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Student Profiles

A Special Prom for Kids With Autism

If you saw Madison Plaisance at her prom, you might have mistaken her for a princess. And she would say you were correct.

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.

Defying the Odds
Makaile Stanley

I remember the moment I knew I would be the first person in my family to attend college. When I was 16, a doctor recommended that I apply to a technical school instead of a four-year college because of my Asperger’s syndrome. I was crushed and broke down in tears. I took red permanent marker and made a giant “X” on his report and threw it away. I decided then and there that I wanted to go to college. I wanted to do better.

A mother’s emotional journey to find help for her son with autism leads her to Kennedy Krieger Schools. Jake, who has autism, was scared to go to school and totally unhinged once he got there—running in circles, biting his hand, melting down.
Jacob

The year my son was in the third grade, I didn’t eat. I never left my phone, even to take a shower. Jake, who has autism, was scared to go to school and totally unhinged once he got there—running in circles, biting his hand, melting down. Desks would fly if one thing went wrong. He would return home from school exhausted, with fingernails chewed to the quick and tear-stained cheeks. It was torture seeing him so miserable. 

Special education teacher Katie Cascio is inspired by a student who comes into his own at Kennedy Krieger High School.
student and teacher

I was lucky enough to meet DeVante—a shy, reserved student with autism spectrum disorder—during my first year as an assistant teacher at Kennedy Krieger High School. During my first week, DeVante approached me with his head down and in a soft voice, he asked me to sign his “autograph book. ”

Great Expectations
Bob Nobles in his Young Marines uniform

I started attending Kennedy Krieger in fifth grade. I’m now a junior in high school. It’s been a really good experience. I don’t think I’d be where I am now if it hadn’t been for Kennedy Krieger. Before I came here, I was below grade level on everything, I had low self-esteem, and my behavior was an issue.

Navigating the path to adulthood can be at turns frustrating, overwhelming, and rewarding.
A graduate contemplates his future

When Damian Jackson was younger, his mother, Carla Dixon, worried about what life would be like for her son after he left the safe environment of Kennedy Krieger High School. The school provided Damian—who has autism—with structure, socialization, and extensive therapy services. But Dixon knew that when school ended, so would the school-based services.

Never say you can't--because you can.
Sashay Duckett

When I started at Kennedy Krieger Middle School, I was very frustrated and angry because I did not think I needed to be here. Slowly, though, I began to see that Kennedy Krieger was the right school for me. But it took time. Today I realize that I needed to be here to get the education I needed, because I might not have done as well anywhere else. Knowing this makes it easy for me to go to school and even easier to do what I have to in order to have a successful future.

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

A Day at the Aquarium
Justin with His Sister

"Mom, Lauren pinched me," Justin calls back to his mother. He and his little sister, Lauren, are walking arm in arm through Baltimore's Inner Harbor on their way to the National Aquarium. Just over a year ago, this trip might not have been possible. 

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A free resource that provides access to information and support for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.