Post 4: NeuroCom, how I adore thee…or at least your staff.
I am doing my second Level II occupational therapy fieldwork rotation in Vestibular…in a well-known San Diego hospital system. I am pretty excited as this is primarily a physical therapy field with few OTs. NeuroCom had a booth at AOTA Conference and they had one of their smaller systems set up so that people could see how it tested basic balance and such. I tried it and my vestibular system – not surprisingly since I’m dizzy all the time and easily car sick – is bad. I chatted a little bit with Marcia Thompson, DPT, as well as one of her co-workers, Nick K. Both were really kind and helpful and no-nonsense. Marcia reminded me of Julie Dixon (owner) of the Southern Hand Center here in Memphis – smart as a whip, funny as hell, and no tolerance for ignorance!
I ran into Marcia and Nick on Day 2 of Expo and loitered a while because I was hungry for more vestibular exposure, and liked them even more. On Day 3 of Expo, my family came, so I didn’t wander over to convention until around 2:30pm. I walked into the Expo and there were fork lifts and chaos. I hadn’t realized Expo ended so early and everything was getting packed up. I didn’t really have anything to do or anywhere to be so I was just wandering around in there, when Marcia spotted me. They were hanging out in the booth just waiting for the fork lift to bring their pallets so they could box up and had already been waiting a long time. I sat down with them and we chatted a bunch more about vestibular rehab as well as how things work behind the scenes, such as at an Expo. Marcia explained that the booths are very expensive and that you get charged for everything- carpets, trash cans, liners, vacuuming services, you name it. She estimated it cost MANY MANY thousands of dollars when all is said and done, to have had their booth at AOTA conference. Yet it’s worth it if they get even a few good leads on new costumers of the NeuroCom system, which is very indepth and big. More information at www.onbalance.com
These systems are primarily used by physical therapists and neurologists, and most of the interest at conference came from OT students – not a lot from practitioners. Vestibular rehab seems to not have really caught on with OTs yet, although it SHOULD. Marcia encouraged getting into the field and blazing the OT path. She recommended two books – Vestibular Rehabilitation by Susan Herdman, 2007 2nd edition, and the Neurophysiology of Eye Movements By Zee…closest I could find on Amazon was Neurology of Eye Movements by JR Leigh and Zee though.
Those books are freakin’ expensive though, so I guess I’ll wait a while before investing in them! I have to admit eye movements don’t appeal to me much, so I may be miserable in Vestibular Rehab, we’ll see. It seems like there is quite a bit of overlap with Low Vision in terms of knowledge base.
Hanging out and watching the Expo break down was awesome. All these guys in fork lifts were bringing giant boxes out for exhibitors to put their stuff back in, convention center employees were breaking down the generic booths, exhibitors were trying to bribe fork lift men to get their stuff quick, or stressing over finding their boxes, you name it. I hadn’t thought about what a big pain it must be to get all that stuff there…and then back.
I really really enjoyed meeting Marcia and Nick of NeuroCom…knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and they eased my mind about my Vestibular Rehab rotation. 🙂
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