Therapy Achievements is dedicated to helping people with physical, cognitive and visual limits re-gain function and reach their potential. By providing out-patient physical, occupational and speech therapy services, we help people maximize their independence and reach their potential. Our multi-disciplinary team approach to rehabilitation enables us to tailor your plan of care to your specific and unique needs.
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Maryann is the proud new owner of “Lilies”, a floral painting by Cynthia Parson’s. Maryann attends therapy for treatment of lymphedema at Therapy Achievements where some of Cynthia’s work is displayed. “I’ve been admiring that painting for quite a while and really enjoyed looking at Cynthia’s work during my therapy sessions. I finally decided I wanted it and now it’s mine!”
Cynthia has a number of other florals, still lifes and pet portraits on display at Therapy Achievements. Stop by and take a look. You might be the next proud owner of a Cynthia Parson’s painting!
Check out this new brace for walking with foot drop! People with foot drop can’t lift the front part of their foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that pick up the toes. Lots of people have foot drop and it can happen when foot muscles become weak after stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy or other injuries. Foot drop can happen to one foot or both feet at the same time and can happen to people at any age.
Walking with foot drop is difficult because when the toes don’t lift, they tend to drag along the ground. This can result in tripping or falling. To avoid dragging the toes, people with foot drop may lift their knee higher than normal or may may swing their leg in a wide arc. Or, they may wear a brace to hold the foot in place. Some people don’t like walking with braces because they can be awkward and uncomfortable.
To help people with foot drop, the Saebo company has come out with a new product to make walking with foot drop easier. The SaeboStep consists of a lightweight, uniquely designed foot drop brace that provides convenience and comfort while offering optimum foot clearance and support during walking.
Want to try it out? Our physical therapists have extensive experience in helping people with foot drop. They can help you find the right brace to walk more efficiently with less pain. Give us a call today at 256-509-4398!
Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis:
Amanda Adcock presented “One Treatment Option for Multiple Sclerosis” at the Huntsville Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Group Meeting on 1-17-17. Here are highlights from her presentation:
Multiple Sclerosis is an Autoimmune Disease:
- Multiple Sclerosis occurs when your immune cells attack healthy parts of your central nervous system
- B & T immune cells are thought to
- Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be triggered by a genetic predisposition AND environmental exposure
- 50 different genes are associated with Multiple Sclerosis
If You Have MS, Be your own advocate
- Is your current treatment for multiple sclerosis working?
- Partner with your healthcare provider
- Use diagnostic tests to judge your disease activity
- Evaluate your personal preferences and goals for treatment
- Does the schedule and delivery method of your treatment work with your lifestyle?
- Is used to treat adults with relapsing MS
- Is for people who have tried two or more MS medications and have not achieved desired results
- Is thought to recognize and remove certain B & T immune cells thought to cause MS.
- Is given in 5 consecutive days in an IV infusion. The IV infusion takes about 7 hours.
- Your body slowly begins to replace the cells that were removed with new cells.
- You will have a monthly blood draw to monitor your B & T immune cell levels.
- 12 months after your first treatment, a second dose of IV infusion is given in 3 consecutive days.
- Most people will not need to take any further treatments. Some people will need to take a third dose.
- In a 2 year trial, people taking Lemtrada had 49% fewer relapse than people taking Rebif
- People taking Lemtrada had 42% less disability progression as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale
The New Year is a time of reflection. Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. Will a New Year bring a New You? See if your New Year’s resolutions make the top 5 list:
Lose Weight and Get Fit
Weight loss and getting fit are the most popular resolutions. Healthy weight and regular exercise are associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. To increase your successfulness, set reasonable goals and partner with someone who can help keep you accountable.
Whether it’s your home, office or closet, being organized helps decrease stress and increase your effectiveness. Look for a local professional organizer on www.findmyorganizer.com to help you get the job done or Google “de-clutter” for hundreds of tips on how to tackle disorder.
Spend Less, Save More
Work, money and the economy are the biggest cause of Americans’ stress, according to research recently released by the American Psychological Association (APA). Certified financial planners (CFP) can help you get a handle on your finances. Find one on www.fpanet.org.
Learn Something Exciting
Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. Life-long learning classes are available at UAH (www.osher.uah.edu), and ASU (www.athens.edu/CLL).
