A community resource for pediatric stroke survivors and their families

CIMT CAMP (Constraint Induced Movement Therapy for kids with Hemiplegia)

Camp Helping Hands


More info about the offerings from Intensive Therapeutics (located in New Jersey):


Summer 2014
Everyday Kids,One Community Intensive Therapeutics, Inc.973-771-1582


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Dear Families and Friends,
Below you will find scheduling information about our 2 upcoming summer programs in July and August 2014:
  • Camp Helping Hands: A program for children with upper extremity hemiparesis.
  • Camp Leaps and Bounds: A program for children with autism spectrum disorder and/or sensory-motor issues.
Spots are filling up fast, so please don’t hesitate to register. Feel free to call us to get more information.
Thank you.
Scott Matthews
Executive Director


Camp Leaps and Bounds
An intensive occupational therapy program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or sensory-motor issues who exhibit limitations in:
  • Play
  • Social Skills
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • School

July 28th to August 22nd, 2014

(weekdays only)

Group 1:

Ages: 2 and 3 year olds

Time: 9 AM to 12 Noon

Cost: $2400


Group 2:

Age Groups: 4 to 6, 7 to 9 and 10 to 13

Time: Half Day/Full Day Options


Half day: $2400

Full day: $4800

Please call to discuss how we can individualize and prorate a camp schedule based on your availability. We can develop a schedule to meet your needs.
Camp Leaps and Boundsis for children with:
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Auditory Processing Delays
  • Perceptual Motor problems
  • Low muscle tone
  • Motor Planning Problems
  • Visual Processing problems
  • Fine motor/gross motor issues
For more information please call:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield
140 Mountain Avenue
Westfield, NJ  07090

About Us

Intensive Therapeutics is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, charitable organization that provides group and individual occupational therapy services to children with special needs.

The organization was established in 2005 to address the needs of families who wanted individualized services by licensed professionals in a non-medical, community-based environment.


Camp Helping Hands

An occupational therapy program providing constraint-induced movement therapy for children with upper extremity hemiplegia.




NEW 2 Summer Sessions!

June 30th to July 25th

(Holiday: July 4th)

Weekdays Only: 9 AM to 3 PM

Fee: $4560.00



July 28th to August 22nd

Weekdays Only: 9 AM to 3 PM

 Fee: $4800.00

Extended Options Available



The cost of the program will be prorated accordingly to accommodate your child’s individualized schedule.



Presbyterian Church in Westfield

140 Mountain Avenue

Westfield, NJ  07090

For more information, please call:


or email:



click here


NEW: CIMT camp at the University of New England Community Therapy Center in Biddeford, Maine. They have 3 sessions and one is next month, April 21 – 25!

Pediatric Constraint Induced Movement Therapy Intensive Camps


• April 21–25, 2014

• July 14–18, 2014

• 2-week Camp for 6–10 year olds: August 11–22, 2014


$2,000 per week

What is Constraint Induced Therapy?

Constraint Induced (CI) Therapy is an intensive individualized program provided by occupational and physical therapists to help children use their arm and hand and learn new patterns of movement. The therapy is effective in improving:

• Quality of movement in the affected hand

• Use of affected arm and hand in activities of daily living (self-care, feeding, dressing)

• Coordination skills

• Fine motor skills

Camps are conducted by trained occupational and physical therapists from the University of New England.

• Theme-based activities

• Snacks

• Time to play with others

• Intensive and fun therapy sessions

• 9 a.m.–3 p.m. programming

• 3–4 p.m. educational and interactive sessions with parents

• Take home incentives

Who is a candidate?

• Children 3–10 years of age

• Children with limited functional use of one hand and arm

• Children with diagnoses that may include Cerebral palsy, stroke, head injury, brachial plexus injury, etc.

• Children who are able to follow directions and maintain attention for at least 15 minutes

How do I get started?

Contact Molly Walrath at mwalrath@une.edu | (207) 283-1954

Community Therapy Center

441 Main Street

Biddeford, Maine 04005

Discuss this with your pediatrician as a prescription is required for the program.


Looking for a summer camp for your special needs child?

