assessments for an individual experiencing pain or health problems, or evaluate an entire staff concerned with preventing injury. We can work with office settings, computer workstations, and other environments. We take a holistic approach, which may include changes to the tools, methods, or organization of a job.
Electronic Aids to Daily Living (EADL’s)
EADL’s address the needs of people who have impairments that prevent them from operating common devices in their home, work, school, and leisure environments. Our Smart Apartment is a collection of numerous EADL’s in one living space. The EADL’s showcased there enable operation of the bed, fan, thermostat, TV, DVD player, stereo and the toilet. A user can turn lights and appliances on and off, open and close doors, access reading materials, and summon assistance. In the Arnold Goldman Center, there is an array of EADL’s for phone and television control. Systems can range from simple mechanical aids and remote controls to iPads, tablets, smartphones and computers. Through use of environmental controls, accessibility products and home automoation technologies, a person with a disability can maximize his or her independence in daily living.
Computer & Tablet Access
For persons with disabilities, computers and tablets can offer ways to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. They can provide novel ways to work, write, organize, plan, and may also be used for recreational purposes. Access to a computer or tablet can be the key element to help disabled individuals regain functional independence and reconnect with their community. For one person, this may be regaining the ability to send text messages, for another, the ability to work from an adapted home office. Regardless of diagnosis or level of disability, the Rehabilitation Technologists at the Center for Rehabilitation Technology are able to match individuals with technology that can help them meet their specific goals. Access may be through ergonomic solutions to reduce injury related or repetitive strain, or require alternate access through the use of eye or head tracking technology in cases of severe paralysis. With the right adaptations, each individual can get the most out of their electronic aids and increase their quality of life.
Special Apparatus Services: Rehab Engineering, Fabrication & Custom Solutions
With backgrounds in engineering and electronics, our Special Apparatus staff sets the CRT apart from other centers by supporting our staff with many creative solutions to adapt many commercially and non-commercially available equipment to help the patients we service. Creating a mount for a cellular phone on an electronic wheelchair to help with communication, or customizing a stylus pen holder for an individual with poor fine motor control to access a tablet computer, are just samples of what we can accomplish for our patients.
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