Feature Stories

Kristina Rolfes • November 02, 2012
Ostracized by her own people because of her son's developmental disabilities, a mother's journey to save her son leads her from Africa to Kennedy Krieger and its affiliate PACT.
Fabian Ndungu Githinji and family

In rural Africa, where 3-year-old Fabian Ndungu Githinji was born, his mother Maureen could feel the eyes of her neighbors on her when she held Fabian, and hear their whispers behind her back. It was obvious that Fabian was different, with his abnormally large head and delayed development. In her culture, many still believed that children with developmental disabilities were a bad omen or a curse.

Lauren Glenn Manfuso • November 02, 2012
The unlikely role of video games in neurorehabilitation.
Marci with physical therapist

Tell a kid to do three repetitions of 15 pushups or 25 leg lifts or any of the other myriad exercises that physical therapists assign during a regular session, and the automatic response might be a roll of the eyes and a groan before relenting—only to tucker out and lose focus or motivation before it’s over. But hand this same kid a Nintendo Wii video game controller and tell him to play a game of basketball or a few innings of baseball, or—in the case of 6-year-old patient Maci Janiski—a round of Just Dance, and suddenly 200 repetitions are no problem.

Kristina Rolfes • November 02, 2012
After surviving a horrific car crash, Matthew Slattery defied expectations in his recovery from traumatic brain injury.
Image Matt and Teressa in occupational therapy

In an instant, the Slattery family was shattered.

Susan Slattery and her two sons, Matthew and Peter, were on their way home from visiting family in Ohio on a sunny August day in 2010 when tragedy struck. A truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, barreling into Susan Slattery’s car and pushing it under a tractor trailer, killing her and critically injuring 12-year-old Matthew and 16-year-old Peter.

Kristina Rolfes • June 19, 2012
Now Celebrating 25 Years, Kennedy Krieger's Therapeutic Foster Care Program Trains Foster Parents to Care for Children with Special Needs.
Carl Price

Ask Carl Price about his childhood, and you can't help but feel moved by the struggles he faced as a young boy 25 years ago.

Lauren Manfuso • June 19, 2012
The Concussion Clinic helps young athletes figure out a game plan for recovery after a sports-related concussion.
Aidan Fielding

In October 2008, Ryne Dougherty, a 16-year-old New Jersey teenager and junior linebacker for his high school football team, was in the middle of a game when he suffered a blow to his head -- just three and a half weeks after another on-field tackle left him with a concussion. This time, he was removed from the game and sent to the hospital, where they found bleeding in his brain. He died two days later.

Afterwards, an investigation revealed that shortly after the first concussion -- and not long before he was allowed to return to the field -- Dougherty had failed a test meant to gauge whether he was fit to play. 

Lauren Manfuso • June 19, 2012
For patients and families, genetic counselors help navigate the uncharted path through treatment of rare genetic disorders.
Megan Miceli

From the beginning, Megan Miceli’s parents knew something wasn't right.

Megan wasn't Amie Miceli's first child. She knew there were certain milestones every newborn should reach and that every parent looks forward to. But Megan was floppy -- literally floppy, Amie says.

Lauren Manfuso • July 08, 2011
When an uncanny twist of circumstances left Morgan Dunnigan paralyzed, doctors predicted her condition was permanent. With Kennedy Krieger’s help she proved them wrong.
Morgan Dunnigan

Laying in a hospital bed on a Sunday night, Morgan Dunnigan believed her parents and physician when they said she would wake up the next morning for a surgery that promised to make the pain in her neck disappear, make the tumor hurting her spine go away, make everything better.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Lauren Manfuso • July 08, 2011
High school’s work-based learning program provided more than just an education—it offered a future he never imagined possible.
Kevin Sargeant

Given a choice, Kevin Sargeant says he could do without all of the independence and opportunities that adulthood promises. But adulthood, it seems, is coming for him nonetheless.

Six years ago, the prospect would have had him quivering in confusion, fear, and anxiety—if he chose to acknowledge it at all. Back then, Kevin says, he was shelled up, locked in, lower-functioning, or any other of the myriad terms often used to describe children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders

Lauren Manfuso • July 08, 2011
Constraint-induced and Bimanual Therapy Program incorporates golf to help one patient on his path to rehabilitation.
Taylor Wilkerson works with golf pro Kelly Tomlinson to improve his swing

From the beginning, and without hesitation, Katherine Wilkerson always offered her unwavering support of anything her son Taylor wanted to do. The thing is, though, until the age of 9, there was never much of anything the boy was too interested in trying.

Meredith Purvis • April 01, 2010
Dorothy Hamill's adaptive skating program gives children with physical disabilities a chance to soar.
Dorothy Hamill

The lobby of the ice rink hums with excitement as children laugh and talk while their parents bundle them up and help them get their skates on. In one corner, a little boy grins from ear to ear as his dad helps him to his feet and his mom snaps photo after photo. Across the room, another mom keeps a careful eye on her son as he practices walking in his skates, one hand on the wall for stability. These moments are familiar to anyone who's taken a child ice skating, but for these families they are especially poignant. Many of the parents never imagined their children would get the chance to skate, because simply walking was challenging enough.

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