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Southern Therapy's S.T.A.R. Kids Focuses on Keeping Kids Healthy

Southern Therapy Services, Inc. pediatric division S.T.A.R. Kids (Southern Therapy Advanced Rehabilitation for Kids) is nestled in the Carrollton outpatient facility on South Park Street in Carrollton.

The old saying "as the twig bends, so bends the tree" is never so true as in pediatric rehabilitation.

Ella Johnson's head was becoming misshapen from her tendency to sleep with her head turned only to the left. This meant the left side of her skull was flattening and her facial features were being affected. Ella's parents tried flipping her around in her crib so she slept with her head at a different end each night, but she still kept her head turned to the left.

Ella's pediatrician first noticed the problem at her 3-month checkup. When he told her mother that her daughter had torticollis, the term was unfamiliar to her. Simply put, torticollis means twisted neck, according to the National Infant Torticollis Association (NITA). There are about 80 different causes of torticollis, but the most common in infants is congenital muscular torticollis.

Treating Torticollis:

Treatment consists of physical therapy and an at-home therapy program with the family doing stretches on the infant several times a day. Some are to stretch out the injured muscle, and some are to strengthen the opposite muscle. Therapy can last anywhere from three months to several years depending on the severity of the tilt and the age at which the infant started therapy.

With this condition, early diagnosis and early treatments have a huge impact on how long the treatment will be. Generally if an infant has stopped making progress with therapy and has been in therapy over a year, a decision to surgically lengthen the muscle may be needed. [However,] surgery should never be considered as long as the infant is making progress.

Treatment does require an adjustment on the baby's part. When a baby is born, they are used to the tilting. It feels natural to them. It's all they know. So when you begin doing the stretching, infants may cry or become upset. However, it is not painful to do them; they just aren't used to it and it takes them out of a comfort zone.

Southern Therapy's Pediatric Program:

The pediatric department at Southern Therapy treats a wide variety of patients. Children with developmental delays or congenital and non congenital conditions such as: cerebral palsy, down syndrome, spina bifida, and torticollis are a few of the patients that benefit from pediatric rehabilitation. All the same, children who are measured as 'normal' also benefit from the therapy as it directs the improvement of their total and refined motor skills, balance and coordination, strength and endurance as well as cognitive and sensory development.

The initial experiences children have related to their disability carves the future for adjustment to their development of self-esteem, relationship potential and future vocational choices. Children look to grown ups to help them figure out what's going on in the present and what might happen in the future.

"It is very comforting to know that I in some way can make a child's day brighter and feel more successful with whatever they set out to accomplish. That may be something as simple as tossing a ball into the air or even completing a hand written essay in their best penmanship. These are the kinds of things children can take pride in and that help to shape their futures as they grow to be successful adults," says Stacy Brown, Occupational Therapist Assistant at Southern Therapy.

"Sometimes progress can take longer to see when working with children but it's the small steps that really count and knowing that you have helped give hope, joy, and pride to these small but strong individuals," explains Tina Pratt, Occupational Therapist in Southern Therapy's pediatric department.

In addition to pediatric rehabilitation, Southern Therapy also offers: Orthopedic Rehabilitation, Certified Hand Therapy, Spine Therapy, Sports Medicine, Wellness and Fitness, Neurological Rehabilitation, Aquatic Physical Therapy, Oncology Rehabilitation, and many other specialty services. Southern Therapy also has outpatient therapy clinics in Bremen and Villa Rica. For more information visit our website at www.southerntherapyservices.com.