A community resource for pediatric stroke survivors and their families

Archive for March, 2010

Camp Bennett becomes a reality!

Camp Bennett

A Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Camp

June 14-July 2, 2010

Monday through Friday, 9-3

This camp will run for 3 weeks.
Each day will include a half-day of intensive therapy
combined with a half-day of social development & play (and a whole day of FUN).
We will include 8 participants aged 4-8 with a 1:1 adult to child ratio
to ensure maximum success in each activity.
FEE: $3,000
CAST FEE: $150
Camp Bennett will be held at:
Movement Discoveries
822 Mahler Road
Burlingame, CA
Audrey Vernick, Camp Bennett Program Director, audvern@yahoo.com, 415-377-1132
Mary Ann Hauck, Movement Discoveries, mh@movementdiscoveries.com, 650-652-1700

What is CIMT? (Also called CI Therapy, or CIT)

Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a group of therapies designed to restrain the use of the unaffected upper extremity and encourage the use of the affected upper extremity through practice. Camp Bennett is based on the evidence of research involving CIMT for children with limited motor function of one side of their body due to hemiplegia.   Under the guidance of experienced pediatric occupational and physical therapists, we will “constrain” your child’s unaffected arm using a removable cast or sling while creating an environment for your child to use their affected arm in a variety of fun and therapeutic activities.

CIMT forces the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side. Dr. Edward Taub, a professor of psychology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, developed CI therapy. He says that after a stroke, a survivor tries unsuccessfully to use the affected side. Their initial failure discourages them from using that side. Dr. Taub calls this “learned non-use.”

Children with cerebral palsy may also experience learned nonuse of the affected extremity due to the inefficient movement patterns of the involved upper extremity. Increased central nervous system plasticity present in children could be the basis for rehabilitation.

Recent research studies are showing that children with Cerebral Palsy who participate in constraint induced movement therapy for 3 hours per day for 3 weeks have demonstrated functional improvements in their hemiplegic arm. Results are showing that functional gains can last up to a year and some claim gains to be permanent. The efficacy may depend on the severity of hand impairment and perhaps attention span.  Further studies are being conducted to determine the most effective age to administer it, as well as the most beneficial amount and frequency of treatment.

In addition, evidence suggests that while CI therapy may improve impaired unimanual hand function in some children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (CP), these children have impairments in bimanual coordination beyond their unilateral impairments. In order for the child to have functional independence during activities of daily living, the use of both hands in cooperation is needed. To address this, we will start with 6 hours per day of constraint the first week, then slowly reduce the time of constraint to allow ample time for the child to work on bimanual activities as well.


In light of CIMT research findings, we have developed a program that will provide this level of intensive therapy in a fun, day camp environment. At the camp, practice of specific functional and play activities will be provided that will target increased use of your child’s affected arm. CIMT has also proven to cause improvements in areas other than solely the child’s upper extremity, such as language, or balance & coordination, so you may see results beyond that of the affected arm.

The goals of Camp Bennett are two-fold. The first is improving the child’s motor impairment; specifically, to increase functional use of the hemiplegic upper extremity and to improve bimanual coordination (using BOTH hands together better). The primary focus will be that your child has FUN while participating in this promising new model of delivering therapy services.

The secondary focus will be social/emotional development and identity. We want to provide your child with an opportunity to be with their peers, with other kids who are just like them, and to develop social and communication skills. We will address participation and interaction skills as well as social/emotional, communication, identity, and self-esteem goals.

An initial interview and screening will be conducted to determine appropriateness for the camp. Assessment before and after the camp will be completed to measure changes in functional use of the upper extremity. Individualized goals, specific to each child and family, will be established based on the initial assessment. Therapeutic activities will be designed to match the pace and ability of each camper. The camp will incorporate activities based on these goals that will be challenging but successful, with a constant emphasis on having fun.

This year, we hope to have 8 kids participating, aged 4-8. (We hope to expand the program in future years to include preschool, school age, and teens. If you are interested, please contact us.) The ratio of staff to children will be 1:1. Licensed occupational and physical therapists in addition to OT and PT interns, volunteers, and myself will staff the camp.

Summer camp is a valuable experience for all children who benefit from a positive, structured environment. The objective of this therapeutic camp is to provide fun-filled activities while enhancing each child’s identity as well as their social, communication, fine motor, and gross motor skills.


The children will have 3 hours of intensive therapy in the morning, followed with 3 hours of ‘therapeutic activities.’ The kids will remain in their casts for lunch, and through their afternoon activities. On Wednesday afternoons, the kids will be brought to a pool in San Mateo for Aquatic Therapy.

