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A Rehabilitation Professional's Perspective

The rehabilitation patients who come through the doors of Kennedy Krieger move us and give meaning and inspiration to our work. Read their inspiring stories, told from the perspective of the employees of Kennedy Krieger who feel priveleged to play a small (and often large) part in their lives.

No Limits

Story by Dr. Suzanne Prestwich, Medical Director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit

Mohammed and Ahmed Al-Ali are brothers from Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Both of their lives have been greatly affected by a diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a condition that brought them half-way around the world in search of help. Read more

Reality of Hope

Story by Jennifer Silvestri, Occupational Therapist, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

Every day I work with individuals whose lives have been drastically changed by paralysis. My job is twofold: first, to provide innovative therapies to help promote recovery and, second, to inspire and motivate my patients to push through the difficult times. Read more

In His Element

Story by Gerard Herman, director of the Bennett Institute for Physically Challenged Sports at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

It is practically impossible to watch any child with a disability participate in physically challenged sports without being inspired. The sheer fact that they choose to play at all means they have a leg up on determination and perseverance, probably more than any of the world’s able-bodied athletes. Read more

No Ordinary 4-Year-Old

Story by Lauren Edwards PT, DPT, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

On Oct. 26, 2010, a serious car accident left the Jermano’s healthy, active 4-year-old daughter with a cervical-level spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia and forever changing their lives. Since that day, Mia’s parents searched tirelessly for ways to help Mia regain the strength and mobility that she lost. Read more

Pretty in Pink

Story by Dr. Suzanne Prestwich, Medical Director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit

It started with Mikaela Deenen innocently swinging in the backyard. But, unbeknownst to her or her family, torrential rains here in Maryland had caused the swing set to come loose from the ground. When it toppled over, the swing set landed on top of Mikaela, crushing her spine. Read more

Try, Try Again

Story by Teressa G. Reidy, MS, OTR/L

Matthew first came to Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient unit in a coma after a terrible car crash left him with a severe traumatic brain injury. Later, when I first began working with him in the Specialized Transition Program (STP), he could move only his left index finger. Add to that the emotional blow he and his family had experienced—his mother died in the accident—and we knew he had a tough road ahead. Read more

Job Opening – Fairy Godmother

Story by Dr. Suzanne Prestwich, Medical Director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit

Matthew himself knew something was wrong as his body showed the early signs of transverse myelitis. His arms and legs felt weird. He rapidly became unable to breathe as his paralyzed body suddenly could not provide him with enough oxygen. He asked for someone to call 911. Read more

The Turtle Walks

Story by Brooke Bamford, Physical Therapist, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

A motor vehicle accident in December of 2009 caused spinal fractures in the thoracic and lumbar portions of Peter’s spinal column, resulting in damage to his spinal cord. This injury left him paralyzed from the waist down. In additional to the spinal cord injury, he also had other life-threatening and painful injuries such as internal bleeding, rib fractures, collapsed lungs, and both arms broken. Read more

Getting Back in the Game

Story by Dr. Jennifer Reesman, Supervising Neuropsychologist for the Deafness Related Evaluations and More (DREAM) Clinic, and the multi-disciplinary Concussion Clinic.

I first got to know Chris–a charming, hard-hitting soccer goalie who also loves the guitar–after he was sidelined by a concussion. He was hit in the head when, while blocking the goal, he dove to the ground, and the ball struck him in the face–hard–as he made the save. Read more

Defining Determination

Story by Dr. Suzanne Prestwich, Medical Director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit

Alex came to Kennedy Krieger Institute for intensive inpatient rehabilitation after he had an operation elsewhere to fix a chest wall abnormality called Pectus Excavatum. If severe and untreated, the condition can affect the ability to breathe. Unfortunately, a complication occurred during the procedure and Alex woke from surgery unable to walk. Read more

Simple Steps

Story by Dr. Cristina Sadowsky, Clinical Director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

Matt Courson is a constant reminder that we should strike the word “impossible” from our vocabulary. Born and raised in Arkansas, he was excelling as a star pitcher for the University of Arkansas baseball team when a ride on a four-wheeler forever changed the trajectory of his life. Read more

Can I Play With That Nerf Gun?

Story by Brooke Bamford, Physical Therapist, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

Noah was a back seat passenger in a car accident that paralyzed him from the chest down. The paralysis left him with weak respiratory muscles, little core strength, and unable to move his legs. It affected every aspect of his life – from self-care activities like bathing and using the bathroom, to mobility around his home and community. Read more

Houston, We Have A Problem

Story by Dr. Suzanne Prestwich, Medical Director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit

For most of 2009, Daniel was a typical 13-year-old boy who enjoyed hanging out with his twin brother and loved playing with LEGOs. But that Fall, he caught H1N1 Influenza and never fully recovered. There was no explanation for why the influenza virus had hit Daniel so hard. Read more


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