To better yourself the most, help others. Donate your time, blood, money or items that you no longer use to make a difference for someone in need.
Don’t think you can get fit, get organized, learn something exciting or help others because of injury or illness? Therapy Achievements can help you re-gain movement, balance, and thinking skills disrupted by brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or other disorders. We offer physical, occupational and speech therapy to help you identify goals, develop a plan to achieve them and help you to reach your potential. Let us help you welcome in a New Year with a New You!
Balance & Fall Prevention: Strategies for Intervention
Balance & fall prevention are a matter of urgent concern to many older adults and their caretakers. According to a 2008 report by the Center for Disease Control:
- One third of those over the age of 65 have a fall every year
- One out of 10 falls results in a serious or even fatal injury.
- Falls are a major cause of death in people over the age of 65.
Because a fall can have devastating and even fatal consequences, fall prevention is of utmost importance. The good news is there are easy and simple steps you can take to prevent falls.
Balance & Fall Prevention: Balance
Balance is a key component to fall prevention. Good balance is made up of:
- Correct sensory information from your eyes (visual system), muscles, tendons, and joints (sensory motor input), and the balance organs in the inner ear (vestibular system).
- The brain stem making sense of all this sensory information in combination with other parts of the brain.
- Movement of your eyes to keep objects in your vision stable and keep your balance (motor output).
As we age, postural sway tends to increase and balance control tends to decrease. Factors that contribute to this change include changes in:
- Physiological and psychological function
- Development of diseases
- Use of drugs that affect the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive function
As a result, if some people slip, trip, or loose their balance it is less likely they will be able to recover equilibrium in time to prevent a fall.
Balance & Fall Prevention: Who Falls?
Frail older adults were matched for age, number of health problems and medications use. Those who fell compared to those who did not had:
- Higher levels of nutritional risk
- Poorer leg strength and balance
- Poorer psychological well-being
- Female gender
- Disability of lower extremities
- Hearing impairment
Sensory impairments are a substantial problem for older Americans: One out of six has impaired vision; one out of four has impaired hearing; one out of four has loss of feeling in the feet; and three out of four have abnormal postural balance testing. Not only are sensory impairments a problem, but they increase with age: Vision and hearing impairments each double, and loss of feeling in the feet increases by 40% in persons aged 80 years and over compared with persons aged 70-79 years.
Balance & Fall Prevention: The Visual System
Visual Acuity is the clarity or sharpness of vision. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and cataract surgery dramatically decreases the number of falls due to poor vision. Patients had a 78% decrease in the risk of falls the year after cataract surgery on one eye. But . . . the number of falls that required hospitalization doubled between first and second eye cataract surgeries. This emphasizes the need for timely provision of second eye surgery and appropriate refractive lenses management between surgeries. Poor visual acuity not only increases risk of fall but can result in dizziness. The percentage of patients who reported dizziness dropped from 52 percent to 38 percent six months after cataract surgery. But . . . the percentage of patients who reported falling after surgery dropped only slightly, from 23 percent to 20 percent. Researchers found a significant link between post-operative falls and the patient being switched to multi-focal lenses. “Unrelated to their cataract surgery status, people who wear multi-focal lenses have been shown to have increased fall rates,” says Dr. Lewerenz from the Lewerenz Medical Center.
Bifocal/multifocal glasses distort depth perception while walking or climbing stairs. This is because the glasses are usually designed to be used looking down while reading. When the eyes are focused downward while walking looking through these same lenses, depth perception becomes greatly distorted. Other conditions that affect depth perception include Anisometropia – eyes with differing refractive errors, a cataract in only one eye, macular degeneration or gluacoma when one eye is frequently affected more than the other.
When contrast sensitivity is impaired, there is a limited ability to see well in low lighting or situations where there is little difference in colors and textures. Poor contrast sensitivity also can increase your risk of a fall if you fail to see that you need to step down from a curb onto similarly colored pavement. Low contrast sensitivity can occur with eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.
