17 year old Gemma has right hemplegia as a result of a left hemispherectomy in 2006. She participated in Hands Up! Upper Limb Bootcamp in December 2016. Several goals were identified including: being able to hold items such as a bottle of coke, being able to clap, type and adjust clothing using her right hand.
Hands Up! is ARC’s intensive upper limb program designed to drive neural change and improve function. For 2 weeks, Gemma completed 3 hours of upper limb therapy a day in the clinic in addition to 1 hour of task specific home practise. A range of therapy tools were incorporated into her program including FES, Saebo Flex and our interactive computer based training suite. She made many great achievements by the end of bootcamp and typed this article about her experience herself, using her right hand….
“Hi my name Gemma and I’m 17 years old. When I was 6 I started having seizures. I was experiencing a wide variety of different seizures causing me to be in and out of hospital for around a year until the 14th November 2006 where I had half my brain removed. This surgery helped to stop my debilitating seizures. 10 years on and I went from having 80-100 seizures a day to 0. The constant support from my family, especially my younger sister Kristen who was always by my side, inspiring me, that there is “Hope in one Hemisphere” meant so much to me as I had to learn to walk, talk and function in a two handed world where I was only able to use one.
I have always wanted to be able to use my right arm again, as after my surgery I ignored my arm all together. As I grew older I thought maybe there are things I could do with my arm. With the Upper Limb boot camp and the help from Dominique I am finding new ways to use my arm that before I never would have thought to try. The two weeks I spent working on my arm were the best rehab sessions I have ever had, mainly because I found new ways of using my arm that I never thought I’d be able to achieve. I have never held a ball in my hand, especially with the ability to relax my fingers and release the ball. I am so grateful for the progress I have made and the ability to use my arm again.”