Inspiring Stories

SHNIC helps teachers learn about special needs.
Making the Grade

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...

"When you have a child with special needs, you're often running to the doctor's office..."
Bringing It All Home

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.

Project HEAL blends health care and advocacy.
Jeffrey

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

One family's autism journey
The Maloni Boys

Dominic Maloni could not have been a better baby. He was quiet and easy going. In his first year of life, he met all of the usual milestones sitting up, speaking his first words, walking.

At 13 months, he could organize his toy cars in a line from smallest to largest. He could even figure out a puzzle designed for a four-year-old in just two minutes. Still, he wouldn't look his mother in the eye or turn around when his parents called his name. "On one hand, we wondered, Is he a genius?'" remembers Jennifer Maloni, Dominic's mother. "On the other hand, he was too little to be purposely ignoring us."

Hugo Moser's widow Ann leads ALD screening efforts in newborns
Jose Casso Drinking Lorenzo's Oil

Ramón and Maritza Casso loved their first born son, Juan, with all of their hearts. Like many parents they wanted far more for him than they wanted for themselves. And when their second son, José, arrived seven years later, they felt the same way. 

A family's generosity helps advance care for hundreds of children and adults with spina bifida.
The Keelty Family

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. 

Father's Memoir of His Daughters Courageous Journey
Hillary with Maureen van Stone

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.

Intensive inpatient program helps children and families dealing with severe behavioral problems
Brandon Calvert

The moment someone becomes a parent, he or she accepts the tremendous responsibility of doing everything possible to ensure their child's health, happiness and ability to thrive...

Spinal cord injury: innovative therapies lead to remarkable results
Loretta McRae

As she typed the words into the Internet search engine, Loretta McRae knew it was a long shot. In the months since the 15-year-old struck her head on an ocean sandbar in Australia, sustaining a C6 level spinal cord injury, virtually every expert said she'd already gotten her miracle. She was alive, she could wiggle her toes, she was regaining sensation in her limbs. But she would probably need to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

That answer wasn't good enough for Loretta, an athlete who was scheduled to compete in a swim meet the day after her accident.

Specialized Transition Program Paves the Way for Recovery and Independence
Ritchie Jacob

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.

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