Balance & Fall Prevention: The Sensory-Motor System
Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, is one of the most important risk factors. People with weak muscles are more likely to fall than are those who maintain their muscle strength, as well as their flexibility and endurance. Conditions that contribute to muscle weakness include:
Infection: Pneumonia, UTIs, Meningitis
Nutrition & GI Dysfunction: Vitamin D Deficiency, Dehydration, Malnutrition, Ulcers, Bowel obstruction
Organ Dysfunction: Thyroid: Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism; Heart: Cardiac insufficiency, arrhythmia; Liver: Hepatitis, Cirrhosis; Kidneys: Renal insufficiency
If weakness is due to a medical condition, you may need help from physical therapy to develop an individualized treatment program to help you re-gain the strength you need to reduce your risk of falls.
San Diego State University’s Daniel Goble, professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, studies “proprioception” — the ability to know where we are in space. And, as we age, proprioception decreases. “Imagine you are sitting down and you have your feet under a desk,” Goble explained. “Even without seeing your feet, you know where they are approximately and what direction they are pointing — that’s proprioception,” Goble said. “When proprioception begins to fail, we can’t sense those things and as a result we may misjudge or misstep. In the elderly, that misjudgment could result in a dangerous fall.” Regular physical activity seems to be a beneficial strategy to preserve proprioception and prevent falls among older subjects. Some studies have demonstrated that the regular physical activity can attenuate age-related decline in proprioception.
Balance & Fall Prevention: The Vestibular System
The Purpose of the vestibular system is to determine head and body orientation in comparison to gravity. It is comprised of:
- 3 semicircular canals
- 5 sensory organs
- Hair cells
Function: The semicircular canals contain fluid that moves in the opposite direction of the head movement. The fluid deflects hair cells that line the semicircular canals and fire the 8thcranial nerve (vestibular nerve). When the vestibular system is not working correctly, symptoms
- Vertigo, Nausea
- Visual Changes
- Decreased concentration/memory
- Muscle fatigue/aches
Putting It All Together- The Brain Stem
Information from your vision, muscles, tendons, joints, and balance organs in your inner ear are all sent to the brain stem. The brain stem also gets information from other parts of the brain called the cerebellum and cerebral cortex, mostly about previous experiences that have affected your sense of balance. Your brain can control balance by using the information that is most important for a particular situation. For example, in the dark, when the information from your eyes is reduced or might not be accurate, your brain will use more information from your legs and your inner ear. If you are walking on a sandy beach during the day, the information coming from your legs and feet will be less reliable and your brain will use information from your visual and vestibular systems more. Once your brain stem sorts out all of this information, it sends messages to the eyes and other parts of your body to move in a way that will help you keep your balance and have clear vision while you are moving.
Balance & Fall Prevention Strategies
Fall prevention occurs in two primary ways:
- Treating physiological and psychological factors & eliminating offending drugs which contribute to balance impairment.
- Modifying the living environment.
Physical therapy can be a critical component to balance & fall prevention. A physical therapist can help to determine:
- Which systems are working correctly and which are not
- If information from these systems are being “put together” or “integrated” correctly.
- How to improve these systems to keep your balance
- Which exercises you can do to improve how your body uses all these systems together.
Up to 85% of falls occur in the home and simple home modifications can go a long way in fall prevention. Most falls occur in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and stairs. Risk factors include: low bed heights, poorly equipped chairs and toilets, low-lying objects or floor coverings, poorly visualized door thresholds, slippery (highly polished) floor surfaces or wet floor surfaces, unsecured rugs, and poorly lit walkways and stairs.
To be effective, environment modification must accommodate balance problems and be aesthetically pleasing. By watching a person maneuver about his or her living environment, a therapist can determine which areas increase risk. The therapist will observe the client:
- Walking over all the different ground surfaces in the environment.
- Transferring from beds, chairs, toilet, in and out of the bathtub or shower, in and out of the car.
- Reaching up and bending down to retrieve objects from low and high surfaces
- Navigating stairs.
Other factors to be evaluated include:
Footwear that provides stability and a non-skid surface is important for good balance. Range of motion and/or strength limits often cause difficulty bending down to apply footwear. Because of this, people often wear loose fitting slippers. Elastic shoe laces, long-handled shoehorns, reachers, shoes with Velcro fasteners, or orthopedic shoes may be necessary to decrease the risk of falls.
Thick carpets should be replaced with ones made of uncut low pile. Patterned carpets should be avoided. Area rugs should have nonskid backings. Throw rugs should be removed.
