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Special Tree Blog


The Big Reveal!

The camera was rolling as our residential staff and clients got a first look at the major renovation and expansion of our Beverly Hills Community Residence on move-in day! The former 4-bedroom ranch now features six private rooms and a completely remodeled interior. Clients were so excited to see all the big changes, especially when each client was shown their new private room! There were also rave reactions to the new open floor plan which combines the beautifully remodeled kitchen, dining area, and living room into a large inviting space for gatherings. A big shout out to our fabulous Facilities Team who worked diligently to get the interior ready for the big reveal which happened in November....

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Team Member Spotlight: Angela Haas, LMSW, Social Worker, Midland Neuro Skills Center

March is Social Worker Appreciation Month and a great time to recognize Special Tree's social workers for all they do to improve the lives and well-being of our clients and their families.  Our Social workers provide a wide range of important supports and services throughout the entire rehabilitation process including case management; individual, family, and group counseling; community support; discharge planning, and more.  We appreciate all their hard work, dedication, compassion, and kindness in helping our clients through recovery.  

Get to know one member of this fabulous team! Angela Haas provides social work services at Special Tree’s Midland Neuro Skills Center. We caught up with Angela to learn more about who she is and the meaning she finds in her work. 

Q: What makes you unique; not just a...

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A Day in the Life of a Special Tree Recreational Therapy Intern

Did you know that Special Tree is a sought-after placement for therapists, nurses, and other disciplines for completing their clinical education rotations? Each year we have students from various colleges and universities shadow our clinicians over days and weeks to learn about neurorehabilitation. As part of Therpeutic Recreation Awareness month, our fabulous TR intern Erik Weston created this Vlog giving us a snapshot of his day

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Visagraph Helps Patients With Vision and Reading Deficits After Brain Injury

Special Tree recently added the Visagraph to it's vision therapy program to better treat reading and comprehension problems that are common after a TBI.   Special Tree OT Patricia Laws explains what a Visagraph is and its impact on patient outcomes.

1.            What is a Visagraph and why is this technology a good addition to our Vision Therapy program?

The Visagraph is an eye-movement recording device that uses infrared sensory goggles that tells us what the patient’s eyes are doing during reading as well as what they’re comprehending so we can more accurately target vision therapy to address deficits.   

2.            What do eye-movements tell you about a person’s reading efficiency?

It tells us if there are underlying visual issues and wh...

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Making "Small Talk" With Mark S. Lee

Recently, Special Tree’s own Kate McClain, Director of Workforce Engagement, and Michelle Kruz, Behavioral Program Technician, were guests on “Small Talk with Mark S. Lee,” which airs on CBS Detroit, AM 1270 at 8:00 am every Sunday morning.   They discussed the different ways that Special Tree helps employees to manage stress and work-life balance through their innovative training program.   

Listen to Kate and Michelle’s interview on the link below.  You’ll hear their conversation with Mark and learn more about the importance of self-care for people who work in healthcare and how Special Tree integrates self-care into their training classes to prevent burnout.

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Clients Celebrate a Successful Season at the Big House

Special Tree’s InPro Enterprises wrapped up another season of running the condiment stations at U of M’s Big House during the 2018 football season.   With support from Special Tree’s job coaches, clients were responsible for filling and cleaning all condiment stations at the 100,000 seat stadium for six home games.

“Our vocational clients received glowing reviews from the health inspectors on the excellent cleanliness of the condiment stations,” said Rene Dell, Associate Director of Vocational Services.   

InPro Enterprises began managing the condiment stations at the Big House in 2016 to help clients gain valuable work experience in the community.  Clients work on developing important job skills for competitive employment like following directions, working under stress, focusing on tasks, and...

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Special Tree Shines at Re:Con 2018

Special Tree was well represented at re:con 2018, the premiere event for vocational professionals in Michigan.   The annual two-day conference in Traverses City features professional workshops, panel discussions, and merchandising opportunities for micro-businesses like InPro Enterprises that employ individuals with disabilities.

Among the workshop presenters was Special Tree’s Rene Dell, Assoc. Director of Vocational Services, whose presentation “Effective Vocational Counseling as a Path to Long Term Vocational Success” attracted a crowd and was well-received.   Rene was joined by Vocational team members Tara Forster, Blair Harrison, Kelly Hott and Heidi Nadobny who attended the conference for professional development as well as inspiration.  “It’s a wonderful conference and we always bring back new ideas for voca...

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Stop the Presses! Special Tree Earns 9th Top Workplace Award from the Freep

Special Tree is honored to be named a Top Workplace once again by the Detroit Free Press!  This 2018 recognition marks our 9th consecutive year to earn the award and we're thrilled to move up our ranking to #11 out of 35 in the large company category.

"We couldn't feel more proud of this award, particularly as the judges were our employees," said Kate McClain, Director of Workforce Engagement.  "They make Special Tree a great place to be every day."

To make the list, our employee's took an independent survey to rate Special Tree's performance on qualities that make a workplace great including direction, execution, career, conditions, leadership, and pay & benefits.  Special Tree's overall employee satisfactio...

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Massage Therapists Now Trained in Lymphatic Drainage Massage

By Melissa Tapp, MT, CBIS

What is Lymphatic Drainage Therapy ?
Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is a gentle manual therapy that addresses the body’s fluids.  When our lymphatic system is working correctly it helps the body to circulate stagnate fluids, filter out toxins and foreign substances, and maintain a healthy immune system. Techniques are used to help fluid recirculate through the natural lymphatic pathways.  When a person exhibits fluid retention or edema, this treatment can be used in an attempt to decrease this swelling.

What training is involved in becoming a Certified Lymphedema Therapist?
Special Tree has massage therapists in Wayne county and Oakland who have completed the Lymphatic Drainage Therapy training, which consisted of four 30-hour classes and a...

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CBIS: Special Tree Team Members Committed to Best Practices

Congratulations to the eight Special Tree team members who recently passed the exam to become Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS).  They join 120 Special Tree team members who have earned the voluntary certification since 2004.  It requires class time, extensive preparation, and passing a national exam administered by the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists (AACBIS).  Initiated by the BIAA the AACBIS program was established in 1996 to improve the quality of care given to individuals with brain injuries through the continuing education of those who work in the field.  Special Tree team members are strongly committed to learning about best practices and to applying this knowledge to client care and rehabilitation.   The CBIS certification is voluntary and is available to all levels of pr...

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