Comprehensive Therapy Services for Adults and Children

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital offers you and your loved ones of all ages comprehensive therapy services and specialized programs. Many of our therapy services are available close to home at conveniently located health centers throughout our five-county service area.

Learn more about our therapy services:

Inpatient Therapy for Adults

Mercy Regional Rehabilitation Center is a 39-bed unit located on the fourth floor of our main hospital campus in Canton offering occupational, physical and speech therapies, as well as nursing and medical care.

Outpatient Therapy for Adults

Appropriate therapy in the outpatient setting is vital to recovery from surgery or an injury, the management of progressive diseases, and efforts to overcome physical, mental and developmental disorders.

At Mercy Hospital, we use an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to outpatient therapy. Our experienced professional team of licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists emphasize holistic treatment across therapies, ensuring quality care for the whole person.

When you begin outpatient therapy with us, you will receive a treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs and schedule. Serving you at six convenient locations, Mercy Hospital provides multiple therapies at each location, minimizing your effort while maximizing your time.

Our Therapy Services treats a wide range of injuries, diseases and disorders, including orthopaedic, neurological and arthritic conditions; workplace and sports injuries; communication and swallowing disorders; and general debilitation.

We offer:

Outpatient Therapy for Children and Adolescents

Mercy Hospital Pediatric Therapy helps children from birth to age 18 who may benefit from physical, occupational or speech therapy. Therapy is provided by referral from your child’s physician, pediatrician, neurologist or orthopedist. Our therapists work closely with the County Board of Developmental Disabilities and your child’s school district.

Our services include:

Cardiac Rehabilitation

One of the area’s oldest established programs, Mercy Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has helped patients and their families with both physical and psychological recovery from heart disease. Cardiac Rehabilitation provides a safe, supervised program of exercise and education in a medical setting, with immediate access to emergency care. The program is specially designed and individually adapted to help patients with the following cardiac disorders resume active and productive lives:

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass)
  • Angina
  • Congestive heart failure
  • PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty)
  • Elevated coronary risk factors (cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, stress, etc.)

A four-phase program, Cardiac Rehab is designed to improve your recovery from heart disease with education and activities.

Sports Medicine

At Mercy Hospital, we understand the importance of mobility and specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of musculoskeletal, sports and orthopaedic injuries. Our professional treatment team includes physicians, physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, athletic trainers and exercise physiologists.

Regional Rehabilitation Center

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s Regional Rehabilitation Center is a 20-bed unit located on the fourth floor of our hospital. Participants are able to take part in occupational, physical and speech therapies and receive nursing and medical care on the unit.



Make an appointment at one of our convenient locations:

Mercy Hospital
1320 Mercy Dr. NW
Canton, OH 44708

  • Low-vision rehabilitation and driver rehabilitation: 330.489.1135
  • Cardiac rehab, phases 1 and 2: 330.489.1284
  • Pulmonary rehab: 330.489.1270
  • Vestibular rehabilitation and Mercy Amputee Coalition: 330.489.1135
  • Lucky Stroke Support Group: 330.489.1135

Mercy Hospital Urgent and Outpatient Care, North Canton
6200 Whipple Avenue NW
North Canton, OH 44720

  • Physical and occupational therapy for adults
  • Sports medicine therapy
  • Hand and upper extremity therapy
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Driver Rehabilitation
  • Cardiac rehab, phases 3 and 4: 330.966.8997

Mercy Hospital Urgent and Outpatient Care, Jackson
7337 Caritas Circle NW
Massillon, OH 44646

  • Adult physical therapy
  • Sports medicine therapy

Mercy Hospital Urgent and Outpatient Care, Plain
1811 Schneider Ave., N.E.
Canton, OH 44721

  • Sports medicine physician

Mercy Hospital Health Center, Lake
432 King Church Ave. SW
Uniontown, OH 44685

  • Adult physical therapy
  • Sports medicine therapy
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

Mercy Hospital Urgent and Outpatient Care, Carrollton
1001 Canton Road NW (next to Dollar Tree)
Carrollton, Ohio 44615

  • Physical and speech therapy for adults and children
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

Mercy Hospital Medical Outpatient Center, New Philadelphia
1031 West High Ave.
New Philadelphia, OH 44663

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy for adults
  • Physical therapy for children
  • Hand & upper extremity therapy
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Following a trauma, surgery or the discovery of a progressive disease, you may need physical therapy to regain your independence or adjust to a changed lifestyle.