Camp Bennett will offer direct therapeutic group activities, which may include art and cooking classes, creative movement and yoga, music therapy, bike rides, playground time, soccer, and bilateral activities. Groups offer children an exciting adjunct to individual therapy. Group work helps your child prepare for classroom expectations, enhance communication skills, explore sensory experiences, develop motor skills, promote problem solving, foster social skills and facilitate community involvement.

At Camp Bennett, children will spend 3 weeks learning how to better use their affected arm and integrating that use into everyday bilateral activity.  At the beginning of each day, the children will don a removable cast on their unaffected arm, forcing them to use their affected arm to play games, sing songs, eat, carry toys, wash hands, and more.  By the end of each 6-hour day, the cast is off again and they are using both hands for these activities.

The playful, summer-camp feel keeps the kids engaged for long periods of intense therapy. The camp will have a one-to-one ratio of therapists/volunteers to kids to help ensure they are always successful in their efforts.  There is terrific camaraderie and normalcy, even peer pressure. All the participants wear a cast and struggle to do what typical kids take for granted. At Camp Bennett, the children will work, play and succeed together. They develop a sense of self and a sense of belonging by being surrounded by peers who are just like them.

The program will run 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for three weeks (June 14, July 2, 2010). Parents will drop-off their kids and pick up at the end of the day. We hope to have parent ed sessions/lectures and possibly some parent or family outings throughout the week. On Friday afternoons before pick-up (2-3pm) will be time to review the activities of the week and talk about strategies for your child’s home program.


DEADLINE for 1st deposit (50% of the camp fee, or $1,500) is May 14, 2010 along with a completed financial agreement. Contact Mary Ann Hauck at Movement Discoveries, mh@movementdiscoveries.com, 650-652-1700.


In order to participate, you must contact Audrey Vernick (audvern@yahoo.com, 415-377-1132) for a pre-screening.

Your child must be between the ages of 4-8 years old, be diagnosed with a neuromotor disability that results in hemiplegia, have a controlled seizure disorder (if any), and be medically stable at the time of treatment.

If you are interested in pursuing CIMT please talk to me to see if your child meets the program criteria for participation.

Audrey Vernick, Camp Bennett Program Director, audvern@yahoo.com, 415-377-1132


Movement Discoveries is located in Burlingame, CA, 10 miles south of the city of San Francisco.  The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its micro-climates, and Burlingame is one of the Peninsula cities that enjoys mild year-round weather with abundant sunshine.  The facility is a stone’s throw from the Bay Trail, a scenic trail that will eventually encircle the entire San Francisco Bay.

Movement Discoveries is near lodging facilities, restaurants, and car rental offices, and is 5 minutes away from the San Francisco International Airport.  It has easy freeway access and is minutes to shopping districts and public transportation.  It is a 20-minute ride to downtown San Francisco on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART), 1 mile from Movement Discoveries.  They have secured discounted rates with several lodging facilities for patients and their families, including the Stay Bridge Suites in San Bruno.

The facility has 4000+ sq. ft. of space with a spacious gym, innovative equipment, treatment room, offices, parent lounge and kitchen.  The front entrance is on Mahler Road. There is plenty of street parking, as well as ample parking behind the building where there is a rear entrance to the facility.


At the end of the session, we will provide a complete bill of all services for you to submit to your insurance company. We are doing everything we can to ensure that your cost will be reimbursed in full, but it will depend on the limitations of your insurance.


One of our goals over time will be to fundraise to provide scholarships for families who cannot afford the camp.

If you are interested in pursuing a scholarship for this year, the Avery Fuller Welch Children’s Foundation “provides grants that allow low-income families with children in need of educational, psychological, and/or physical therapy to have access to those professional services. Grants are limited to services provided to residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. All applications are submitted by the service provider and all grants are paid directly to said provider. Applications submitted directly by a child’s parent or caregiver are not accepted.”

Mary Ann Hauck of Movement Discoveries will help you with your application. The applications are being accepted May 1-13, 2010 so you would need to contact Mary Ann before May 1, 2010. Unfortunately, you will not be notified of your grant award until mid-June, so you would have to commit to the camp before knowing if the grant will be available to you. If you still wish to pursue this, check out the link:



Camp Bennett: from Dream to Reality

Hello Fans of Bennett and CIMT!

I have great news to share. The camp I hoped to create this summer is becoming a reality. I have found a therapy center in Burlingame that is willing to host the camp! Here are the (limited) details I have so far:

Camp Bennett

A Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Camp

June 14-July 2, 2010

This camp will run for 3 weeks. Each day will include a half-day of intensive therapy combined with a half-day of social development & play (and a whole day of FUN).

We will include 8 participants aged 4-8 with a 1:1 adult to child ratio to ensure maximum success in each activity.

‘Camp Bennett’ will be held at Movement Discoveries, in Burlingame, CA

Cost: $3,000 (plus the cost of the cast) per participant for the 3 week session.