Tyjanae Johnson
Lowndes County
Feature Story
Tyjanae suffered a traumatic brain injury after a severe ATV accident in May 2018. The then-15-year-old underwent surgeries at both Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and now goes to physical and occupational therapy twice a week at Children’s. Through the hospital’s Robotic and Mobility Program (RAMP), Tyjanae has access to the latest computer-driven technology used to treat children and adolescents with physical impairments.

Tyjanae’s mother, LaTisha, at first sought rehabilitation therapy closer to their Lowndes County home, but after thoughtful discussions with Tyjanae’s care team, LaTisha concluded Children’s was “the best.”

“Thank God for it,” LaTisha said of Children’s. “Even though it’s a drive for us, it’s been worth it.”

RAMP at Children’s is home to the Bioness Integrated Therapy System (BITS), intended to challenge and assess the physical, visual, auditory and cognitive abilities of patients, including those with deficits resulting from traumatic injuries and movement disorders. At a recent appointment, Tyjanae performed several activities using BITS’ interactive touchscreen. Diverse program options challenge patients through the use of visual motor activities, visual and auditory processing, cognitive skills and endurance training.

Tyjanae stayed focused while completing the BITS Geoboards program, challenging her visual spatial processing skills, memory and motor coordination. Another program, BITS Single Target, assesses Tyjanae’s visuomotor coordination, peripheral awareness, hand speed and reaction time. While sitting on a stability ball, Tyjanae scans the screen and touches a target as it appears on the screen as fast as possible.

Tyjanae’s therapy plan includes other RAMP technology such as the Bioness Vector System, which provides bodyweight support for patients as they practice kneeling, crawling, standing, walking or stair climbing, and the Ekso Robotic Exoskeleton, a wearable robot that uses motors and sensors to help patients stand and walk. Tyjanae’s gains through therapy are not only tracked by her therapists, but also the technology itself.

Latisha said she is grateful for the generous community support that made RAMP a viable option of care for her daughter and other children who can benefit from the innovative treatment.
“She’s coming along very well,” Latisha said, looking on at Tyjanae. “Every day is an improvement. Every day she is she is stronger.”