Stories about: cerebral palsy

Reading to teach and heal: Best books for 8-12 year olds

Best books for 8-12 year olds.

Books are great tools for teaching empathy to children. They can help kids understand what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes — someone with a physical or mental disability, chronic illness or learning difference. They can also help kids with medical issues see how other kids cope — which can be validating or even help spark new ideas. And books help younger generations recognize that no matter what obstacle they may face, they’re still just kids, and they’re not alone.

Today, many children’s book authors are weaving characters with medical conditions into their stories with appropriate sensitivity to both inform and create a sense of understanding among readers. Here are four must-reads for 8-12 year olds:

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Giving thanks: Stories of volunteerism, gratitude and giving back

Thanksgiving Day is a time rich in family, gratitude and appreciation. In honor of the holiday, we are celebrating the patient families who have traveled through our doors and the selfless acts of kindness and volunteerism that follow.

Donating platelets and cycling for a cause

Ten years ago, Adam Nussenbaum’s son, Max, was treated at Boston Children’s and overcame a life threatening illness. Today, Adam gives his time — and platelets — to help those in need, and he is doing so in celebration of Max; his daughter Kate, who donated her bone marrow to help her brother; and the clinicians, who made his son’s recovery possible.

Shari Abramowitz, Max, Kate and Adam Nussenbaum
Shari Abramowitz, Adam, Kate, and Max Nussenbaum

For the past eight years, Adam has participated in the Pan Mass Challenge and raised over $55,000 to benefit the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Center at Boston Children’s. He also donates platelets on a monthly basis.

“It has been immensely gratifying to know that I have and will continue to play a small role in helping patients like Max on their road to recovery,” he says.

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Elijah laughs: Augmentative communication device helps boy with cerebral palsy

augmentative communicationA computer voice utters a simple statement. Sometimes, it’s “My name is Elijah.” Other times, “My parents are Brian and Leah,” or “I feel happy.”

For the first time in his life, Elijah can tell his mother, ‘Yes, I want a hug.’

Another phrase — “I love the Patriots” — is often repeated.

And a brown-eyed, curly-haired kindergartener’s eyes light up. He smiles and laughs out loud.

It’s a whole new world for 5-year-old Elijah Gauthier, says his mom, Leah.

Leah and her husband Brian have taken Elijah, who has severe cerebral palsy and is non-verbal, to the Augmentative Communication Program at Boston Children’s Hospital at Waltham since he was a baby.

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Catching up with Hunter: On the fast track

ACE Kids
Hunter, Congressman Poliquin and Madison

A few months ago, Hunter VanBrocklin was barely managing a 1 mile-per-hour pace on the treadmill. That was before his surgery to treat hip dysplasia.

His surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Shore of the Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center, cautioned Hunter that it could take as long as one year to recover his pre-surgery pace.

“I went past 1 mph already. Say good-bye,” brags Hunter, who’s not only managing a brisk 3 miles-per-hour pace, but also recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. for Family Advocacy Day. The annual event brings families from children’s hospitals across the U.S. to the capital to meet with their senators and representatives to share their medical stories and encourage lawmakers to improve access to high-quality pediatric care.

This year, Boston Children’s staff and families sought to secure sponsorship for the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act of 2015, a bill that makes it easier for children with medically complex conditions who rely on Medicaid to get the care they need at children’s hospitals, especially when they have to cross state lines.

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