From improving range of motion, ambulation, coordination and balance to muscle strengthening and gait training, Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s licensed physical therapists promote healing and help patients prevent re-injury.

Our Physical Therapy Services offers outpatient and inpatient services for a wide range of injuries, diseases and disorders, such as:

  • Orthopaedic conditions. Back and neck pain, osteoporosis, sprains and strains, hand and upper extremity injuries, fractures, crush injuries, dislocations, amputations and before and after surgery.
  • Neurological conditions. Stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, peripheral nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, autism and complications of premature births.
  • Arthritic conditions. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Workplace injuries. Contusions, repetitive motion disorders and other common workplace injuries.
  • Sports injuries. Overuse injuries and trauma sustained during physical activity.
  • General debilitation. General weakness or deconditioning, which may result from an illness or surgery.

When you begin physical therapy at Mercy Hospital, you will receive a treatment plan designed to meet your specific needs and schedule.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

It’s not unusual to get dizzy from certain activities such as riding on a carousel. But dizziness or vertigo can also indicate a problem in the system that helps us maintain our balance. Mercy Hospital Vestibular Rehabilitation may be able to help.

Balance Disorders

Dizziness or vertigo can occur when sensory information is distorted. For example, when someone reads while riding in a car, the inner ear senses the movement of the vehicle, but their eyes see only the book, which is not moving. The resulting sensory conflict may lead to the typical symptoms of motion sickness.

But sometimes, dizziness has no apparent cause and it does not go away. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says a number of conditions can lead to dizziness or vertigo. They include Ménière’s disease, acoustic neuroma / vestibular schwannoma, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and labyrinthitis.

Physical Therapy for Balance Disorders

Physical therapy, or vestibular rehabilitation, can used to treat certain balance disorders. Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and Ménière’s disease are candidates for such therapy. The Vestibular Disorders Association (VDA) says the goal is to retrain the brain to filter out confusing information from the inner ear and to use appropriate information, combined with other senses, such as seeing, to diminish or eliminate symptoms.

At Mercy Hospital, our skilled physical therapists are trained in vestibular disorders and treat:

  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
  • Central vestibular dysfunction (i.e. cerebellar ataxia)
  • Unilateral vestibular hypofunction (i.e. Labyrinthitis – inner ear infection)
  • Bilateral vestibular hypofunction

Vestibular therapy can also help patients suffering from unsteadiness, gait difficulty, persistent headache or neck pain, nausea, and ringing in the ears and hearing loss.

A typical outpatient will receive therapy 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks, unless the physical therapy evaluation determines otherwise.

Check with your insurance plan and see if Mercy Hospital is an in-network provider.

Mercy Amputee Coalition

Mercy Hospital’s Amputee Coalition, a support group for amputees and their families, provides a forum that enables adults with limb loss and limb difference to assist others in adapting to life’s challenges through education and support. The Coalition promotes healthy living and advocacy for those with amputations in the community.

The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. in Mercy Hall Auditorium on the hospital’s main campus. FREE parking is located in front of the Mercy Hall Auditorium.


  • Learn ways to adapt to life’s challenges through education and support
  • Discover local opportunities for amputees, such as sport and volunteer programs
  • Participate in letter campaigns to legislators regarding medical and prosthetic care

The Mercy Hall Auditorium is located directly behind the hospital’s main parking garage.

For more information, call 330.489.1135.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Each year occupational therapy enables people of all ages live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent injury or live better with an injury, illness or disability. At Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital, our occupational therapists offer adult and pediatric services to help you or your loved ones improve skills for work, school, leisure and self-care.

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. The goal is to not only improve basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function.

Our specialized programs include:

  • Driver Rehabilitation
  • Low-vision Rehabilitation

Adult Occupational Therapy Services

Mercy Hospital occupational therapists focus on “doing” whatever occupations or activities are meaningful to you. Solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings or helping you alter your own behaviors.

