Letter from our President
Parents of children with autism, intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities face a host of challenges in providing their children with the best life possible. In some cases, simply keeping their children safe is a constant battle. Because they have fewer communication and other adaptive skills than others their age, children with developmental disabilities can engage in aggressive and self-injurious behavior that can put their health and happiness and that of their families at risk.
For more than 25 years, Kennedy Krieger's Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU) has focused on helping families learn to reduce and manage these dangerous behaviors. The unique inpatient program and its related outpatient services have transformed the lives of hundreds of children and their families. In this issue, we examine how the NBU works and meet two of the children it has served.
Less than two years ago Loretta McRae, a teenage athlete, experienced a severe spinal cord injury. Several months after her discharge from the Institute's International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, Loretta is walking, back in school full-time and making plans for her future. Learn more about Loretta's recovery journey in this issue.
Also in this issue: a look at how low bone density can affect children with a variety of disorders, and a profile of Kennedy Krieger's Specialized Transition Program (STP) a rehabilitation day hospital that helps children recovering from conditions such as strokes, brain tumors and surgical complications ease from inpatient care back to home, school and community life.
None of these programs would be as successful without the influence of Kennedy Krieger's extensive research component. In this issue's Research feature, we examine an ongoing study exploring difficulties in reading comprehension that appear in older children.
potential strives to help its readers better understand developmental disabilities and the importance of creating comprehensive, innovative programs to serve children and families living with them. We hope this issue sheds greater light on the challenges, possibilities and achievements faced by those we serve.
Gary W. Goldstein, MD