Local Health Alert: Occupational Therapy At St. Jude

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Everyday tasks, that many of us take for granted, can become a daily battle for patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Occupational therapists at the medical center work daily with patients to keep them active and accustomed to regular needs, like writing and picking up items.

Jason Champion has been receiving treatment at the hospital for a malignant brain tumor, for nearly a year. It has impacted the 7-year-old's right side, which is also his dominant hand.

"He now is being taught for the first time how to write with his left hand," explains Allison Harris, an occupational therapist for the hospital. 

During Champion's appointments, Harris works with him on games and puzzles that help strengthen his abilities, like using tweezers to help with muscle memory. He also uses workbooks to trace lines and copy sentences, to practice writing. His tumor impacted his right hand and arm strength, but just taking time out for treatment can impact a kid's abilities to do menial tasks.

"A lot of the kids lose their strength or will be weakened just because they're not able to be as active," says Harris. She treats up to a dozen patients a day, many of whom are on active treatment receiving radiation or chemotherapy.

Champion has come a long way in his recovery and therapy. He's slowly learning to write with his left hand and is determined in his pursuit to regain strength, with the help of his very supportive family and doctors.

 

 


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