Stories about: Diseases & Conditions

Cerebral palsy and mental health: What parents should know

child with cerebral palsy trying to communicate mental health concerns

Amy’s* jaw was black and blue, but she hadn’t been in an accident. Instead, the 15-year-old, who has cerebral palsy (CP) and is nonverbal, had been punching her own chin — but why? Her family, along with Dr. Elizabeth Barkoudah, and her colleagues in the Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, searched for answers. “We thought we had considered everything,” says Barkoudah. Yet a slew of approaches — from a full-body workup to a special brace aimed at preventing the teen from hitting herself — proved fruitless.

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A look back: Our most popular stories of 2018

Top stories of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of our most popular stories from the past year, from ground-breaking surgery and clinical trials to stories of unbelievable courage and hope.

Thank you to the many families and patients who kindly shared their stories with us in 2018. As always, you continue to inspire us.

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The mystery of Jane’s left shoulder: Acute flaccid myelitis

Jane rides her bike after recovering from acute flaccid myelitis.

When 5-year-old Jane Morehead tumbled off her bike in May 2017, it didn’t seem like a big deal. Jane’s dad was with her at the time, and both of them considered the fall a minor one. The whole family was surprised, therefore, when Jane had pain in her left shoulder the next day. At an emergency room (ER) near the family’s home in North Carolina, x-rays of Jane’s shoulder appeared normal. The doctor diagnosed a possible sprain and sent Jane home in a sling. As far as Jane and her parents were concerned, that was the end of it.

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Four things I learned at the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Family Symposium

View of the crowd at the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Family Symposium

I’m sure most parents treat clinic visits as I do… an opportunity to get every last drop of information out of your child’s doctors while you have their undivided attention. So, when the opportunity presents, you take advantage of a full day of learning about your kiddo.

I had that chance recently — along with many other Heart Center parents — at the day-long Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Family Symposium. And while the learning was important, there was so much more that came out of the day.

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