Here is a list of some resources and ideas in San Francisco.
Please email me if you have anything to add, comments, etc.
and I will incorporate it onto this list!
has a camps listing for children with Special Needs:
The Parks and Rec inclusion specialist is Vicki Pitner. Summer camp registration opens on March 15. Here is some info on their website:
Online registration is here:
(again, summer camps will open registration in March)


There’s also an annual summer camp fair at the Concourse Exhibition Center, where most camps are represented, as well as the link for www.signupforcamp.com (with a check-box in their sort for Special Needs).


Laurel and Sterne Schools both offer academic summer programs for kids with learning differences.








Bennett sings in a chorus at Community Music Center (CMC) and they are very accommodating. You would need to call them to find out about accessibility and your child’s needs:




Bennett has also done a cooking camp at Y.U.M. Chefs and the teacher is VERY accommodating!



BOK Ranch (therapeutic horseback riding program) is offering summer camp for ALL children!
This is a really exciting new program for us. We have put together the skills of the therapeutic riding team and local riding instructors to create a fun and safe summer camp that is challenging and fast paced enough for typical riders while at the same time being completely adaptable for riders with additional needs.
This equine based camp is truly a one of a kind 100% integrated TRUE social skills camp. Everyone is welcome-ages 6-16.
If you have a child that is a little older or a little younger, feel free to email me directly (tishcallos@yahoo.com) and we can talk about whether or not the camp would be a good match. We hope to accommodate everyone who is interested.
This is the only camp that is being backed and supported by the San Mateo County Horsemen’s Association and each child will get the opportunity to ride at least 2 times everyday. The BOK Ranch is the only PATH Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding Center on the Peninsula, serving 130 riders with special needs each week. Finally, something siblings can do together!
Visit http://www.bokranch.org/ for more information about the camps and to download a flier and the enrollment forms.
Happy Trails,


Dear Colleague,

The International Alliance for Pediatric Strokewww.iapediatricstroke.org (IAPS) is assisting Dr. Jeffrey Max with recruitment for a possible future childhood stroke research study. There has been very little research regarding behavior and emotions for the pediatric stroke population, but there is a need to address these issues which continue to affect not only the child but the entire family unit. Dr. Max currently works at the University of California, San Diego where he is recognized internationally for his research in pediatric traumatic brain injury and also pediatric stroke. The thrust of the research is to identify brain imaging characteristics including microstructural white matter integrity and lesion location as well as psychosocial (e.g., family function, family psychiatric history, child’s pre-injury function) predictors of varied psychiatric disorders that develop after brain injury.

Travel expenses to participate in this study will be covered within North America. However, there are no geographic restrictions to participate. For more information about travel options from other countries, please contact Dr. Max.

If your child is between the ages of 8 – 17 and had a stroke before the age of 14, please review the information below and use the contact information to reach Dr. Max. He will need to ask a few screening questions to determine if your child is eligible to participate.

Childhood Stroke Study at the University of California, San Diego and Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego:  Dr. Jeffrey Max and his colleagues are seeking children ages 8-17 who have had a stroke before the age of 14 to participate in a research study.  The project, “Childhood Stroke: Attention and ADHD,” is designed to provide more information regarding emotions, behavior, and thinking in children and adolescents who have had a stroke.  Participation includes one morning or afternoon for about 3 ½ hours of testing at Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, plus about 1 hour for an MRI appointment at a nearby MRI facility.  There will be no costs for participation, including the MRI.  Monetary compensation will be provided.

For more information or with interests in participating, please contact Dr. Jeffrey E. Max.  Write to: 3020 Children’s Way, San Diego, CA  92123, MC: CHSD 5018.  Telephone: (858) 966-5832 x5743.  E-mail: jmax@ucsd.edu.

One of the benefits of having an organization such as IAPS is to be the liaison between researchers, doctors and families. We are reaching out to all of you as organization leaders to help in recruitment for this cutting edge research. Please disseminate this email to the families in your data base and encourage them to contact Dr. Max. If you have a social media site, we encourage you to post the recruitment information on there as well. We hear from quite a few families asking what they can do to help advocate for these children. This is a chance for families to get involved in an area of research for pediatric stroke that has not been widely explored and help make a difference for the future of these children.

Thank you for your support and assistance!

