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Student Profiles

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. 

How one girl found herself through Kennedy Krieger's Physically Challenged Sports Program
Colbie Bratlie

Colbie Bratlie wants to be a world champion. And the odds are good that she will be because she competes in wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, track, field, archery, table tennis, and swimming. The athletic 14- year-old already seems Herculean for her stamina and determination, but when you add in that she has cerebral palsy, it truly does make her accomplishments seem superhuman.

Kennedy Krieger High School student with autism secures dream internship with NASA
Abby Reznek

There's just something about the solar system that fascinates me. It started when I was about five years old. I couldn't get enough of books and computer programs about planets, moons, and stars. I was even interested in model rockets because, in life-size form, they created a path to the great Milky Way.

But learning hasn't always been easy for me. I have autism, a developmental disability that can affect normal brain function.

That's why I attended Kennedy Krieger. I think it has the best school in the country for people with autism. 

Students find sense of belonging in Young Marines unit for kids with special needs.
Young Marines at Kennedy Krieger High School

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.

Determined Young Woman Refuses to Let Cerebral Palsy Conquer Her Dreams
Liza Patchel and Her Mom

Liza Patchel has grown used to being told of the many things she will never do. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, doctors said she would never speak or walk. When she enrolled in public school, administrators said she would never play for their sports teams. Even as she studied her way to good grades, "experts" told Liza that she would never go to college.

Now 23, Liza clearly enjoys proving people wrong, relishing opportunities to tell her story in the slow, but painstakingly clear, speech that many doubted she would ever develop.

Teenager Joins Elite Athletes from Across the Globe at Athens Paralympics
Racing to Victory

For those who wonder if childhood adversity really can inspire remarkable achievements, look no further than Tatyana McFadden. 

High School Student Shines in Demanding Museum Job
Seth Jackson

It seemed like a perfect opportunity: a work-based internship at a highly regarded children's museum. Chosen students would perform administrative tasks, prepare supplies for crafts projects and, most importantly, help children and families visiting the museum make their way through a variety of exciting exhibits.

Unique Work-Based Learning program of the Career and Technology Center Results in Graduates Who Are Highly Qualified to Get, Keep Jobs
High School Students Ebony Wilkens and Larry Bruce

Across the country, young adults preparing to enter the workforce are feeling the sting of a tight job market. Competition for employment is stiff for the brightest, most talented youth, much less young adults with learning, emotional and neurological problems. But at the Kennedy Krieger High School Career and Technology Center, students are graduating with real-world job experience and industry recognized certifications that give them a competitive advantage.


Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institute

We’re thrilled to welcome Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., to the Kennedy Krieger family as our next President and CEO.

Learn more.


Read inspiring stories, news and updates about the Institute's patient care, research, special education, professional training, and community programs.


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