Therapy Improves the Life of New Hope Client

Therapy Improves the Life of New Hope Client

By David Sklan, New Hope Client

“Recreational Therapy has given me a boost in life skills,” says David Sklan.

David has been with New Hope of Indiana for many years and began by living in the facility, then moved to living in an apartment and now resides in one of our Supported Living homes.

David has participated in Recreational Therapy for many years. He first received services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago before moving to New Hope. David has participated in many activities within Recreation Therapy, like card games, sports, arts & crafts and community outings. David has felt that Recreation Therapy has helped him in many ways. He feels he learned Money Management skills by participating in community outings in order to purchase items at stores.

David practiced his coping skills he was taught in therapy to cope with his accident and how to deal with the public and their judgement of individuals with disabilities. David could communicate with others by applying his socialization skills he was taught in Therapy. David has engaged in many memory and focus activities by using a deck of cards. These activities have helped clear up his mind to focus better in Therapy. While attending therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and New Hope’s facility, David participated in using a Therapy Pool. In working in the pool, it allowed David to walk in the water to stretch his muscles and relieve pain.

Music Therapy has been a service offered by New Hope since 2014. Caitlin Bernhart was hired as the first Music Therapist and they have since added another Music Therapist, Kristin Knox, who works at the Castleton location.

Caitlin talks with many of her clients who all enjoy active music making by learning to play an instrument or writing lyrics to songs and singing them. Caitlin interviewed a client who said Music Therapy has helped him to “write songs about his family, his girlfriend and his goals. It has helped him to express his feelings.” She also asked this client what they liked about Music Therapy. His response was, “It is good. I get to pick the songs I want to write. I like making up titles for my songs. I like singing together.”

In 1978, New Hope of Indiana opened their doors to a 200-bed facility that served adults and adolescents with developmental disabilities. In 1989, New Hope wanted to move towards community living and closing the doors of the facility. The first group homes were bought in 1989 and in 1993 the Supported Living Program began. By 1996, the facility closed their doors and all residents moved into Supported Living homes. Today, New Hope of Indiana has 11 Group Homes and 38 Supported Living Program sites; 8 of those sites are apartments or rental homes, not owned by New Hope. New Hope of Indiana has added the services of Recreational Therapy and Music Therapy in the last 4 years.

Music Therapy has a positive and healing effect for everyone. It’s a powerful tool that can stimulate, yet decrease anxiety and help center a person’s attention, opening the mind for increased learning. Musical rhythm stimulates and organizes muscle responses, helps improve physical skills, and promotes an overall emotional well-being.

Our Recreation Therapy program is implemented and managed by a certified therapeutic recreation specialist who assists participants in meeting their goals through games, sensory integration, role play, social activity, fine and gross motor activity, pet therapy, music and art interventions and various other recreational opportunities. The Therapy Services have changed over the years from when New Hope opened their doors to present day. Here is a compare to how Therapy was in the facility to present day.

Group oriented—All the sessions were done in a group setting.
Sport Driven—Started Special Olympic teams to compete against other agencies in Kickball, Softball, Skiing, Bowling, Beep Ball for those with sight limitations and others.
Outings—Went out into the community to practice money management skills and socialization skills in real-life settings; visited Parks and Museums and Community integration.
Therapy Pool—Swimming lessons, Relaxation and Stretching
Therapy Options—Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy offered
Workshops—Two workshop options to attend; All Disability Workshop and TBI Workshop

Individualized—Sessions are planned for each client and their abilities
1-on-1 sessions—Sessions done with Therapist and client
Therapy Options- Recreation Therapy and Music Therapy offered
Sedentary—Activities completed in sessions are Fine Motor and Gross Motor activities, Social Activities, Arts & Craft, Exercises- sedentary and non-sedentary

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