Warm regards,

The Board of Directors for the International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke:

Mary Kay Ballasiotes

Dr. Steve Ashwal

Dr. Gabrielle deVeber

Nikki Ide

Jessica Spear

Dr. Patrice Lindsay

Francesca Fedeli

Grant Sources for Special Needs Kids:
I make every effort to provide high-quality and helpful grant information, but  cannot be held liable for errors or the quality of the grant sources. Information should be independently verified and confirmed. Please email me if you’d like to add or update any information! Thanks.

Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California is offering a Therapeutic Scholarship.


Avery-Fuller-Welch Children’s Foundation

– The mission of the Avery-Fuller-Welch Children’s Foundation is to provide grant funding for early intervention and professional guidance to children with physical, behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges.


Bright Steps Forward
– Grants for state-of-the-art therapy techniques, along with more traditional physical
therapy methods to achieve rapid strides in physical strength and coordination. www.brightstepsforward.org
Children’s Charity Fund
– Provides services and purchases medical equipement for handicapped and disabled children, provides educational grants to help children further their education.
Disabled Children’s Relief Fund
– Provides assistance to obtain wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, walkers, lifts, hearing aids, eye glasses, medical equipment, physical therapy, and surgery.
Easter Seals
– Provides services to help children and adults with disabilities and/or special needs as well as
support to their families.

First Hand Foundation
– Assists children with clinically relevant, health-related needs and no financial resources to cover these expenses.
Gracie’s Hope
– Funding for therapies such as, but not limited to, PT, OT, Speech, Chelation, and Hyperbaric
Oxygen Therapy. Provides needed equipment and assist families in finding respite care, and other neededservices.
Kya’s Krusade
– Provides financial assistance for adaptive equipment and physical therapy, occupational
therapy and hippotherapy sessions.
Lindsay Foundation
– Assists families with resources necessary to provide medical treatment, therapies and rehabilitative equipment in order to improve the quality of life for their special needs children.
Parker’s Purpose
– Monetary assistance up to $1,000.
United Healthcare Children’s Foundation
– Grants for medical-related services that have the potential to
significantly enhance either the clinical condition or the quality of life of the child and that are not fully covered by the available commercial health benefit plan.
Variety Children’s Charity
– Helps kids gain mobility, confidence, freedom, independence and the chance to join in the life of their community by providing funding for walkers, wheelchairs, specially-designed adaptive
bikes, strollers, prosthetic limbs and other devices to families with the most need.

Support for Families is proud to host a new Peer Group for Kids Aged 8-12 with Cerebral Palsy beginning October 23, 2012 to be held on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30pm. This group will be a place for kids with CP to play, socialize and interact. There will also be a buddy/mentoring component, as we hope to involve older teens and young adults with CP. Kids will participate in activities consisting of games, relaxation exercises, social time, and more. The facilitator of the group is Kris Meadows, a young man with CP who is also a student of Occupational Therapy.


While their children are participating in the Peer Group, parents can attend the Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy Group which will be facilitated by Audrey Vernick, parent of a son with hemiplegic CP and the founder of Camp Bennett.


Please note that parents/guardians must remain onsite while children attend the Peer Group. Childcare is available for siblings, if needed (sign up at least 1 week ahead of time).


For more information or to register for the groups, please contact the Support for Families’ Warmline at 415-920-5040.

Mom Creates Camp for Pediatric Stroke Survivors

By: Louise Rafkin

At only 5 months old, Audrey Vernick’s son Bennett, now 8, began suffering multiple seizures, sometimes more than a hundred a day.

A brain scan diagnosed him as a prenatal stroke survivor, likely having occurred in the second trimester of Vernick’s pregnancy. As early as 6 months, it was clear the left side of his body was weak and that his left arm was partially paralyzed. Vision problems soon surfaced.

Vernick, an author and former photojournalist, approached the challenge of having a special-needs son with a single question forefront in her mind: “How can I make Bennett’s life better?”

That question motivated Vernick, 44, to create a special summer camp for children who have suffered prenatal strokes. It’s a small group of children. According to the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association, prenatal stroke occurs in about 1 in 2,800 infants (in utero or younger than 1 month), and pediatric stroke occurs in 11 in 100,000 children from 1 to 18 years old. Because the numbers are so small, a support network and services can be hard to find. Vernick spent four years researching opportunities for her son before taking steps toward changing the equation.

