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VR virtual reality therapy

How Virtual Reality is Helping Special Tree Treat TBI

Virtual Reality isn’t just for gamers. For therapists like Courtney Fankhauser, Certified Recreational Specialist at Special Tree, it’s a fantastic tool to motivate patients recovering from traumatic brain injury.

“We appreciate the immersive experience VR offers patients,” shares Fankhauser, “And that it allows us to follow their progress.”

In virtual reality, or “VR”, patients interact with 3-D, computer-generated environments to experience activities like baseball, travel, mountain climbing and more. Therapists are able to watch what patients are doing in real time via monitor, then store data from their sessions to track trends over time.

At Special Tree, virtual reality has provided a powerful method to engage patients in the rehabilitation process.

“One of our patients, Josh, uses vir...

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health information HIP

Get to Know the HIP Team at Special Tree!

Happy Health Information Professionals Week to our fabulous Medical Records team!  This hardworking team manages ALL the health information and Electronic Health Records at Special Tree -- making sure we have the right info where and when its needed while ensuring its accuracy, accessibility, and security.  Thanks to Judy Freels, Chantelle Miller, and Jennifer Graves for the important work they do to make sure our clients receive Fabulous Everyday Care Every Day! 

We asked Judy Freels, Health Information Coordinator for 17 years, a few questions to help us better understand her team's critical role at Special Tree.

Who is on the team and what are their roles at Special Tree?

Judy:  I process all the requests for medical records from attorneys, other health facilities,...

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Adaptive Basketball Event a Slam Dunk!

On Friday March 8th, Special Tree Day Treatment Services (DTS) clients and staff teamed up with Fusion Medical for another great therapeutic basketball event. This is the 4th time Special Tree and Fusion Medical have paired up to conduct an adaptive basketball clinic for clients. Fusion Medical hosted the workshop at Romulus Athletic Club, where clients were able to shoot some hoops and test out specialized basketball wheelchairs that allowed them to step their game up!

Following the clinic, clients picked sides and cheered on the Wayne “Warriors” and Troy “Titans” as the staff went head to head in a competitive basketball game. The Troy Titans took the winning title with a final score of 32 to 17. This annual event is highly anticipated, with such a fun atmosphere and a little cross county rivalry. Many thanks to...

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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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aquatic therepy pool rehab

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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