Program Spotlights

by Laura Thornton • November 28, 2017
Kennedy Krieger's interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program helps kids and teens get their lives back without narcotics.
Dr. Suzanne Rybczynski, medical director of Kennedy Krieger’s Rehabilitation Unit.

Life isn’t easy for kids with chronic, debilitating pain. Without treatment, they’re often forced to sit life out on the sidelines, watching other kids have all the fun. Some kids experience such unbearable pain that they’re unable to walk without assistance or even go to school.

But Kennedy Krieger Institute offers these kids and their families hope. At the Institute’s Pain Rehabilitation Program, clinicians from a variety of fields come together to help kids overcome their pain and get as much normalcy back into their lives as possible.

“Our goal is to help our patients learn to conquer their pain, and not be controlled by it—to help them live their lives again,” says Dr. Suzanne Rybczynski, medical director of the Institute’s inpatient services.

A Kennedy Krieger clinic helps deaf and hard-of-hearing children get the treatments and services they need to communicate and let their personalities shine.

Mustafa’s parents had always known their son was smart. But because of his limited access to language early in his life, they had a hard time getting others to believe it.

At age 3, Mustafa’s doctor in Yemen, where he was born, determined that Mustafa was deaf. Doctors fitted him with hearing aids, but the window for language acquisition—during which he might pick up Arabic, his family’s native language—was quickly closing.

A few years later, his family moved to the Washington, D.C., area. Their new public school system evaluated Mustafa, determined that he was both deaf and intellectually disabled, and placed him in a program with students with similar diagnoses.

by Kristina Rolfes • December 05, 2016
Modified ride-on cars offer mobility (and fun!) for young patients.

Children with motor impairments who are patients at Kennedy Krieger Institute now have a new way to become mobile. Through a national program known as ‘Go Baby Go,’ Kennedy Krieger offers ride-on cars, such as ones you would find at toy stores, adapted specifically for each child to use as part of physical or occupational therapy. The Go Baby Go program originated from the University of Delaware physical therapy department.

The first time 3-year-old Sophia Ridgley tried one of the cars at Kennedy Krieger, her face lit up with a smile. She has spastic quadriplegia, a type of cerebral palsy, so she is unable to walk or crawl, and she is not yet ready for a power wheelchair. But behind the wheel of a modified toy car, she suddenly had the ability to explore her environment at the press of a button. The result was pure joy.

Staff Editor • June 28, 2016
Children with complex disorders and injuries need multi-faceted care
Kristina Rolfes • December 08, 2015
Extending educational and healthcare resources to Maryland's eastern shore facilities.
Maryland bridge

Nearly 450,000 Marylanders live on the Eastern Shore, with its quiet towns close to the water, pastoral farmland, and relaxed style of living. 

Kristina Rolfes • September 08, 2015
Professional training program aims to reduce health disparities

At a time when the U.S. is growing more diverse, the number of clinicians and researchers from underrepresented populations—including racial and ethnic minority populations and people with disabilities—is not keeping pace. Kennedy Krieger’s Harolyn Belcher, M.D., M.H.S., is determined to change that through public health leadership education programs she has led since 2005.

Kristina Rolfes • December 02, 2014
Bennett helps athletes with disabilities get off the sidelines and into the game
Bennett Institute Physically Challenged Sports Program

Did you know that Kennedy Krieger has a wheelchair tennis team, a basketball team, and an ice hockey team? Some 20 sports make up the Bennett Institute Physically Challenged Sports Program at Kennedy Krieger, and directors Gerry and Gwena Herman expect the program to grow even more with the recent addition of a new adaptive sports park at the Greenspring campus.

Kristina Rolfes • August 01, 2014
New center offers comprehensive treatment, research, and hope for patients with debilitating neurological disorders.
Dr. Hugo Moser

Patients with a group of rare degenerative brain diseases known as leukodystrophies have few places to turn for expertise in their medical care. Neurologist Dr. Ali Fatemi and his colleagues hope to change that with the new Moser Center for Leukodystrophies, launched this past December.

Kennedy Krieger's Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program helps children overcome feeding problems.
Baby eating

Catering to a child who is a picky eater is like being a short-order cook: chaotic. Dinnertime becomes a war zone, leading to hopeless battles fought over vegetables and macaroni and cheese.

Kristina Rolfes • August 02, 2013
Animal Assisted Therapy program uses specially trained dogs to enhance therapy.
Occupational therapist Lisa Rones works with Destiny Fallas to improve movement in her arm with the help of therapy dog Mattilda.

When Stephanie Cooper Greenberg visits the children on Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient unit with her Dalmatian therapy dog, Mattilda, she gets to experience something magical. She has seen first-hand the natural bond that exists between children and dogs, and it can serve as a powerful motivator for therapy.