Getting up at night in a darkened bedroom reduces the visual function component of the balance system. Night lights, leaving a bathroom light on, and using light switch plates that contrast the color of the wall and can be illuminated assist with night visibility. Persons with cataracts experience difficulty with glare, are sensitive to bright lights, and may suffer further visual impairment if lighting is too bright. Light sources should be positioned to eliminate glare and shadows.
Good lighting is essential in stairways. Patterned carpets or floor coverings disguise step edges and must be removed. Step edges can be enhanced by painting or taping the edges in a contrasting color. Handrail should extend at least 12 inches beyond the end of the stairway and should be a contrasting color to the wall.
Walkers typically don’t fit in bathrooms because of space limitations and balance is assisted by clutching doorknobs, bare walls, sinks and towel bars.
These structures are either not stable or not designed to support the weight of someone. Grab bars provide stability and are designed to support a person’s body weight if installed properly. Toilet grab bars that attach to the toilet allow a person to exert maximum force straight downward with the hands and arms which provides support during transfers. High-rise toilet seats reduce the amount of leg strength required to lower and raise oneself from the toilet and the amount of forward bending required to maintain control during sit to stand.
Slip resistant bath rugs or mats can help reduce slippage on wet surfaces. Soaps and shampoos should be placed to avoid reaching overhead or stooping. Grab bars in the shower or bath provide support during entrance and exit. Tub transfer benches, tub seats or shower seats along with a flexible handheld shower hose enable bathing to be completed in sitting.
Beds height should not be too high or too low. Beds should be approximately 18 inches in height, measured from the floor to the top of the mattress. Bed leg risers can be purchased to increase the height of a bed that is too low.
Mattresses that are too soft make pushing up into sitting difficult. A firm mattress enables support when pushing up. Bed rails may be added to a bed to provide extra support. They must be securely fastened to do so.
Chairs that are low or without armrests are difficult to transfer on and off of. Chairs should have armrests approximately 7 inches above the seat and extend at least 1 inch beyond the seat edge for maximum leverage. Avoid cross rails on chair legs, which prevent the person’s legs from sliding underneath the seat to assist in rising. Chair legs should not slide when leaned on. Chairs should be stable enough to support a person’s weight when leaned on. Drop-leaf and pedestal-type tables tend to tip over when weight is applied to the edge and should be avoided.
Kitchen carts should can be used for transferring items such as food, utensils, and dishes from one part of the room to the next. Frequently used items should be arranged to they are located between a person’s hip and eye level to avoid reaching up or bending down.
Keeping active is one of the most important factors to fall prevention. By being mindful of factors that put you at risk for falling and taking preventative measures will keep you on the road of independence!
Keeping active is one of the best things you can do for balance & fall prevention
Athletes with Multiple Sclerosis
“I have Multiple Sclerosis, but Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t have me.” That quote comes from Don McNeal, a two time National College Football Champion (1978, 1979) who played for Alabama under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. McNeal spoke at the Multiple Sclerosis News and Views Conference in Huntsville, AL Thursday, 8-18-16 and shared how he and other athletes with multiple sclerosis struggled and cope with this debilitating disease.
Born and raised in Atmore, AL native, McNeal was a star on the Escambia County High School football team. After high school, he played football for Alabama University under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. In addition to helping his team win two National Championships, McNeal was Captain of the Team in 1979 then drafted as a defensive back by the Miami Dolphins in 1980. McNeal played in two Super Bowls with the Dolphins: Super Bowl XVII in January 1983 and Super Bowl XIX in January 1985. During those seasons, McNeal was named the Dolphins’ Player of the Year. He retired at the end of the 1989 season having played his entire pro career with the Dolphins. In 1992 he was selected as a member of the University of Alabama All-Centennial Team in 1992 and in 2008 was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama.
After retirement from football, McNeal became actively involved in his community. He served as a drug-rehab counselor, teacher, coach, lay pastor, board member, and frequent public speaker. He was a pastor at New Testament Baptist Church in South Florida and speaker for Power Talent. To this day, he remains active with associations that assist youth and adults.