We can help with a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Recovery after orthopaedic surgery
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Stroke
  • Mental illness
  • Intellectual disabilities (formerly called mental retardation)

Occupational therapists work on performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking and eating. Physical exercises may be used to increase strength and dexterity, while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns. We also use computer programs to help you improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing and coordination - all of which are important for independent living.

If you have a permanent disability, we can teach you how to use adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, orthotics and aids for eating and dressing. We also may be involved in working with employers to modify a work area. If you are a senior, we can assess the home for hazards and identify other factors that may contribute to falls.

When dealing with mental health issues, our therapists choose activities that help you learn to engage in and cope with daily life. Activities include time management skills, budgeting, shopping, homemaking and the use of public transportation.

Driver Rehabilitation

Mercy Hospital’s Driver Rehabilitation Program is a comprehensive driving evaluation and rehabilitation program for presently or previously licensed drivers.

Our program focuses on:

    D - Driver abilities
    R - Resources
    I - Integration into the community
    V - Vehicle modifications & equipment
    E - Education

Today’s roads are crowded with more cars than ever. The agility and concentration required to safely navigate among so many cars and different types of drivers can be overwhelming for anyone of any age. This is even more difficult for individuals recovering from an injury or illness such as:

  • Stroke
  • Head injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease
  • Loss of a limb
  • Cerebral palsy or developmental issues
  • Memory or cognitive problems, dementia
  • Other age-related issues

If you or someone you know has experienced one of these setbacks or has noticed a change in abilities due to age, Mercy Hospital’s Driver Rehabilitation Program can help determine if you’re able to drive in a safe manner. Occupational therapists, that are certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, can assess:

  • Physical strength and movement
  • Visual and perceptual abilities
  • Memory and concentration
  • Knowledge of driving rules
  • Reaction time
  • Ability to drive in various situations on the Driving Simulator
  • Actual on-the-road driving skills

Upon completion of the evaluation, recommendations can be made to you and your physician which may include:

  • Various adaptive equipment such as steering wheel knobs, left foot accelerator and hand controls
  • Driver training
  • Education on new laws and ways to compensate for age-related changes
  • Alternative forms of community mobility

If you feel that the Driver Rehabilitation Program may be helpful, please consult your physician for a referral. You can also refer yourself for an evaluation or you can be referred through an agency such as the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.

To learn more about our Driver Rehabilitation program or make an appointment, please call 330.966.8920, option 2, or email Julie Dominic at DOMINIJ2@ccf.org.


Mercy Hospital Urgent and Outpatient Care, North Canton
6200 Whipple Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720

Low-Vision Rehabilitation

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s Low-vision Rehabilitation, an outpatient occupational therapy program, focuses on enabling those with visual loss to safely and independently complete everyday tasks that their loss of vision makes difficult.

Occupational Therapy for Low Vision Can Help:

  • Teach people how to use remaining vision as efficiently as possible to complete activities.
  • Change activities so that they can be completed with less vision.
  • Teach people to use adaptive equipment that aids with vision loss.
  • Teach people how to adapt in their own homes and the community.

Persons with vision loss have difficulty using their remaining vision to:

  • Complete everyday activities (grooming, cooking, paying bills, shopping, etc.)
  • Use knives to prepare foods
  • Judge depth on stairs and curbs
  • Identify and take medications
  • Monitor glucose levels
  • Dial emergency numbers
  • Use the stove safely
  • Identify spoiled foods and spills on the floor
  • Walk safely on different surfaces

How Low Vision Is Defined

  • Low vision is a chronic medical condition.
  • Low vision can limit a person’s ability to complete every day activities but allows for some useable vision.
  • Low vision affects 1 in 6 adults over 45 years of age. Two thirds are over 65 years of age.
  • The three primary diseases causing low vision are Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma.

Reimbursement for Occupational Therapy

  • A physician or optometrist referral is required
  • Medicare covers Occupational Therapy
  • Billing is through outpatient services

To learn more about our Low-Vision Rehabilitation program or make an appointment, please call 330.966.8920, option 2, or email Rebecca Williams at WILLIAR38@ccf.org.

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy

Adult Speech Therapy

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s Speech Therapy offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient speech therapy services. Our care includes dysphagia therapy, aphasia therapy, voice therapy and cognitive therapy.

