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What is Constraint Induced MovementTherapy?

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) is an innovative, research supported  technique used by CIMT trained Occupational Therapist to promote development of new pathways between the brain and the impaired extremity. Dr. Edward Taub, from University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), developed CIMT, refers to this process as “rewiring” the brain. He says 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.”  

In Constraint Induced Therapy,  the unimpaired hand is not allowed to perform the therapy tasks—it is constrained, either by voluntary non-use or by applying a CIMT approved “mitt ,” which is a large mitten worn for 90% of the waking hours or casting. Wearing the mitt on the unimpaired hand encourages the impaired hand to move, and over time the brain is induced to “rewire” itself.

At A Focused Brain, we combine both Constrained Induced Movement Therapy with Interactive Metronome to achieve optimum results.

Who is a good candidate for CIMT?

Candidates include children, adolescents, or adults who have arm and/or hand impairments due to a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or brain surgery. While treatment is most effective when started about six months after the onset of the impairment, research and experience has shown that useful results can be obtained even 20 years after onset (results vary). The program is intensive and results driven—clients who commit to the program achieve the best results.

What should I expect from my CIMT/IM program?

Our program is a two week program, 5 days a week , 3 hours per day. This program may be modified according to the age of the child. We combine both CIMT with Interactive Metronome for your level of function. You will be filmed with a video camera on the first and last day the program–this records improvement and provides you with visual feedback. Our Occupational Therapist designs a unique program based on your functional ability and establishes goals to work with you to achieve those goals. This includes behavioral techniques known as shaping and task practice, where you repeat timed exercises of increasing complexity and the therapist provides encouragement and feedback to improve each task. Task practice simulates a daily activity or movement–as you improve, the therapist progresses you to performing actual daily activity or movement in your home. Positive reinforcement and one-on-one interaction is a key component in the success of this program.

Each client has a different way of measuring success. With our guidance, you can set realistic goals and work toward them, continuing long after your therapy is completed. Your success will positively affect you and those around you.

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