McNeal was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014. Multiple Sclerosis is an incurable, auto-immune disease and that damages the myelin sheath surrounding sensory and motor nerve fibers. Depending on which nerves are affected, it can cause impairment in vision, sensation, strength, endurance and coordination. It has begun to sap McNeal’s strength and coordination and he now uses a power scooter to assist with mobility. McNeal believes repeated NFL concussions brought on his ailment. He and a number of athletes with multiple sclerosis and other disorders suing the league for damages . They are not looking for sympathy. They want empathy. “There are a lot of former players who are trying to do the right thing,” he said. “I hope the NFL will do right by us.”
McNeal spoke at the Huntsville Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Conference Thursday 8-18-16 . His mission is to share hope and inspiration with those facing Multiple Sclerosis. “Coach Don Shula always told me no matter what, always show your class,” said McNeal. That meant standing tall and facing what was to come with poise and grace. “That’s what I’m trying to do here.”
McNeal, ever the optimist, refuses to feel down about it, but turns his energy toward helping others. A man of deep religious faith, he still spends three days a week at Dade Christian School in Miami Lakes. “He has such a good spirit,” said McNeal’s wife Rhonda. “He never complains, and even picks me up when I have a bad day. His positive attitude is why everyone still wants him around here.”
Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye and good luck to our occupational therapy interns at Therapy Achievements. Dominique and Monique have done a tremendous job with treating our patients, helping to further develop our vision therapy program, and organizing our procedures. They will be very missed!
In addition to working with us, they have been busy studying for their licensure exam and have one more internship with Huntsville City Schools before they launch their careers in the field of occupational therapy. They are smart, hard working and will go far! We are looking forward to seeing what star they follow.
Therapy Achievements takes interns from Tuskegee University, where Dominique and Monique study, from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and Wallace State College. We are looking forward to being able to take interns from the physical therapy program at UAB and physical therapy assistant programs at Calhoun Community College and Wallace State College.
Breast Cancer & Lymphdedema Conference
Join us Sat 7-9-16 from 1-3:00 at Clearview Cancer Institute for information about breast cancer surgery options by Dr. Caroline Schreeder and highlights from the Lighthouse Lymphedema Conference about latest research on treatment of lymphedema by Karen Allen Hislop, CLT.
2 Free CEUs will be available for healthcare workers.
Paula Tedin-Moschovas will be collecting data from patients and lymphedema therapists for her research project on lymphedema.
Cynthia Massey Parsons will be present with a special exhibit of dog and animal portraits.
Jaime Richardson will be providing music.
The value of surgery for her brother led Dr. Caroline Schreeder to become a general surgeon. The impact of surgery that helped her brother led Schreeder initially to enter the field of medicine. “ He was born with neuromuscular condition that the orthopedic surgeons were unfamiliar with. My brother underwent multiple procedures to alleviate his condition,” she said.
“I was always fascinated with how much more functional he could be from a single surgery,” Schreeder said. “I decided I wanted to be that person able to make that change in a person’s life.”
At first interested in orthopedic surgery, Schreeder completed surgery clinicals and “knew general surgery was the place for me. I enjoyed the variety of surgery and the opportunity for creativity within the field.”
Schreeder earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and English at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She graduated from the University of Texas Medical School, also in Houston. Family ties influenced her decision to practice in Madison. Her husband’s family lives in Huntsville. “My father-in-law is hematologist-oncologist here and has had nothing but wonderful experiences and relayed those to me,” she said. “I admire the kind of community that exists here highly educated, compassionate and empathetic people and physicians.”
Her patients are adolescents and adults who need laparoscopic surgery for any type of hernia, cholecystectomy, appendectomy, thyroidectomy, splenectomy, open hernia repair, bowel or colon resection, port placement, lesion removal and breast surgery.
Her husband Dr. Martin Schreeder works as an emergency room physician. She holds membership in the American College of Surgeons, American Women in surgery and Madison Medical Alliance.
To contact Dr. Schreeder, call 256-265-5951
Karen Allen Hislop has been practicing occupational therapy for over 20 years. Since graduating from the University of North Dakota, she has completed extensive training in treatment techniques for individuals with stroke, brain and spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease and lymphatic disorders. Her credentialing includes Certified Lymphedema Therapist, NDT Practitioner, LSVT BIG Practitioner, SaeboFlex Technology Practitioner, VitalStim Practioner, Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist, and Seating Specialist for Wheelchair fittings. Karen completed her MBA in 2002 and formed Therapy Achievements in 2009.
