Riding a bicycle comes as second nature to most 15-year-old boys. But for Richie Jacob, it was a major milestone. Three months earlier, Richie couldn't walk. He could barely talk. Doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of survival.
Adolescence isn't easy it's a tough road filled with all sorts of risky possibilities, from school failure and conflict with parents to more dangerous threats like involvement in drugs and gangs. For teens with developmental disabilities, the path to adulthood can be even more difficult, with a greater chance of picking up destructive habits or falling in with the wrong crowd.
Each year, more than 900,000 children in the United States experience physical or sexual abuse, community or domestic violence, neglect or abandonment. Many of these traumatic incidents occur within the caregiving system that is supposed to protect children.
Imagine a room filled with soothing music, where swirls of color dance around the walls, rich scents fill the air and chairs vibrate in time with the music you've chosen. Welcome to the multi-sensory environment (MSE), a room that heightens sensory experience and awareness, induces relaxation, relieves anxiety and promotes interaction and learning. Appealing to just about anyone, the rooms can actually play a part in the therapy of individuals with disabilities including autism, Alzheimer's disease, brain injury, cognitive challenges, severe pain and even high blood pressure.
Realizing that a toddler may have a developmental delay could throw any family into turmoil. The questions seem endless: Where should you go for help? Will she learn to speak? Will he need special equipment to walk? What about school? Imagine how much more wrenching this process can become for immigrant families, who may already be grappling with issues such as language barriers, cultural confusion, job security and citizenship.
Each year, more than 900,000 American children experience some type of trauma physical or sexual abuse, community violence, family crises. For nearly two decades, Kennedy Krieger's Family Center has helped children in the Baltimore area recover from abuse, neglect, out-of-home placement and other traumatic events.
When today's Kennedy Krieger Institute first opened its doors in 1967, its leaders were expected to continue and improve the state-of-the-art treatment services already available to children with cerebral palsy at the Children's Rehabilitation Institute, the original facility that became Kennedy Krieger, and to extend those services to children with a variety of other neurodevelopmental disorders.
For parents of children with special medical needs, returning to the workforce is often a necessity, not an option. They need the income and health benefits a job provides. But finding quality childcare can be nearly impossible.
In a major announcement, the National Institutes of Health has awarded Kennedy Krieger Institute a five-year, $7.7 million grant to become a national center devoted to autism research, focusing on neurobiologic origins of autism, as well as early detection and intervention.
Last year, 5-year-old Samuel Spring came to Kennedy Krieger Institute for evaluation of autism. The genetic and metabolic tests he was to undergo required giving a blood sample. When the nurse tried to tie the tourniquet around his arm in preparation for the needle stick, Sam began to cry and break away.