Don’t Give Up

In the beginning of my journey of accepting my daughter’s diagnosis of hemiplegic cerebral palsy, I had a very difficult time seeing all the things she was capable of doing. I spent my days focused on the can’ts, not the cans. It was hard on me because I claimed to be positive and encouraging on the outside, but on the inside, I was battling negative thoughts about her future. When she was very young, I […]


Addressing Chronic Pain: A Five-Step Team Approach

BY GRACE L. FRANCIS AND VICTORIA MCMULLEN Living with someone who has chronic pain is difficult; living with someone who is in pain and also has challenging behavior and limited communication abilities can be downright miserable for all involved. Ron, age 35, has numerous educational and medical diagnoses, including mixed type cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disability, and autism. He also experiences many types of chronic pain related to conditions such as osteoarthritis, tempomandibular joint […]


Australia first: cord blood research may unlock future treatments for cerebral palsy

Australia’s first clinical trial of stem cell infusion from cord blood as a possible treatment for cerebral palsy (CP) is commencing in Melbourne. The safety trial, led by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), will recruit patients nationally and take place at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Expected to take two years, the study is being funded by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation and Cell Care, Australia’s largest private cord blood bank. It is the […]


Toilet Training Children with Special Needs

The issue of when and how to begin toilet training can be particularly challenging for parents of children with special needs. While no parent wants to push an already challenged child to perform in ways that are impossible, the sense of accomplishment experienced when he does succeed in this important aspect of self-care can make an enormous difference in his level of self-esteem. Perhaps more than other parents, those who have children with physical, intellectual, […]


Surprise, Surprise!

My daughter Olivia participated in a track camp last summer…. Track camp is a five day program for kids entering Kindergarten through 7th grade. It is facilitated by the Middle School track coach, along with High School students that participate in track. They introduce track events, and give children the opportunity to try all of them in a fun, relaxed environment. You may be thinking, “Oh what a nice thing for her to do in […]


Cerebral Palsy – Pediatric Basics

By Vincent Iannelli, MD – Reviewed by a board-certified physician. Children with cerebral palsy have problems with muscle tone, affecting their ability to keep their balance, posture, and to walk and move. Unlike other medical conditions that can affect a child’s ability to move or walk, with cerebral palsy, the problem isn’t in the child’s muscles or nerves. