Letter From Our President
With the holiday season fast approaching, I hope you and all of your loved ones are preparing for festive gatherings, full of family togetherness and hope for the New Year. Of course, in many of our families, food plays a central role in our enjoyment of these holiday traditions few celebrations are complete without experiencing the slight discomfort of consuming one dessert too many. For many children and their families, food is a far more complex issue. Roughly 50 percent of children experience some difficulty with eating, and between three and 10 percent develop serious feeding disorders, conditions that can lead to failure to thrive, developmental delays, behavioral problems, and strained parent-child relationships. The consequences associated with feeding disorders be they physical, emotional, or both can be significant and damaging to a family's quality of life.
Kennedy Krieger's Pediatric Feeding Disorders Unit, an intensive, multidisciplinary in-patient treatment program, has achieved remarkable success in helping children with feeding disorders consume more nutrients by mouth and improve the variety of foods they're able to eat. Learn more about the program and the strategies it follows in this issue of potential.
Parents worried about making the right decisions in their holiday shopping for their children should check out our article on how exposure to violence in media can affect children, as well as guidelines for choosing appropriate toys, games, and television programming.
This issue also features an overview of Kennedy Krieger's extensive autism research projects, including the development of a new database that will facilitate future research.
Finally, don't miss recent Kennedy Krieger High School graduate Abby Reznek's story about her dream internship with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and her plans to find a full-time position there.
Without your support, we at the Kennedy Krieger Institute could not continue the valuable programs described in these stories. We are immensely grateful, and wish you, your families, and friends the most joyous of holiday seasons.
Gary W. Goldstein, MD