Inspiring Stories

Erin StrevigOnce a week, 19-year-old Erin Strevig can be found riding horses near her home in Westminster. Born with a rare genetic condition known as Williams syndrome, she has difficulty doing many of the things that typically developing teenagers can do with ease, such as walking and talking. But in horseback riding, Erin has found her passion and...

Sam SpringLast 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. His behavior made...

Davona MillerJim Schuyler had a big decision to make last February. Diane Stegman, one of the Program Coordinators for the Therapeutic Family Care program, wanted to know whether he and his wife, Karen, could manage to care for one more child. That day, caseworkers from the Department of Social Services had removed Dante,* a 2-year-old boy with...

Nicole BahenIf you've ever doubted how quickly your life can be turned upside down, just ask the Bahen family. On Monday, Nov. 14, 2000, the Bahens' 5-year-old daughter Nicole joined her friends for her usual afternoon dance class. By Sunday Nov. 20, Nicole lay in intensive care recovering from surgery, unable to speak, roll over or swallow, nearly...

Tyler KiskisAt 5 years old, Tyler Kiskis is a bundle of energy, a little spark-plug with tossled brown hair and an impish grin who revels in the things that most 5-year-old boys do baseball and soccer, chasing the family Labrador, jumping through a water sprinkler in the front yard of his family's Pasadena home.

His parents, Vicky and Dave, revel...

As soon as Joshua Fine reached pre-school, his mother Kathleen noticed that he learned differently from his older brother. As he picked up his ABCs and began trying to piece words together, Josh often reversed the order of his letters. This tendency continued as Josh began elementary school, but never reached a crisis point. Although Josh frequently refused to read, his grades stayed adequate. But Kathleen harbored nagging suspicions that her son wasn't reaching his full academic potential...

To an outsider, it looks like the small boy is having fun with a baby-sitter. As he moves from toy to toy, his "sitter" follows him, occasionally placing her hands on his arms and legs. She tries to touch his head, but he pushes her hand away. She spends a lot of time pressing lightly on his chest. When he gets tired, she keeps applying light pressure as he becomes more and more relaxed. As the boy starts to nod off, she steps back, ending the session.

"Whatever it was she did, it...

Corey Opher, Jr.The playroom of Kennedy Krieger Institute's Achievements program doesn't look like a typical child's playroom. There are no blocks, books, dolls or trucks lining the shelves or scattered about the floor. In fact, the room seems practically devoid of toys, those things that inspire the imaginations of...

Madelyn Dennis with Her TherapistFew experiences thrill a parent more than the first time they hear their child say "mama" or "dada." Those words, often a baby's first, are usually followed by a flurry of new ones, and eventually phrases, thoughts, questions and observations that give parents constantly new glimpses of the unique...

Simmons Girls and Their Mom with DoctorLike all siblings, the six Simmons girls are unique in almost every way. Adopted in early childhood by Betty Simmons of Baltimore and her late husband Gregory, they have their individual interests, temperaments and strengths. But they also share much in common, in particular some...