A Virtual Blessing

A Virtual Blessing

“Thumbs up! I love all of the virtual classes. I think they are wonderful.” – Sharon, participates in Bingo, Jeopardy, sing alongs, scrabble, seated exercise/meditation & concerts

One year into the pandemic, Reimagine’s virtual campus is going strong—Zumba, art, cooking, exercise, music, meditation—and more! Reimagine was one of the first nonprofits serving the disabilities community in Orange County to pivot to virtual programming when stay-at-home orders were first issued in March 2020. For many participants—the virtual programming has been a blessing during long periods of isolation. And clearly Bingo is a favorite!
Here’s what some of our participants are saying about their virtual classes:
“I like class because I like seeing people. I like seeing you! I look forward to it because it gives me something to do.” – Chris, whose favorite classes are Social Services & exercise

“I like all of the virtual classes, especially Bingo and cooking. The classes are good for everyone!” – Oscar

“I give a thumbs up to all of the virtual classes, and I especially love playing Bingo.” – Joshua

“I love all of the classes, especially Bingo. I love seeing friends and faces.” – Jamie, participates in Jeopardy, Exercise, Animals & Music classes

“ I like attending the social services classes.  After my stroke and specially with COVID I’ve had some anger issues.  This class is helping me deal with my anger.” – Ruben

Learn more about all the classes offered via Reimagine’s virtual campus.

Achieve Physical Therapy Goals

Achieve Physical Therapy Goals

Participants Strive to Achieve Physical Therapy Goals During the Pandemic

Even with stay-at-home orders over the past year, some participants who had been receiving physical therapy (PT) from Reimagine have found ways to make progress when they couldn’t attend in-person PT sessions, while others have been working hard in-center in recent months to regain lost ground.

Reimagine provides PT services for all levels of physical functionality to participants with intellectual/developmental, neurologic and/or other physical disabilities – all tailored to the unique needs of each individual. Participants have customized plans and goals, so whether a participant wants to increase functionality, be more upright or gain independence, our therapists craft a plan to get them there.

When the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders forced Reimagine to halt all in-center physical therapy for six months. PT participants went without direct, hands-on therapy, treatment, and physical guidance from licensed therapists. Some participants did their best to try to keep up with their exercises at home.

In September 2020, Reimagine was able to begin providing in-person PT on an appointment basis. It took about two months for returning participants to get back to baseline – and now these participants are demonstrating significant improvement. Some participants who weren’t walking in September, now are! Upon initial return to in-person PT, the level of de-conditioning was evident and significant. Reimagine’s physical therapists worked diligently and patiently with each participant to get them back to baseline and beyond.

Here are just a few of our PT participant success stories:

C.S, 57, has Multiple Sclerosis, Head Injury and Quadriplegia
Goal: To continue exercising and increasing her range of motion to allow for more independence with daily activities and enhance her quality of life.
C.S. began receiving therapy services from Reimagine in April 2017. After lockdown, C.S returned to PT weak and short of breath. She needed a lot of manual assistance from two therapists just to take a couple of steps at a time. Now, she does several laps up and down the parallel bars – a distance of 12 feet each way!

Hugo, 42, has a C5 injury to his spinal cord
Goal: To increase his strength to allow for standing, walking without assistance and better range of motion
Hugo was very motivated and a super hard worker. He attempted to continue his PT program at home; but lacked the guidance and equipment to sustain his progress. When he returned for in-center PT, Hugo could only complete four laps on the parallel bars. He has since doubled his distance and will be advancing to an assistive device like a walker or a cane soon.

Edwin, 36 age, intellectual/development disability, cerebral palsy
Goal: To improve mobility to keep up with his active, four-year-old daughter
Confined to a wheelchair and largely immobile, Edwin was unable to stand and could barely crawl when he began receiving PT at Reimagine in July 2019. Now he can stand for several minutes at a time and is developing greater strength in his legs. Edwin is a great example of what hard work can achieve.

We celebrate the progress of all our PT participants 

To learn more about Reimagine’s Physical Therapy program call (714) 633-7400 or email info@reimagineoc.org

Learning is Forever

Learning is Forever

Learning is Forever and For All of Us  

By Marsalee Malatesta, Chief of Services, Health and Wellness, Reimagine

On the surface, people with disabilities may seem completely different than people without disabilities. But dive deeper, and you’ll find that people with disabilities are just like you and me in many ways. They need to connect, to maintain relationships and to be nurtured physically, mentally and emotionally. And after more than 20 years of working at Reimagine, I’m still learning daily, but here’s what I’m certain of: We need each other to keep developing into our best selves.

That desire to keep learning is a big part of being able to successfully work with people with disabilities. You have to believe in the value of what you’re teaching them, and they have to believe you want to be there for them. You must have an innate passion for the field and empathy to be able to validate people with disabilities and understand their situations. You need to be all in.

The rewards of this work are doled out in life-changing moments. After a nine-year hiatus from full-time work at Reimagine, I returned to the Orange campus as Program Director. A participant I’d worked with back in 1997 came in for her regular therapies and recognized me. She was elated and so was I. She said I had saved her life – the ultimate expression of gratitude.

Just a few weeks ago, one of my staff had a breakthrough with a participant, who in her late forties, used a new app on her tablet to learn to say the “th” sound, after struggling to pronounce it her entire life. She is still learning, and so are we.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the disruption and lingering uncertainty, we are still making gains. As long as we all stay open to learning, are ready to adapt and stay connected, Reimagine will continue helping participants reach their full potential.

Chief of Services, Marsalee Malatesta oversees day programs and outpatient clinical services for adults with intellectual, developmental and neurological disabilities. Her teams provide social service intervention, nursing intervention plus physical, speech and occupational therapies.