Bielinski, OT, is a certified orthotist who is on the staff of the
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He contributed to the following
A certified orthotist assesses patients for a
functional deficit, and then designs and fits an external supportive
device to help the patient overcome the deficit, increasing his
or her ability to function.
A certified orthotist will work in a hospital,
clinic or private practice with people of all ages and various functional
disabilities, from patients with head injuries or cerebral palsy
to those with multiple sclerosis or post-polio. Some patients are
born with congenital difficulties or are recovering from an automobile
accident. Still others are athletes who need custom shoe inserts
to support their feet.
An example of treatment may be patients who have
suffered a stroke and require an ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) or a
knee-ankle-foot orthotic (KAFO), a type of leg brace that stabilizes
a limb or limbs to facilitate walking and prevent injury. A person
with spinal weakness could require either a thoracic lumbar sacral
orthotic (TLSO), better known as a body jacket; or they might need
a corset. Someone who is quadriplegic, or who has suffered a head
injury, might require extra upper limb stability such as a wrist
hand orthotic (WHO).
Recently, a 23-month-old boy with left-side hemiplegia
caused from an aneurysm was prescribed an AFO and Mr. Bielinski
fitted him for it at the Rehabilitation Institute.
To become an orthotist, one has to complete a
post-graduate certified program at a college that has a program
specializing in Prosthetics and Orthotics. After that, they must
perform a year in residency.
The National Commission on Prosthetics and Orthotics
Education (NCOPE) is the governing body that certifies these programs.
Colleges with programs in Prosthetics and Orthotics include California
State University in Carson, Calif.; Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center
in Downey, Calif.; Newington Certificate Program in Newington, Conn.;
Northwestern University Prosthetic-Orthotic Center in Chicago; Century
College in White Bear Lake, Minn.; Rutgers University in Piscataway,
N.J.; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas;
and University of Washington in Seattle.
Each candidate must pass a board exam administered
by the American Board of Certification, in Orthotics & Prosthetics,
Inc. The professional is then considered ABC certified. Mr. Bielinski
went to Northwestern University and he's an ABC certified orthotist.