Southern artist Cynthia Massey Parsons is a multi-faceted, creative talent. In addition to dramatic formal oil & pastel portraiture, her work includes abstracts with mirrored gloss, and the exploration of flamboyant floral and landscape themes. Her list of accomplishments is extensive and her work has been exhibited in solo shows, juried museum exhibitions, and is represented in selected galleries of note. Her courtroom sketches have appeared on both CBS and ABC affiliated stations. Her work includes:
Formal Portraits: Pope John Paul II, His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, the first Archbishop of New York, Senator Howell Heflin, First Lady Hilary Clinton and daughter Chelsea, Coach Gene Stallings and son John Mark, General Howell H. Howze, General William Bunker, Grandmaster Yong Ju Lee
Posters and Book Publications:
- Cynthia was selected to design the official poster for the 1996 Olympic Soccer Games and published a collection of action soccer paintings entitled Impressions – Men’s Summer Soccer ’96.
- Cynthia was chosen By Books-A-Million to design the Iron Bowl poster Pride Runs Deep with University of Alabama Coach Gene Stallings .
- The Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel selected Cynthia was to design the Stars Fall on Alabama poster.
- Cynthia’s Smocked Christmas stocking appears in Christmas with Southern Living 1982.
- Following 911, Cynthia was commissioned to paint Spirit of America . Her coloring book Fire Fighters, American Heroes – Fire Safety & Prevention was presented by Teledyne Engineering to selected elementary students in Huntsville.
Awards, Honors and Distinctions:
- Cynthia was awarded The Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award by the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation. The award is “given in recognition of a lifetime commitment to selfless service and societal advancement that has demonstrably affected the quality of life in the community, state or nation, service without regard to faith or race. The selection process for this award is rigorous.”
- She was selected by the NASA Emeritus program as one of the 101 Rocket Center Inventors for her patented Smock Gathering Machine Mount. The exhibit was a companion to the USSRC 101 Inventions That Changed the World exhibition and was on display throughout 2015.
- She was appointed by the state governor to design and create a Christmas ornament for the Official United States White House Christmas Tree and attend the White House Christmas Reception honoring artists selected artists in 2001.
- She was confirmed as a Special Consultant to the International Association of Educators For World Peace of the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization in February 2003 in recognition of her work to better her community. She worked along side other key participants to build the platform from which Panoply was born.
- She has been included in Who’s Who in American Art since 2010.
- In 1977 she was included in Outstanding Young Women of America.
- She was awarded Signature Status in the Watercolor Society of Alabama in Oct 2014 and her paintings were accepted into Watercolor Society of Alabama National Exhibits in 2013, 2014 & 2015 and in October 2014.
- She received an Honorable Mention for her work at the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National Exhibit.
- Her paintings have been selected in numerous years for the Energen’s Annual Wonders of Alabama Art Competition. Her oil painting Streets of Paris won the People’s Choice Award of $2500.
- She received the 2000 Arts Alive Award for Excellence and Support of Alabama Arts by the Children’s Hands-On Museum; Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Her work was selected for the 35th & 36th Annual Mini-Works on Paper at Jackson State University.
- Her watercolor students are also receiving national recognition for their art.
Jaime Richardson joined Speech Therapy at Therapy Achievements in 2015. She specializes in dysphagia (swallowing impairment), cognitive rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury, Memory Impairment and is Vital Stim, Myofascial Release, and is LSVT ( Loud Program) certified. She has a degree in Sociology with minor in Psychology from the University of North Alabama and Master’s in Speech Language Pathology from Alabama A and M University. She loves to read, play the piano and enjoys composition with interests in sound and proper hearing mechanics for functional healthy daily living. She is a native of North Alabama and loves the outdoors!
Cynthia Parson’s: Biography
Southern artist Cynthia Parsons is a multi-faceted, creative talent. In addition to dramatic formal oil & pastel portraiture, her work includes abstracts with mirrored gloss, and the exploration of flamboyant floral and landscape themes. Her list of accomplishments is extensive and her work has been exhibited in solo shows, juried museum exhibitions, and is represented in selected galleries of note. Her courtroom sketches have appeared on both CBS and ABC affiliated stations. Her work includes:
- Pope John Paul II: His portrait is displayed in the St. Joseph Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York and Cynthia received a letter of thanks from the Vatican for her work.
