Stories of Potential

Journey to Safety

August 1, 2014
A mother’s emotional journey to find help for her son with autism leads her to Kennedy Krieger Schools.

JacobThe year my son was in the third grade, I didn’t eat. I never left my phone, even to take a shower. Jake, who has autism, was scared to go to school and totally unhinged once he got there—running in circles, biting his hand, melting down. Desks would fly if one thing went wrong.

The Comeback Kid

by Abigail
November 13, 2013
The Neurobehavioral Unit at Kennedy Krieger helps turn around a young boy with self-injurious and aggressive behavior.

Luke McNair happyChrissy McNair describes her son Luke, 13, as “one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.” He usually wakes up in a good mood and likes cracking jokes with his two brothers. He loves Top-40 music and animals, and has been riding horses since he was 3 years old. “The best word for him is passionate,” says his mother.

Beating the Pain

by Kristina
November 12, 2013
After multiple doctors could not help relieve her suffering from pain so severe she could no longer walk, Katie Bickford sought help at Kennedy Krieger’s Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program and today, she has her life back.

Katie Bickford truckKatie Bickford remembers the pain starting in the 7th grade—it began in her spine and radiated out all over her body. The pain got so bad she couldn’t walk. To make matters worse, she fractured her heel, and then her arm, so it hurt to use crutches.


by Kristina
November 12, 2013
After cancer and chemotherapy left her so fragile doctors said she might never walk again, Perry found her strength with the help of Kennedy Krieger’s Specialized Transition Program.

Perry ZimmermanAt the tender age of 13, Perry Zimmerman has already battled a lifetime’s worth of illnesses. Born with retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer, Perry developed a related brain tumor at age two that doctors did not expect her to survive.


November 12, 2013
Special education teacher Katie Cascio is inspired by a student who comes into his own at Kennedy Krieger High School.

DeVant Capers with his teacher, Katie CascioI was lucky enough to meet DeVante—a shy, reserved student with autism spectrum disorder—during my first year as an assistant teacher at

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  • Transition Success Story: Liza Patchel

    August 2, 2013
    A lifetime of care at Kennedy Krieger, along with her mother’s no-pity approach to parenting, helped Liza on her path to earning a master’s degree and living independently.

    Liza PatchelWhen Liza Patchel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, doctors said she would never speak or walk. When she enrolled in public school, administrators said she would never play for their sports teams. Other “experts” told her she would never go to college. Now 31, Liza has spent most of her life proving them wrong.

    Transition Success Story: James Williams III

    by Kristina
    August 2, 2013
    James is redefining his potential thanks to more than 15 years of services at Kennedy Krieger, and parents who actively sought out vocational, employment, and social opportunities in the community.

    James Williams IIIDoctors once told James Williams’s parents their son should be institutionalized due to his severe intellectual disability and autism. Now 22, James is employed and has an active social life.

    Transition Success Story: Damian Jackson

    by Kristina
    August 2, 2013
    With support and guidance from Kennedy Krieger School Programs, Damian now has his foot in the door as a rehabilitation technician and medical illustrator at a local hospital.

    Damian JacksonAfter graduation from Kennedy Krieger High School, Damian Jackson went on to complete three 10-week internships at Union Memorial Hospital. In April, Damian, 21, was offered a job at the hospital as a rehabilitation technician for inpatient physical therapy.

    Transition Success Story: Melissa Silverman

    August 2, 2013
    Thanks in part to Kennedy Krieger’s Down syndrome mentoring program and parents who were constant advocates, Melissa went on to become a teacher’s assistant and an active disability advocate.

    Melissa SilvermanWhen Melissa Silverman was younger, her parents worried she wouldn’t have enough social interaction as she grew older, and they wondered what her future would hold. Now 30, Melissa, who has Down syndrome, is actively involved in advocacy and social groups, and has been employed as a teacher’s assistant at a local preschool for nine years.

    Transition Success Story: Benjamin Range

    by Allison
    August 2, 2013
    Early guidance from the Center for Development and Learning helped Benjamin Range on the path to a master’s degree, despite autism.

    Ben Range at his graduation from Duquesne UniversityBenjamin Range, 25, always knew he was good at history and science. He just didn’t know why until he met with the specialists at Kennedy Krieger’s Center for Development and Learning.

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