Here at the Kennedy Krieger Institute we mourn the loss of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy and founder of the Special Olympics. She was an advocate for people with special needs, and her relentless work on their behalf changed the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world.
In 1989, when Gerry and Gwena Herman got the call to move from Boston to Baltimore to start a physically challenged sports program, there was no question that they would do it. Gerry, who had self-styled his college major to do sports and physical education with special populations, found in the offer a chance to pursue his dream.
A new baby means new responsibilities: doctors' appointments, menu planning, finding a good child care program. Although for almost any new parent this can be a daunting prospect, for new parents with intellectual disabilities, special support and guidance is critical to providing safe, supportive, and nurturing family environments for their children.
If the line of text above is confusing, imagine living in a world where every word, every conversation is a mystery.
Having a child with special needs often makes parents feel as though they are spending their lives driving from one specialist to another, trapped in waiting rooms, and filling out forms. It was no different for John and Amy Thompson. Their son Jake was diagnosed with Rasmussen's syndrome, a brain disorder that causes seizures. Because of the disorder, he underwent a hemispherectomy, a surgery to remove half his brain. After the surgery, Jake needed many different therapies, and the visits to specialists seemed unending.
Bryan's teachers were at a loss for how to help him when he hid under his desk or back in the cubby area and cried. They knew he had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects writing abilities...
Life has dealt 14-year-old Jeffrey a particularly challenging hand. Jeffrey, who lives with his parents and sibling in a low-income neighborhood in South Baltimore, has bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders.
For years, child care providers throughout the State of Maryland have been asking for help. They want to learn how to better care for children with special needs in their programs. Many are unfamiliar with certain pediatric disabilities and are often afraid they will be unable to meet their needs. Still more worry about safety and whether they will be able to integrate children with special needs into their child care programs.
Less than 24 hours after he was born, Philip Keelty had his first major surgery an operation to repair the hole in his spinal column that defines his birth disorder, spina bifida.
Before Philip turned four, doctors installed a shunt to carry cerebral fluid from his brain to his spine and performed corrective surgery to allow him to walk with only a slight limp.
At nine years old, Hillary Reston developed a dangerous energy her father describes as "positively thermonuclear." If they turned their back on her for an instant, her parents often found Hillary perched on top of kitchen cabinets, swallowing staples and tacks, smashing glass tables and throwing knives.