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Special Tree Team Member Wins National Award for Injury Prevention Education

Around Special Tree, Todd Hammons is known as a strong advocate for persons with spinal cord injury (second from right in photo).  As Special Tree's Accessibility Advisor, he orchestrates our annual Mobility Expo as well as a monthly Spinal Cord Injury support group.  Not only is he passionate about showing people what they CAN do after spinal cord injury, he's also dedicated to preventing serious injury in the first place, especially among teens.

Todd was recently honored with a national award for his work with Think First, an injury prevention program for K-12 which strives to prevent brain and spinal cord injuries through education.  For the past two decades, Todd has been a “Voice for Injury Prevention” (VIP) for Think First, sharing his own experience with spinal cord injury with thousands of local students to...

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What do SLPs do?

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and the perfect time to learn more about what Speech Language Pathologists do at Special Tree.  Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) have a long job title, but they need all those words to reflect the many aspects of their job.  Speech is our ability to make sounds so others hear and understand us.  Language is much broader and involves a system of communication – the underlying rules (sounds, words, grammar) we all use to communicate.  SLPs diagnose and treat communication disorders that interfere with BOTH speech and language.   At Special Tree, SLPs treat clients with communication disorders following brain injuries and other neurological impairments whose injuries have affected skills such as eating, swallowing, verbal and non-verbal communication, memory, sequencing, problem-solv...

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Positive Coping Skills



In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s a list of positive coping skills from Special Tree Neuropsychology team that may help when you're experiencing strong emotions such as anger, anxiety, or depression. The purpose of these activities is to help you learn to be more resilient and stress tolerant. These activities are not likely to create more stress or problems so give them a try!  Learn more about Special Tree's Neuropsychology services here.


  1. Write, draw, paint, photography
  2. Play an instrument, sing, dance, act
  3. Take a shower or a bath
  4. Garden
  5. ...
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Special Tree Wins Healthcare Achievement Award

Special Tree is the recipient of the 2016 Intalere Healthcare Achievement Award which recognizes healthcare providers for their efforts to enhance quality and operations, improve patient satisfaction, and increase community awareness and education.  According to Animesh Anand, Chief Administratife Officer, Special Tree won in the financial and operational improvements category.  “By making adjustments to our supplier/distributor/vendor relationships, we were able to reduce costs and maintain Special Tree’s high quality patient care.”  


Mobile Apps for Brain Injury Recovery

Smartphones and tablets are everywhere these days, including at Special Tree, where they've become powerful therapy tools to help people with brain injury.  Special Tree Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, and Physical Therapists all utilize a long list of mobile apps to help improve outcomes for clients throughout the entire rehabiliation process.

In honor of Occupational Therapy Month, we're spotlighting the apps that Special Tree OTs use most often to help improve everyday living skills.  Thanks to Special Tree OT Amanda Katt Phillips for compiling the list

Week Cal $1.99 (iOS only)

The most beneficial feature of this app is the ability to color code events.  Since people with TBI brains work differently, having a color coded visual cues can increase attention and memory.  Templates for rec...

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Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month

April is Occupational Therapy Month and at Special Tree we’re celebrating the many ways our Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) help our clients to become as independent as possible in their daily life.

Occupational therapy is an integral part of the rehabilitation process because it focuses on the activities and tasks we do on a daily basis for our self-care, work, and leisure.  Special Tree's OTs and COTAs provide the therapeutic interventions to help our clients perform these daily activities in a more functional, successful, and independent way.   The OT team is involved in every phase of recovery from helping clients and/or their caregivers learn basic tasks like dressing, bathing, and eating, all the way through returning to work, home management, and driving.   In additio...

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Introducing Synchrony: Break Through Technology for Speech and Swallowing


After a brain injury, a person may have to learn to do many things all over again, including eating, drinking, and talking. At Special Tree we’re excited to announce our use of a revolutionary new device called Synchrony, which helps with speech and swallowing.Guided by Special Tree's experienced Speech Language Pathologists specially trained to use Synchrony, the device uses evidence-based protocols, a revolutionary new sEMG Biofeedback system, and ACP’s proven “PENS” e-stim technology to help clients with dysphagia. Common after brain injury, dysphagia is difficulty or discomfort when swalling; when it takes a person more time or effort to move food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Swallowing is critical to ea...

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March is National Nutrition Month

by Brahmlin Sethi, RD, CBIS, Special Tree Rehabilitation System

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Savor the flavor of eating right.”  Consequently, loss of smell is a common symptom after traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as taste. These two factors make a huge impact on what we eat and how we want our foods flavored.

Therefore many TBI clients want salty and spicy items. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines of Advisory Committee (DGAC) states that the average American should not get more than 2300 mg of salt a day. This can be difficult for most individuals since salt is hidden in many sweets, processed foods, and recipes. Ways we can try to reduce salts is by naturally increasing flavors with spic...

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ReWalk Opens Whole New World of Mobility for Client

Justin had been in a wheelchair almost five years from a spinal cord injury he sustained in a car accident when he came across an article that would change his life.  The article was about the ReWalk Exoskeleton, a robotic suit with motorized legs that’s helping people who are paralyzed to stand up-right and walk again.   Justin, the father of two young sons, never lost hope that he would walk again, but the discovery of the ReWalk turned hope into a fiery determination to get back on his feet.

Justin’s quest to get a ReWalk would bring him and his mother, Shelly, to Special Tree Rehabilitation System, one of only three rehabilitation providers in Michigan certified for ReWalk training.  Special Tree’s Physical Therapis...

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Healthy Bites from Special Tree's Registered Dietitian

by Brahmlin Sethi, RD, CBIS, Special Tree Rehabilitation System

Since 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act stated that every 5 years Dietary Guidelines for general public would be required to be published jointly by U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA). The guidelines focused on encouraging healthy eating patterns, on healthy eating habits over time, a variety of nutrient dense foods in moderation, limiting salt, sugar, and saturated fat calories, and low calorie beverages, and working in community to support healthy eating habits for all.

The top 8 takeaways from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC)

Same ol’ story – Intake of fruits and vegetables remains low wh...

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