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Your gifts at work: iPads help distract children in therapy

​​​​​Imagine being a child with Cerebral Palsy, having to undergo physical therapy. It can be uncomfortable and it's hard to relax and sit still, but that's what they keep asking you to do.iPads help children

Thanks to the generous support of donors, children in that situation now have something to look forward to: using an iPad device.

When people make an unrestricted gift for patient care, it can be used in a variety of ways. Marshfield Clinic's Physical and Occupational Therapy Department applied for and received two iPads for youths needing serial casts because of Cerebral Palsy, a stroke or other medical problem.

"The iPads are fabulous because they provide distraction for the child," said Ashley Detterbeck, a physical therapist. "Before we had them, the kids were constantly twisting and turning because they wanted to watch what you were doing. We need them calm and relaxed, and with the iPads they have games, books and videos to use and it's a night and day difference from how they were before."

Detterbeck's manager, Aaron Homolka, said serial casts are typically applied and removed several times over the course of a child's therapy. They are measured and reapplied weekly or bi-weekly, typically to help stretch out the child's calf muscles so they can learn not to walk on their toes.

"It can be a little uncomfortable for the kids, but a serial cast is mainly just something new to them and can cause anxiety. Having them distracted makes it easier for the child, the parents and even the therapist," he noted. The Clinic's Physical and Occupational Therapy Department applied to the Patient Care Fundraising Review and Prioritization Committee, which reviews all submissions, and authorized the expenditure for the iPads.

For more information about making a gift to support patient care initiatives, contact Marshfield Clinic Development at 1-800-858-5220 or visit