All stages of intervention include comprehensive assessments of speech, language, functional communication and cognitive disorders. Specialized evaluations and treatments for dysphagia, voice disorders and augmentative communication are also available.

At all levels of care, patients are involved in treatment planning and setting functional, realistic goals for themselves. Input from family and caregivers is also used to facilitate the best outcomes. Speech Language Pathologists at Mercy Hospital are certified in the most advanced treatment modalities and offer a wide variety of treatment options to meet the needs of any patient.

Dysphagia Diagnosis and Treatment

Dysphagia is a disorder of swallowing or the inability to swallow. It can have sudden onset or be long-standing in nature. The mildest symptom can be having a dry mouth, while the most severe can cause a person to choke and have food lodged in the airway. The highest risk for a patient with dysphagia is aspiration, where food and/or liquid enters the airway below the level of the vocal cords.

There are many causes of dysphagia, including:

  • Brain injury, brain tumor or stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Head/neck cancer or surgery
  • Motor neuron or muscle disease
  • Guillian Barre Syndrome
  • Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cranial Nerve Palsies

*This list is not comprehensive, and specific information about any of these disorders or diseases should be obtained from your physician.

What options for evaluation are available?

At Mercy Hospital, we offer two of the most comprehensive assessments for dysphagia:

  • Modified Barium Swallow
    Studies include an X-ray assessment of the swallow function while the patient consumes various food and liquid textures.
  • FEES – Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing
    An exam using a flexible endoscope and camera to evaluate the swallow function as food passes through the pharynx.

Both examinations are sensitive to identifying aspiration and pharyngeal residue, as well as identifying the safest food and liquid consistency for oral feedings. Both exams can be completed on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

What are the treatment options for dysphagia?

The Speech Pathologists at Mercy Hospital are certified in the latest and most successful methods for the treatment of dysphagia:


This treatment modality uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation for swallowing. This includes electrodes placed on the neck to stimulate the strength and range of motion of the muscles used for swallowing. Vitalstim involved treatment of the swallow, while swallowing foods and liquids. A clinician must be trained and certified in order to use Vitalstim. Mercy Hospital employs five therapists certified in the Vitalstim treatment protocol.

DPNS (Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation)

DPNS uses thermal (cold) and tactile (touch) stimulation to improve strength, speed and sensation of swallowing reflexes. DPNS involves direct contact with the swallowing muscles (tongue, palate, throat/pharynx) using frozen lemon glycerin swabs in a repeated pattern. DPNS also required a certification/training course, which five of our clinicians have completed.

Traditional Laryngeal Strengthening/Exercise Programs

Exercises for the improvement of strength and range of motion for swallowing are also employed. Patients are trained to complete oral – motor exercises, voice exercises and swallowing exercises that will improve and maintain strength of the swallowing musculature. Home exercise programs are also given.

Aphasia Diagnosis and Treatment

Aphasia is the name for a language problem caused by injury to the brain. Aphasia can affect a person’s ability to comprehend or use language to communicate. It can be mild (trouble finding words), or severe (unable to speak at all). Aphasia can also affect other areas of language such as reading, writing and numerical processing skills.

The most common cause for aphasia is stroke, although any disease or injury that affects the brain can cause aphasia.

How is aphasia treated?

A person with aphasia undergoes a complete assessment of all areas of language comprehension and expression:

  • Auditory comprehension (understanding language)
  • Reading comprehension
  • Verbal expression/communication
  • Speech production (sound production, voice, intelligibility)
  • Written language
  • Basic cognition

Therapy will revolve around those skills that are diminished while focusing on residual skills to facilitate independence with communication of basic needs. Advanced communication skills needed in the community or at work are also facilitated. Therapy tasks will be specific to each person.

What if my family member can’t talk at all?

Traditional therapy would continue, however, the ability to use an alternative communication device (machine that is programmed to talk) can be tested. There are a variety of devices that can be programmed to help the patient communicate using their residual language and motor skills.

Voice Therapy

Voice therapy is a treatment used to improve the quality, strength and endurance of the voice. The voice can be affected by overuse or abuse, injury to the throat or vocal cords or a neurological problem such as Parkinson’s Disease. Having a voice disorder can also affect the intelligibility of speech.