- His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, the first Archbishop of New York: His portrait was presented to him the morning of the Solomn Pontifical Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral celebrating his 80th birthday and is displayed in the St. Joseph Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York.
- Senator Howell Heflin: His portrait at Redstone Arsenal
- First Lady Hilary Clinton and daughter Chelsea
- Coach Gene Stallings and son John Mark
- General Howell H. Howze: His portrait hang in the U.S. Army Program Executive Office on Redstone Arsenal
- General William Bunker: His portrait hang in the U.S. Army Program Executive Office on Redstone Arsenal
- Grandmaster Yong Ju Lee
Posters and Book Publications:
Cynthia was selected to design the official poster for the 1996 Olympic Soccer Games and published a collection of action soccer paintings entitled Impressions – Men’s Summer Soccer ’96.
Cynthia was chosen By Books-A-Million to design the Iron Bowl poster Pride Runs Deep with University of Alabama Coach Gene Stallings .
The Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel selected Cynthia was to design the Stars Fall on Alabama poster.
Cynthia’s Smocked Christmas stocking appears in Christmas with Southern Living 1982.
Following 911, Cynthia was commissioned to paint Spirit of America . Her coloring book Fire Fighters, American Heroes – Fire Safety & Prevention was presented by Teledyne Engineering to selected elementary students in Huntsville.
Awards, Honors and Distinctions:
Cynthia was awarded The Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award by the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation. The award is “given in recognition of a lifetime commitment to selfless service and societal advancement that has demonstrably affected the quality of life in the community, state or nation, service without regard to faith or race. The selection process for this award is rigorous.”
She was selected by the NASA Emeritus program as one of the 101 Rocket Center Inventors for her patented Smock Gathering Machine Mount. The exhibit was a companion to the USSRC 101 Inventions That Changed the World exhibition and was on display throughout 2015.
She was appointed by the state governor to design and create a Christmas ornament for the Official United States White House Christmas Tree and attend the White House Christmas Reception honoring artists selected artists in 2001.
She was confirmed as a Special Consultant to the International Association of Educators For World Peace of the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization in February 2003 in recognition of her work to better her community. She worked along side other key participants to build the platform from which Panoply was born.
She has been included in Who’s Who in American Art since 2010.
In 1977 she was included in Outstanding Young Women of America.
She was awarded Signature Status in the Watercolor Society of Alabama in Oct 2014 and her paintings were accepted into Watercolor Society of Alabama National Exhibits in 2013, 2014 & 2015 and in October 2014.
She received an Honorable Mention for her work at the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National Exhibit.
Her paintings have been selected in numerous years for the Energen’s Annual Wonders of Alabama Art Competition. Her oil painting Streets of Paris won the People’s Choice Award of $2500.
She received the 2000 Arts Alive Award for Excellence and Support of Alabama Arts by the Children’s Hands-On Museum; Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Her work was selected for the 35th & 36th Annual Mini-Works on Paper at Jackson State University.
Her watercolor students are also receiving national recognition for their art.
Cynthia is a kind and generous person who gives much to others. Organizations that have benefited from her efforts include:
American Cancer Association/Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation/Designers Against Breast Cancer/American Heart Association/Arthritis Association/United Cerebral Palsy Association/Red Cross/AIDS Action Coalition/Callahan Eye Foundation/Easter Seals/Firefighters’ Association/Huntsville Hospital Foundation/Huntsville Botanical Garden/Huntsville Historic Foundation/Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association/Huntsville Space Camp /U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Cynthia holds membership in:
National League of American Pen Woman/National Society Magna Charta Dames & Barons/Watercolor Society Alabama/Delta Delta Delta/Junior League of Huntsville/Symphony Guild, Huntsville/Huntsville Art League/and Women’s Guild Huntsville Museum of Art.
Teacher & Lecturer:
Cynthia is available for private lessons, workshops, special presentations, and lectures. She teaches & has taught art classes in her studio, at the Madison County Botanical Gardens/ Burritt Museum on the Mountain in Huntsville/ Birmingham Museum of Art/ The Birmingham Botanical Garden/ Monaco Pictures/ Alabama Art Supply in Birmingham/ Hobby Lobby in Jones Valley in Huntsville/ The Art Academy and more.
