Therapeutic Services

Of The Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children


Massachusetts Hospital School contracts with ARAMARK Healthcare Management Services to provide complete food services and nutritional care to all patients.

This includes nutrition screening, initial assessments, regularly scheduled follow-up care, and consultation as needed by Registered Dietitians.

Additionally, the department plans, prepares, and serves appetizing and safe food for patients, visitors, staff, and residents of campus programs in accordance with Aramark Standards of Practice and current research endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapy Department provides quality services for children and adolescents with physical, developmental, cognitive, and psychosocial disabilities. Treatment starts with a comprehensive evaluation that integrates information from the patient, family and in-house treatment team.

An initial evaluation includes:  Upper extremity function, Activities of Daily Living, Independent Living Skills, Visual Perceptual Skills, Adaptive Equipment Needs,   Sensory Integrative Function, Access to technology and the academic curriculum. Once patient/family priorities are identified, goals are tailored to help the individual achieve their maximum potential in daily and independent living skills.

Patient/family education is ongoing because planning for successful discharge is part of the admission process. Individual and group treatments are designed to help clients optimize their potential as young adults.

Physical Therapy

The Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children Physical Therapy Department evaluates and treats PRHC inpatients as well as outpatients.  All patients are referred by physicians.  The function of the Physical Therapy Department is to assess physical disability, movement dysfunction and pain from injury or other conditions.  Following a comprehensive evaluation of the patient, therapeutic intervention is provided as indicated through a variety of models: direct care, consultation, education, or a combination of these. All patient care plans are closely monitored and reviewed.

Patient intervention provided by Physical Therapy staff is directed toward the correction and alleviation of the limitations of physical disability to maximize the patient’s potential for independent function. Physical Therapy staff collaborates with Occupational Therapy, Rehab Engineering, Speech Therapy and Recreation Therapy staff to maximize functional goals across all settings. Instruction of patients, families and other MHS staff members is also a large component of care provided by the physical therapists.

Physical therapy and physical therapy assistant students affiliate periodically with PRHC Physical Therapy Department. Volunteers also provide support services periodically as arranged through the volunteer office.

Speech Therapy

Members of the Speech and Language Department provide assessment and treatment for children and young adults in the areas of : Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Dysphagia, Cognitive and Linguistic Development, Speech Intelligibility/Articulation, Social Skills/Pragmatics, Voice and Fluency/Stuttering.  Regularly scheduled Hearing Screenings are also provided.  The goal of speech and language intervention is to maximize the patients’ functional communication abilities across all settings. The goal of patients receiving dysphagia services is to tolerate the safest and least restrictive diet possible.

Family and caregiver education is ongoing to support and generalize newly acquired skills as well as to encourage and maintain current skills.  Co-treatments with Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavioral Health Services, Recreation and Nutrition are also provided to effectively address patients’ communication skill development across contexts. The speech language pathologist may also be involved in home evaluations, independent living skills groups, and community mobility training programs to facilitate carry-over of skills and to prepare individuals for transitioning from MHS into other communities and settings.

Therapy sessions may occur on an individual or group basis, depending on the needs of the patient. The therapists of the speech and language department regularly participate in interdisciplinary team meetings, in-services and consultative sessions with family members, service providers and educational staff. Progress toward desired goals determines the course of treatment.


The Recreation Department at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children uses treatment, education and recreation services to help patients use their leisure in ways that enhance health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life. Each child will participate in a variety of therapeutic activities in accordance with their capability, needs and interest.

Programs include but not limited to aquatic therapy, adapted sports, creative arts, movement and sensory exploration, horseback riding, animal care, outdoor education and a unique summer recreation program.

The goal of each program is for the child to learn valuable skills to promote self-esteem, increase and maintain physical ability, develop friendships, and provide the opportunity to explore the world around them.

R.A.S.P. – Recreational after school swim

Saturday swim program

Rehab Engineering

Mission of Rehab Engineering Department (RED) is to help our patients be as independent, healthy,   functional and safe as possible by providing them with high quality, individualized adaptive equipment. RED is an interdisciplinary program which includes clinicians (Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist) and highly skilled equipment designers/fabricators who collaborate to provide the best fit, most durable and useful equipment available.

RED works closely with a patient’s primary care team (doctor, nurses, therapists, recreation, teachers) to provide equipment that is highly individualized to that person’s rehabilitation goals, treatment plan and educational experience.  The RED staff will assist in the ordering of commercial equipment through durable medical equipment vendors when this equipment will meet the a patient’s needs.

When the commercial equipment option is not ideal, the RED technical staff can modify or custom fabricate unique highly individualize equipment The RED staff are to best complement a patient’s skills or limitations.