Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More on NICoE

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence is a most amazing state-of-the-art place. It is truly foremost in the therapies offered. People work there because they love it. Many have taken a huge cut in pay to be there. How nice to know that there are still people who have a commitment far exceeding the desire for more money.

This virtual reality 'machine' is one of only 7 in the world, 5 being in the US. It is pretty cool and I wish you could see it in action. The screen comes around far enough that the patient cannot see past it with peripheral vision. If the 'path' rises then the platform tilts accordingly. The speed can be varied on the treadmill that is in the center of the platform. Things presented in the scenario are tailor made to fit the individual therapy. It could be birds, loud noises, math equations, you name it. The ultimate goal is to have the person be able to again integrate into the daily world here at 'home'.

Virtual reality

I was also thrilled to see art and music therapy. Many art programs are cut in educational crunches but here they get the importance of art and music! The art therapist was available and happily answered my questions and let me take photos, definitely two ways straight into my heart!! The patients are encouraged to forget 'product' and to deal with feelings and emotions. Here are a few examples along with the room where they work....

Painted mask


Another collage

Bark mask

Art and music room

More of the art and music room

Notice the light diffused about the room. The interior wall has windows letting more natural light enter along with plenty of track lighting to keep everything bright but not harsh. Also, have you noticed there are no patients around? On Fridays they go off to help train working dogs which is also therapy for those participating. Tours are largely given only during these times so that patients are never made to feel like guinea pigs on display for the public. Further evidence of this well thought out program.

I'm still figuring out how to place photos. It would be great if I could drag them around but this program doesn't work that way. I'm pretty sure any program that was more flexible would be a lot harder to learn so I'll stick with what I've got and hope for the best!


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