The clinicians in our Speech–Language Therapy Department are qualified to complete voice evaluations, in conjunction with anatomical assessments that should be completed by an otolaryngologist (E.N.T.). There are four therapists certified in the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT), which is a specific therapy regimen used to improve the intensity of the voice and intelligibility of speech. It was specifically designed for use with patients with Parkinson’s Disease. This regimen involves a high frequency of therapy sessions with strict home programs and carry-over techniques.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognition refers to the act of thinking. It involves the tasks of paying attention, initiating, problem solving, planning and executing activities. Being able to evaluate one’s work, have awareness of errors and show good judgment are also acts of cognition. Cognitive deficits can be caused by any injury or disease that affects the brain. The most common cause for cognitive deficits is traumatic brain injuries.

Our speech pathologists provide specialized treatment for cognitive deficits that may affect a person’s activities of daily living, education or employment. An individual treatment plan is developed following a complete assessment of the following:

  • Problem solving
  • Memory
  • Judgment
  • Orientation
  • Attention
  • Reasoning
  • Insight
  • Convergent thought
  • Functional cognition
  • Categorization skills
  • Numerical processing

Family, friends and other caregivers are often involved in the treatment plan to facilitate the best outcomes. Home activities such as memory notebooks or organizational planners are often used to help patients organize and complete tasks.

Hand & Upper Extremity Therapy

Hand & Upper Extremity Therapy

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital is proud to offer hand and upper extremity rehabilitation programs, staffed by certified hand therapists who treat hand and upper extremity problems exclusively, at Mercy Health Centers in North Canton and Tuscarawas County.

These outpatient programs offer patients individualized care that incorporates lifestyle and occupational considerations into all treatment programs. And although treatment plans may vary with each patient, the goal is always the same…to help the patient regain as much function as possible in their day-to-day activities.

What is a Hand Therapist?

A Hand Therapist is an Occupational or Physical Therapist who specializes in the rehabilitation of patients with problems affecting the hands and arms.

Mercy Hospital has four hand therapists who have achieved hand therapy certification, requiring advanced study and training.

A hand therapist’s clinical expertise results in prompt and thorough identification of the many complex conditions of the upper extremity. Early intervention with the most effective forms of treatment can reduce medical costs and facilitate faster recovery for the patient.

Specialized evaluations and treatments for persons with:

  • Arthritis
  • Arthroplasties
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Burns
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
  • Crush Injuries
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders
  • Dupuytren’s Contracture Release
  • Edema/Swelling of Hand/Arm
  • Epicondylitis
  • Fractures
  • Hypertrophic Scar
  • Joint Injuries
  • Neuroma
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries/Entrapments
  • Replantation
  • Skin Grafts/Flaps
  • Sprains
  • Tendon Lacerations
  • Tendon Transfers
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigger Finger

We provide physicians and companies with evaluations of upper extremity function, detailed reports of range of motion, strength, edema and sensation.

Treatments and specialized services offered:

  • ADL Training
  • Biofeedback
  • BTE Work Simulator for Rebuilding Strength and Endurance
  • Dexterity/Fine Coordination Training
  • Edema Reduction
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Ergonomic Recommendations
  • Heat/Cold Modalities
  • Home Exercise Programs
  • Iontophoresis
  • Joint Protection
  • ROM Exercises
  • Sensory Re-education
  • Static and Dynamic Splinting
  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Stress Loading Programs
  • TENS
  • Ultrasound
  • Upper Extremity Prosthetic Training
  • Work Simulation and Conditioning
  • Wound and Scar Management
Pediatric Therapy

Pediatric Therapy

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s Pediatric Therapy strives to help youth of all ages (birth to 18 years) learn to manage a wide range of physical, mental and developmental disabilities and achieve as much independence as possible.

Our pediatric therapy programs concentrate on expanding gross and fine motor skills, communication and cognitive abilities, visual motor integration and visual perception proficiency, social and emotional adeptness, and self-care skills.

