Computer Assisted Therapy (CAT)
Robotics & Functional Electrical Simulation (FES)
Community Reintegration
Patient Education Classes: Independent Living

Computer Assisted Therapy (CAT)

University of Michigan Hospital has a reputation for integrating cutting edge technology into everyday clinical practice. Nowadays, nearly all of our patients have a computer in their home. Whether used to trade stocks, communicate with a friend in Paris, or play solitaire, computers have become an integral part of our patients everyday lives.

The computer-based therapy lab that we offer is much more than a few computers that can be used to surf the web.

Computers offer a wide variety of activities that can:

  • enhance and improve strength
  • increase coordination
  • improve cognition
  • improve visual skills

Special adaptive equipment and software offers endless options that our therapists can utilize to optimize treatment goals and outcomes. Matching a client's interests and abilities with a virtual task helps the client find increased meaning and purpose to the activity. It establishes an intrinsic motivation to participate and facilitates the client's experience of flow. Even those who have never used a computer can benefit from the activities that we will offer in a computer-based therapy lab.

Robotics & Functional Electrical Simulation (FES)

Functional Electrical Stimulation is a rehabilitation technique where electrical current is applied to an individual with a disability to enhance that person's ability to function and live independently.

FES is used to stimulate peripheral nerves, the "lower motor neurons" that connect the spinal cord to your muscles.

Stimulating these nerves evokes patterned movement of the legs or the arms. This is how FES enables your muscles to perform work even though you may have has lost all or some voluntary control of the muscles.

With our systems, you also have the ability to stimulate your "core muscles" during your therapy sessions. These muscles are the erector spinae muscles in your back and your abdominal muscles. These muscles are important for many activities including posture, transferring, reaching, balance and even coughing.

Community Reintegration

Goals for Community Reintegration:

  1. Building access
  2. Restroom Access
  3. Bowel and bladder management in a public setting
  4. Vehicle transfers
  5. Ambulation and wheelchair propulsion
  6. Money management
  7. Awareness of safety concerns while in the community
  8. Self feeding
  9. Ordering
  10. Making needs known
  11. Transition to home life
  12. Implementation of compensatory strategies to overcome obstacles/barriers

Patient Education Classes: Independent Living

This session is an open forum for participants to introduce themselves including the peers and specialists from the Center for Independent Living. The IL topics are outlined. 

Defining SCI with anatomical skeleton present to allow visual understanding of injury levels, function of spinal cord, and ASIA definitions.

Wellness 1: Skin/Nutrition
Increasing knowledge regarding skin care, prevention of pressure ulcers and proper nutrition and hydration 

Wellness 2  - Complications related to SCI
Increasing knowledge regarding autonomic dysreflexia, body temperature regulation after SCI, hetertrophic ossification, and DVTs.
Wellness 3: Bladder 
Increasing knowledge regarding neurogenic bladder, bladder management for home and community including cleaning and caring for equipment, symptoms and treatment of urinary tract infections.

Wellness 4: Bowel 
Providing education regarding neurogenic bowel, and bowel management for home and community including medications, diet and complications.   

Personal Assistant Management
Assessing personal needs for living situations; interacting and communicating personal needs to employee; writing personal assistants job descriptions

Various recreational options including wheelchair sports association/resources and travel.

General home accessibility; becoming familiar with accessible housing and rental terminology, home improvement subsidy programs. 

Discussing Air Carrier Act, planning for traveling with a disability including airplane needs, bladder management, vehicle  rental, hotels, and equipment. Short discussion of train travel. 

Sexuality 1 
Anatomy and physiology of sexual function, relating to injured males and females, various options for fertility, erectile  dysfunction, safe sex considerations and other specific physical concerns.   

Sexuality 2 
Adjustment issues, learning about options for developing/maintaining relationships, intimacy, and effective  communication. Opportunity to view half or all of Sexuality Reborn video with discussion following. 

Communication styles including assertive, aggressive and passive behaviors are discussed; increasing skills in expressing  feelings and thoughts and advocating for one's own needs and interests. 

Adjustment to Disability 
These sessions are an open forum for the participant to express adjustment to disability concerns; Viewing the  educational video Murderball. 

General Support/ Interaction 
These sessions are led by Social Work in an open forum for participants to discuss solutions for community obstacles. 

Research and Current Updates in SCI 
Physician led education and discussion regarding current research and clinical trials. 

Rights and Benefits
Advocacy, specific rights and benefits for persons with disability and developing skills to apply those rights in the pursuit of benefits, ADA