The Bridge School

Plenary 3

Focus on the brain for developmental gain: How gene surgery for AADC deficiency, deep brain stimulation for dystonia and self-directed mobility in children with complex communication and physical needs can affect motor development, communication and participation

Christine Wright-Ott

A new frontier in brain surgery, genetic therapy and deep brain stimulation, performed on two Bridge School students with complex communication and physical needs will be shared. The child’s function before and after surgery will be described through video. A new perspective on how the brain changes in typically developing young children, once they achieve self-directed mobility by walking, will be highlighted. The research implies the importance of allowing physically disabled children a means to explore independently by achieving a means for self-directed mobility, which most do not achieve when they sit in a dependent wheelchair or stroller all day. Highlites of a study being conducted at the Bridge School on using hands-free support walkers for self-directed mobility will be discussed.