Wide Range of Pediatric Therapy Services

Pediatric therapists will create a treatment plan specifically for your child that may include:

  • Infant stimulation
  • Feeding assessment and training
  • Gait training
  • Therapeutic modalities
  • Functional skill development
  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Sign language
  • Increasing the use of spoken language
  • Neurodevelopmental treatment
  • Progressive strengthening and range-of-motion exercises
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Sensorimotor programming
  • Visual perceptual training
  • Pre-academic training
  • Communication boards (augmentative communication)
  • Fluency and voice therapy

Therapists are also trained in inhibitive casting procedures, fabricating hand splints and foot orthotics, and assessment and treatment with Threshold Electrical Stimulation.

Help for Many Different Disabilities and Disorders

Our therapists provide physical, occupational or speech therapy for the following diagnoses:

  • Autism
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Spina Bifida
  • Mental Retardation
  • Post-surgery Rehab
  • Receptive/expressive language delays
  • Voice Disorders
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Other Neurological Diagnoses
  • Dorsal Rhizotomy
  • Feeding and Swallowing Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Torticollis
  • Developmental Delay
  • Closed-head Injury
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Articulation Disorders
  • Auditory Processing Disorders
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Behavioral Disorders
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Cleft Palate

Mercy Hospital’s dedicated pediatric therapists offer a multidisciplinary approach to help your child achieve greater independence and confidence. Parental involvement and home programs are an essential part of the program’s success.

Our children’s therapy programs are offered at four convenient locations near Canton, Ohio, including North Canton, Jackson Township (Massillon), Carrollton and New Philadelphia.

Pediatric Physical Therapy for Children from Birth to Age 18

Therapy services are provided to children from birth to 18 years of age. Therapists treat children with a variety of orthopaedic and neurological conditions including, but not limited to, cerebral palsy, torticollis, plagiocephaly, developmental delay, Down Syndrome, Spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, autism, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, seizure disorders, genetic disorders and prematurity.

Physical therapists work within a team of medical providers including pediatricians, neurologists, orthopedists, physiatrists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. The team collaborates with early intervention and school specialists and makes referrals to community agencies.

Initial Evaluation for Pediatric Physical Therapy

At the initial evaluation, the therapists will become acquainted with the child and family. Background information will be obtained, and a physical assessment of the child’s range of motion, muscle tone, strength, posture, balance and gross motor level of functioning will be completed. After evaluation, the therapist will establish individualized goals and a treatment plan.

Personalized Physical Therapy Treatment Options

Individualized treatment recommendations are made for each child based on the evaluation findings. A treatment schedule including frequency and duration will be established. Therapists will use a variety of treatment techniques to meet the child’s goals.

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s pediatric therapists have specialized training in a variety of techniques including:

  • Neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT)
  • Manual therapy
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Torticollis
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Motor control
  • Kinesio taping

Physical therapists are also specially trained to make recommendations for adaptive equipment and home modifications. Parent involvement and home programs are an integral part of successful therapy intervention and are strongly encouraged.

How to Schedule Pediatric Physical Therapy

To schedule an appointment for a pediatric physical therapy evaluation, a prescription from your child’s physician will be needed. The physician can fax a prescription to the department for your convenience. Parents should contact their insurance company to see if Mercy Hospital is listed as an in-network provider. If not, our Your Choice program offers access to Mercy Hospital services at in-network benefit levels.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy

Mercy Hospital's pediatric occupational therapists focus on helping children–from newborn to 18–develop skills for the job of living that will allow them to lead independent, productive and satisfying lives.

Our occupational therapists are passionate about helping children get beyond problems to the solutions that assure living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their behaviors.

About Our Occupational Therapy Staff

Each occupational therapist is registered and has graduated from universities accredited by The American Occupational Therapy Association, licensed by the NBCOT, and by the Ohio OT/PT/AT board.

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s occupational therapists collaborate with all members of the health care team. Communication is also important with family members, school personnel and daycare facilities. As part of the treatment program, family members are often shown ways to practice skill and function enhancement exercises at home.

Referrals & Services with Pediatric Occupational Therapy

A doctor or specialist may have referred your child for occupational therapy. Reasons for referral may include:

  • Developmental delays
  • Post-operative (after surgery) management
  • Traumatic or congenital hand injuries
  • Acute or chronic medical conditions
  • Upper extremity issues
  • Feeding and swallowing issues
  • Visual perceptual problems
  • Fine motor skills’ concerns or delays

After a comprehensive evaluation, Mercy Hospital's pediatric occupational therapists develop individualized treatment plans for each child based on “best practices” which have been developed and proven over time.

