Patient Stories

Hands that Heal

Courtney
McGrath
Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Investigate Whether Energy Therapy Can Benefit Children with Developmental Disabilities

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.

Working at Play

Holly Lewis
Maddox
A Child's Work Is to Play, But Not All Children Know How. Several Programs at Kennedy Krieger Teach Them -- For the Sake of More Than Just Amusement.

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 children but it's not.

Something to Talk About

Courtney
McGrath
Early Interventions Can Bring Out the Chatterbox in Children

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 person their child is becoming.

Alcohol Anonymous

Courtney
McGrath

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 serious cognitive, and possibly behavioral, issues that may be the result of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Winning The Weight Loss Battle

Courtney
McGrath
Strict Diet and Discipline Helps Teen Lose More Than 200 lbs.

Ashley Melvin had a blast this summer swimming at camp, walking her dog in her Eastern Shore hometown, celebrating her Sweet Sixteen at a bowling alley.

What a difference a year makes. In August 2002, paramedics rushed to Ashley's house when she fell and her frightened grandparents realized they couldn't help her get up. At 397 lbs, Ashley was dangerously overweight. The teen depended on oxygen 24 hours a day and her feet had swollen so large she could not wear shoes.

The Will to Walk

Courtney
Jolley
Spinal cord injury: innovative therapies lead to remarkable results

Loretta McRaeAs 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.

Never Say Never

Elise
Babbitt
Determined Young Woman Refuses to Let Cerebral Palsy Conquer Her Dreams

Liza Patchel and Her MomLiza 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.

Treating ADHD

Kennedy Krieger's Center for Development and Learning Helps Children with ADHD Lead Fuller Lives

Kerrel Williams with Pediatric Nurse PractitionerEach year, Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Development and Learning evaluates and treats several thousand children with ADHD. The evaluation includes a detailed medical, developmental and behavioral history of the child.

New Life, New Challenges: Young Mom with Spina Bifida Grows with Kennedy Krieger

Courtney
McGrath

Krystal Spencer with Her SonWhen Krystal Spencer came to Kennedy Krieger for her regular clinic visit in September, she couldn't resist showing off her baby son Justin. A Kennedy Krieger patient for more than a decade, Spencer is a familiar face to many of the physicians, nurses and therapists in the Outpatient department all of whom were thrilled to see that one of their patient had delivered a healthy baby boy.

Attitude Adjustment

Courtney
McGrath
Tantrums, Biting, Crying -- Every Parent Struggles with Them from Time to Time, But When Misbehavior Intensifies, It Can Traumatize the Entire Family.

Sixteen-year-old Travis Smith can't wait to try out for his Baltimore City high school's football team next fall. He's a lot like most boys his age: non-stop energy. Today, that energy is channeled positively, a big change from when he first started school. Back then, his mother Natasha Lewis was at her wits end, receiving phone calls practically on a daily basis telling her to come pick him up from school. The reasons varied: Travis had hit another child. Travis had lashed out at a teacher or an aide. Travis was threatening to jump from the roof of the school.

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