Camp All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck is a summer camp for children with hemiparesis, or weakness on one side of the body. This specialized camp provides a host of activities that incorporate bimanual therapy to help children develop both fine and gross motor skills. 


Summer Camp for Hemiparesis: Camp All Hands on Deck

Narrator: The center for rehabilitation at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is world renowned for improving the quality of life for children with various functional impairments. One of the conditions we treat is hemiparesis, or weakness on one side of the body, often associated with cerebral palsy or pediatric stroke.

Children with impaired function on one hand typically experience problems with day-to-day activities that can range from using the bathroom, and eating to difficulty participating in sports, music, or even playing video games. These physical impairments can impact social and emotional health and cause significant stress on the family.

One approach used at CHOP to treat hemiparesis is bimanual therapy, a natural approach to rehabilitation that encourages the use of two hands together during meaningful play and daily activities.

Camp Participant: I learned how to zipper my jacket and zipper like my American Girl doll's jacket. And I'm really proud of myself for that.

Narrator: Our summer program, Camp All Hands on Deck, is focused on bimanual therapy combined with the unique experience, knowledge and resources of CHOP’s Division of Rehabilitation and Occupational and Physical Therapy departments. This group of experienced therapist and dedicated volunteers provides an engaging one-on-one experience for each patient every day at camp.

Camper spend their time participating in fun, age-appropriate activities that help develop fine and gross motor skills. These include board games, constructing models, swimming, and dancing. Important everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, dressing, and making beds are strategically incorporated.

Mother of camp participant: When she woke up this morning, as an example, normally I'll assist in the shower. She had it. I just saw that she had it and I backed off. I was there if she needed me, behind the shower curtain in the other room. She washed her hair. She conditioned her hair. She washed her body. She got out. She brushed her hair. She got dressed. She put her toothbrush in her right hand, and normally, she'll, you know, somewhat assist with her right hand, but she physically had that in the grip of her right hand, which I have not witnessed till this morning, and put the toothpaste, and she was quite proud to independently do all the steps to getting ready.

Narrator: By combining the practice of strategic movements with real life activities and special experiences, the children are able to participate in six-hour intense therapy sessions every day for two weeks while still feeling like campers and having fun. This intensity and consistency leads to meaningful changes and progress.

Camp participant: I feel like it's just more of like a camp than really anything.

Narrator: To further develop treatments and patient programs, we need help from thoughtful supporters like you. CHOP is a charitable non-profit hospital, and philanthropic gifts are vital to making tomorrow's breakthroughs possible for children today.

Topics Covered: Pediatric Stroke, Hemorrhagic Stroke, Arterial Ischemic Stroke (AIS), Moyamoya Disease, Cerebral Sinovenous Thrombosis (CSVT), Cerebral Palsy

Related Centers and Programs: Center for Rehabilitation, Pediatric Stroke Program, Cerebral Palsy Program