Speech Therapy Helps Dysphagia
Did you know that 89% of people with Brain Injury, Stroke, MS, and Parkinson’s Disease have trouble with speech and swallowing?
Do You Have: Changes in your voice? Difficulty or pain while swallowing? Feel like something is stuck in your throat after eating? Do you cough or choke when you swallow? You might have dysphagia and Speech Therapy can help!
What is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing and is usually a sign of a problem with your throat or esophagus -the muscular tube that moves food and liquids from the back of your mouth to your stomach. Although dysphagia can happen to anyone, it is most common in people who have problems of the brain or nervous system.
There are many different problems that can prevent the throat or esophagus from working properly. Some of these are minor, and others are more serious. If you have a hard time swallowing once or twice, you probably do not have a medical problem. But if you have trouble swallowing on a regular basis, you may have a more serious problem that needs treatment.
What Causes Dysphagia?
Normally, the muscles in your throat and esophagus squeeze, or contract, to move food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach without problems. Sometimes, though, food and liquids have trouble getting to your stomach. There are several types of problems that can make it hard for food and liquids to travel down your esophagus:
- The muscles and nerves that help move food through the throat and esophagus are not working right. This can happen to people with problems with their nervous system, such as: Stroke, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Post-Polio Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease.
- There is swelling, inflammation, spasms and/or weakness from immune system problems such as Scleroderma, a condition in which the tissues of the esophagus become hard and narrow.
- Something is blocking your throat or esophagus. Conditions that can cause this include: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) that when un-treated can result in ulcers in the esophagus and scarring, Esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus, Diverticula or small sacs in the walls of the esophagus or the throat, or Esophageal tumors.
A dry mouth can make dysphagia worse. This is because you may not have enough saliva to help move food out of your mouth and through your esophagus.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dysphagia?
Dysphagia can come and go, be mild or severe, or get worse over time. If you have dysphagia, you may:
- Have problems getting food or liquids to go down on the first try.
- Gag, choke, or cough when you swallow.
- Have food or liquids come back up through your throat, mouth, or nose after you swallow.
- Feel like foods or liquids are stuck in some part of your throat or chest.
- Have pain when you swallow.
- Have pain or pressure in your chest or have heartburn.
- Lose weight because you are not getting enough food or liquid.
How Is Dysphagia Treated?
Your speech therapist will work with your doctor to evaluate what is causing your dysphagia and develop an individualized treatment program for you. Treatment your doctor may provide includes:
- Dilation: Placing a device down your esophagus to carefully expand any narrow areas of your esophagus. You may need to have the treatment more than once.
- Endoscopy: Using a long, thin scope to remove an object that is stuck in your esophagus.
- Surgery: If you have something blocking your esophagus (such as a tumor or diverticula), you may need surgery to remove it. Surgery is also sometimes used in people who have a problem that affects the lower esophageal muscle (achalasia).
- Medicines: If you have dysphagia related to GERD, heartburn, or esophagitis, prescription medicines may help prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus. Infections in your esophagus are often treated with antibiotic medicines.
Treatment your speech therapist may provide includes:
- Exercises for your swallowing muscles to train your muscles to work together to help you swallow.
- Compensation Strategies: You may also need to learn how to position your body or how to put food in your mouth to be able to swallow better.
- Changing the foods you eat. Your speech therapist may tell you to eat certain foods and liquids to make swallowing easier.
In rare cases, a person who has severe dysphagia may need a feeding tube because he or she is not able to get enough food and liquids.
Speech Therapy at Therapy Achievements:
Speech therapy services are typically covered by health insurance and Therapy Achievements is an in-network provider for most insurances.
Therapy Achievements is a Rehabilitation Center that provides Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy for Balance and Movement, Speech and Swallowing, Swelling from Lymphedema and Edema, Driving Rehabilitation and Functional Living Skills for visual and cognitive re-training. We help people with Brain Injury, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Lymphedema, Head and Neck Cancer, Vertigo and Dizziness, and other disorders that interfere with mobility and function. We offer VitalStim Technology, Saebo Technology, LSVT LOUD Treatment, LSVT BIG Treatment, and Neuro-Developmental Treatment.
Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy for
- Balance and Mobility
- Speech and Swallowing
- Lymphedema Therapy
- Driving Rehab
- Functional Living Skills