Most prenatal and pediatric stroke survivors suffer weakness on one side of their body; many have other serious disabilities. When Bennett was 4 and 5, Vernick took him to a New Jersey-based summer camp where the main treatment was constraint-induced movement therapy. The idea is to restrain the child’s “good” arm in a cast, forcing the brain to make better use of the “bad” arm.

With the goals of developing motor skills and core strength, removable casts go on first thing in the morning. Combining orthopedic rehabilitation, social-skills building, physical activities, games, crafts, cooking and swimming keeps the kids moving and engaged through the frustration of being casted.

At the East Coast camp, parents and children arrived from as far away as Toronto and Saudi Arabia. Vernick saw positive changes in Bennett’s abilities, plus had the added joy of seeing him among his peers. But only a few such camps existed, none locally. The closest one at the time was in Seattle, which then was offered only to Washington residents. The distance to the East Coast made attending logistically difficult. It was after the birth of her second son that the resourceful Vernick decided to start a similar camp.

In the sunny dining room of the Eureka Valley home she and Bennett share with her second son, Sammy, 6, and her husband, Russ, a software programmer, Vernick said her decision to create a camp for kids like Bennett helped her avoid feeling “out of control.”

But founding a children’s summer camp, Vernick learned, was anything but a walk in the woods. In fact, it seemed like the opposite sentiment than the one she saw on the smiling young faces typically peering out of camp brochures.

In the months leading up to the 2010 launch of “Camp Bennett,” Vernick faced innumerable legal, logistical and financial problems; staffing quandaries; insurance and safety issues; and the stresses of dealing with parents. She dove into the marathon of organization – months of late nights, exhausting fundraising and countless phone calls. At one point, a licensing issue threatened to nix the whole plan. And while Vernick was juggling details for the second year of camp, Bennett underwent brain surgery. During the hard recovery, there was uncertainty on whether he would be able to attend.

The first year, a fundraising campaign on her personal blog and on Facebook raised more than $5,000, mainly among friends and family for the six campers. With a cost per camper of $3,500, she raised enough for two scholarships.

“I expected little,” said Vernick, who was overwhelmed by the support. After posting a wish list on her blog, a friend arrived with more than $200 worth of snacks, games and art supplies.

Occupational therapist Joanie Hooper came onboard, and volunteers signed on to cover one-on-one shifts with the six participants in the three-week program.

Families from all over California signed up. The first year of camp was held in a rented clinic; last year, with the group rising to nine, California Pacific Medical Center donated space at its stroke rehabilitation clinic. With the cost rising to $4,500 per child, grants and donations fully funded five of the nine campers, and three others were given partial scholarships.

Laurie Strawn, whose daughter Julia, 9, is also a prenatal stroke survivor, was one of Vernick’s early supporters.

“Audrey proved to us that if what you need for your kid doesn’t exist, it’s possible to create it,” she said, noting that the work it took to start Camp Bennett was beyond the scope of most people’s abilities – let alone the parent of two children, one with special needs.

“The best thing was that Julia was among a community of kids challenged in similar ways,” Strawn said. “They supported each other through the therapy with remarkable compassion.”

“As a parent, my job is to give Bennett stepping stones to a healthy life,” Vernick explained.

Vernick is taking a leave from organizing the camp this summer, but Hooper is planning a camp session in late July, possibly at Kidspace in San Francisco.

Despite her much-needed break, Vernick’s thoughts are still on a future for her son and his fellow campers. “I don’t care what the camp is called,” she said. “I just want this therapy available to kids that need it.”

Plus, the campers bonded and established friendships. “Being with the other kids helps them feel OK in the world,” Vernick said. “These kids are just not going to meet anyone at school or in their neighborhood like themselves.”


Name: Audrey Vernick
Age: 44
Residence: San Francisco, Eureka Valley
Making a difference: Launched a therapeutic summer camp for children who suffered childhood strokes
In their own words: You want to do everything for your child whether or not they have special needs. If there is a need, it feels meaningful to know you can make it happen.




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