Treatment plans may include:

  • Adaptive seating
  • Assessment of adaptive equipment needs
  • Fabrication of custom upper extremity orthoses and splints
  • Fine motor skills
  • Function cognition
  • Handwriting
  • Rehabilitation of complex congenital and acquired upper extremity conditions
  • Sensory integration
  • Upper extremity status
  • Visual perception

Ask your physician for a referral to Mercy Hospital’s Pediatric Therapy Services.

Pediatric Speech & Language Therapy

Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital’s Pediatric Speech Therapy provides outpatient services for children from birth to 18 years old. Children are treated for a variety of disorders, including speech disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders and feeding/swallowing disorders.

Parents and caregivers play an active role during the evaluation process. Their input is used to develop goals that will be functional for the child. Ongoing family education is provided, as well as activities that can be used in the home. Most therapy sessions are one-on-one, allowing for focused and intensive treatment.

Our experienced staff of therapists continues to receive education, allowing them to provide the highest standards of care. The pediatric speech therapists at Mercy Hospital look forward to providing care for the following:

Speech Therapy for Articulation

  • Articulation Disorder
  • Phonological Disorder
  • Dyspraxia

Speech Therapy for Language Disorders
Augmentative/Alternative Communication

Some diagnoses that require intervention with Augmentative / Alternative Communication (AAC)

Some diagnoses that require intervention with AAC include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Severe Dyspraxia/Apraxia
  • Severe Dysarthria
  • Down Syndrome
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis/Dysfunction
  • Selective Mutism
  • Cleft Palate/Severe Craniofacial Anomaly
  • Head Injury
  • Stroke/CVA
  • Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum
  • Autism

Therapy for Feeding and Swallowing

With infants, difficulties with feeding/swallowing can include:

Treatment of feeding/swallowing problems can be as simple as switching to a different nipple/bottle to more intensive therapy that focuses on exercises and activities that improve a child’s coordination or ability to tolerate foods and food textures. The speech therapist will sometimes work in conjunction with the occupational therapist to address feeding/swallowing issues as needed, and will also frequently work with a nutritionist/dietitian or gastroenterologist, depending on the needs of the infant/child. The length of treatment will vary from a few sessions to over a year, depending upon the severity of the child’s difficulties.

Early Intervention with Speech Therapy

Early intervention services are provided for children from birth to three years who have been diagnosed with a speech and language disorder or are at risk for developing a speech and language disorder.

Therapists work with caregivers and make referrals to other agencies, as needed. These agencies, such as Help Me Grow and Healthy Start can assist families with making decisions related to the care of the child. Assistance is also provided to help children transition into preschool programs, which can also address their speech and language needs.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, we recommend that you discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. The pediatrician can make a referral for a speech and language evaluation.

What to Bring to a Speech Therapy Evaluation

What to bring to your child’s evaluation:

  • Prescription for evaluation and treatment with the doctor’s diagnosis
  • Insurance card
  • Past therapy reports, doctor’s reports, school IEP (if available)
Pool Therapy

Pool Therapy

Whether you’re looking for physical rehabilitation or general exercise and conditioning, our pool therapy program has been carefully designed with your needs in mind.

Benefits of Pool Therapy

Pool Therapy provides the opportunity to increase independence, mobility and strength, endurance, flexibility and balance; range of motion; muscle tone, aerobic potential; coordination of musculature for speech; expressive language and articulation.

Patients with the following conditions may benefit from pool therapy:

  • Joint replacement
  • Post-surgery
  • Pre-operative conditioning
  • Sprains, strains and contusions
  • Postural deviations
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Aphasia
  • Articulation disorder
  • Special/general exercise groups
  • Pediatric orthopaedic & neurological conditions

Safe for People with Respiratory Problems, Sensitive Skin

The water is maintained at a constant 92 degrees so it’s relaxing and soothing to muscles and joints. Using the water’s natural properties of buoyancy and resistance helps many people improve their flexibility and muscle tone. Mercy Hospital's therapeutic pool offers an important advantage for people with respiratory problems or sensitive skin, as it’s disinfected with bromide rather than chlorine.