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Rural occupational therapy provides convenience, results

The occupational therapy offered at Mission Health's Angel Rehab in Franklin is saving one family lots of drive time, as well as generating results. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Patients in rural areas who require frequent specialized therapies must often make long trips to large cities.

The occupational therapy offered at Mission Health's Angel Rehab in Franklin is saving one family lots of drive time, as well as generating results.

Alexander Zari, 2, has shunned solid foods because of texture and sensory issues.

"He was not eating normally," Amanda Zari, Alexander's mother, said. "He could not go in places with bright lights. Things like bathing were so hard -- things that aren't hard for normal kids."

"We always try to approach things through play, because we want to meet him at his level and make things fun and engaging for him," Chelsea Lynch, an occupational therapist, explained.

Exposing the youngster to different surfaces and the idea of eating new foods has worked.

"Chelsea has been so valuable in helping me help Alexander find things to please his palate and getting his digestive system working the way it should," Zari said.

"So, we're going to be pushing him harder to try those things and explore more food options," Lynch added.

Therapists say solving Alexander's eating problem will allow them to work on his other sensory and motor skills issues.

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