Stories about: scoliosis

The five emotions of raising a child with infantile scoliosis

Avery, who has infantile scoliosis, with his brace

One night, while doing our son’s usual bath routine, I saw what looked like a hump on his back. Avery was 6 months old at the time. At first, I thought that it was just something I was imagining, but the hump never went away. In fact, it seemed to get worse. When Avery was 13 months old, he was officially diagnosed with infantile scoliosis, a rare form of scoliosis that occurs in children under 2 years of age.

The first hospital we were referred to would not even consider treating Avery until he was at least 18 months, and that was not a guarantee, so after doing some research, we came to Boston Children’s Hospital for a second opinion. We were referred to Dr. Michael Glotzbecker, one of the surgeons in the Spinal Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center that specializes in early onset scoliosis.

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A bond between sisters made stronger by scoliosis

April and Mary Miller sit outside Boston Children's Hospital where they were treated for scoliosis.

Growing up, sisters will often share many things — and not always willingly. But it’s not often they will end up sharing the same condition, one that keeps them stuck in a rigid and uncomfortable back brace for most of the day. But then again, April and Mary Miller are not your average sisters.

The Miller sisters were both diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at the end of their fifth grade years. April, the oldest sister, was diagnosed in 2011, while younger sister Mary’s diagnosis came in 2013.

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Experiencing how spinal fusion treats scoliosis before surgery day

Scoliosis patients and families look on as a nurse presents inside a simulation hospital room
The Spinal Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center has partnered with the Simulator Program to offer a unique simulation experience to patients who will undergo surgical treatment for scoliosis, a procedure called spinal fusion, this summer.

“In my experience, patients do better when they are well prepared for surgery,” says Dr. Michael Glotzbecker, a pediatric spine specialist and surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, who performs dozens of spinal fusion surgeries each year to treat children with scoliosis.

That’s why Glotzbecker teamed up with Brianna O’Connell, a child life specialist and program lead of simulation programs for patients and caregivers at the Boston Children’s SIMPeds Simulator Program, to create an immersive day for patients and their families to experience spinal fusion well ahead of surgery day.

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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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