Atlantic Health System’s pediatric rehabilitation and physical therapy program has reopened in a brand-new space at 55 Madison Avenue in Morristown.

Larger than the previous center and filled with state-of-the-art therapy equipment, the open-gym facility is able to treat a wide variety of physical and developmental concerns ranging from smaller injuries like sprained ankles to ongoing mobility therapy for conditions including cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, and muscular dystrophy.

The center has speech and language pathologists onsite to treat children who have difficulty speaking and eating. The specialists emphasize language articulation, oral motor development and feeding and swallowing skills.

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“Atlantic Health System is pleased to be able to offer our community a state-of-the-art rehabilitation space that enables our accomplished multidisciplinary (multi-specialist) team to better customize programs and work together to ensure the mobility and long-term independence for our young patients,” said Walter D. Rosenfeld, MD, Chair of Pediatrics, Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Atlantic Health System.

A trained team of physical and occupational therapists works in tandem with specialists and pediatricians for optimal patient outcomes. Dr. Michelle Sirak, a Goryeb Children’s Hospital pediatric physiatrist focused on physical medicine and rehabilitation, often serves as the team leader, creating individualized treatment plans, including home exercise programs.

Therapists maintain clinical excellence in their fields of study, which includes the achievement of additional certifications and specialty training including SIPT certification (a sensory integration-based certification which helps identify sensory dysfunction and motor planning deficits), PAMS certification (for use of physical modalities including use of neuromuscular-electrical stimulation to improve form and function and participation in activities of daily living), NOMAS (for evaluation and treatment of feeding in pre-term infants), SOS training (assessment and treatment of sensory vs. behavioral feeding issues) and PROMPT training (a tactile, kinesthetic and sensory-based approach to re-organize oral movement patterns).

In addition to its new equipment, the building is home to a number of specialists, which enables patients to schedule physical therapy and see their doctor in one convenient location.

“Being in close physical proximity to other physicians and therapists enables more frequent communication among treatment providers that will ultimately benefit our patients,” said Ellen Dean-Davis, MD, a pediatric orthopedist with Atlantic Medical Group. “For families, the singular location helps reduce the number of times they need to travel to the building because they can schedule their rehabilitation and a physician visit or follow-up on the same day.”

The new center will also offer the Schroth Method for the treatment of scoliosis. The Schroth method is a unique, nonsurgical method involving active therapeutic exercises intended to improve scoliotic posture, halt curve progression, reduce pain and improve quality of life for the patient.  Therapists must be specially trained and pass a certification exam to practice this technique, which generally has a high level of success.

“We know many children struggle with scoliosis, and while surgery may be appropriate for some of them, the Schroth Method is a non-surgical option that may help children avoid surgery,” said Laura Taylor, the physical therapist trained on the method.

The new rehabilitation facility also offers specialized adaptive equipment and a variety of group training sessions, including feeding, handwriting and sensorimotor groups, which may encourage even greater progress.

Other conditions the team treats include: apraxia; autism; behavioral, motor, and sensory feeding difficulties; cerebral palsy, chromosomal abnormalities; delayed motor development, dysphagia and feeding disorders; genetic disorders; hearing impairments; juvenile arthritis; muscular dystrophy; orthopedic diagnoses; prematurity; scoliosis; seizure disorders; speech-language disorders; spina bifida; torticollis; and traumatic injury.

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