Polio Network Announces Annual Conference

BRIDGEWATER — The Polio Network of New Jersey is holding its 23rd annual conference on Saturday, April 20, with the them of “Pathways to Wellness for Polio Survivors.” Reservations are being accepted for the one day meeting, from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel, in Bridgewater. The $28 free includes a continental breakfast at 10 a.m. and a luncheon.

Polio survivors and family members from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and beyond are expected to attend, but all interested persons are welcome. To register, call Jean Csaposs at 1-201-845-6860, or e-mail conference 2013@pnnj.org. Credit card registration online is available by visiting the Network website: www.pnnj.org.

Frederick M. Maynard, M.D., of Marquette, Michigan, will be keynote speaker on “Strategies for Maintaining Health and Wellness among Polio Survivors.” One of the nation’s foremost authorities on post-polio issues, Dr. Maynard is a strong advocate of holistic approaches to the treatment of the disorder. Ask Dr. Maynard is a regular feature in the newsletter of Post-Polio Health International (PHI).

Two afternoon workshop sessions will be offered, each scheduled twice, at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Jennifer Coutinho, senior speech and language pathologist at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, and a specialist in dysphagia and rehab for neurological disorders, will conduct a workshop on “Swallowing Problems and What You Can Do About Them.” A therapist at Somerset’s Sleep, Voice, and Swallowing Center, Coutinho has treated PNNJ members and others who are experiencing dysphagia, an increasing problem for many polio survivors as they age.

Linda Wheeler Donahue, president of Polio Outreach of Connecticut, a world traveler and popular speaker on accessible travel for people with disabilities, will lead a workshop entitled “Don’t Be Afraid to Travel!” Her co-panelists will be two other knowledgeable and experienced travelers, PNNJ vice president Joan Swain of Basking Ridge and PNNJ Board member Lottie Esteban of Montvale. All three panelists use mobility devices and have a wealth of practical advice for attendees on how to navigate, whether on land, sea, or in the air, and whether in the U.S. or abroad.

Vendors of goods and services of interest to attendees will participate in the conference. Following adjournment, visitors are welcome to attend the quarterly meeting of the PNNJ Board of Directors.

The Polio Network of New Jersey was founded in 1990 to seek out and inform polio survivors of the threat of the late effects of the disease, known as post-polio syndrome, or PPS. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that as many as 30,000 survivors of the polio epidemics of the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s may be residing in New Jersey, many of whom have no idea what may be causing new medical problems. Up to two-thirds of these men and women may be experiencing mild to severe symptoms, ranging from fatigue and new muscle weakness to chronic pain and loss of mobility.

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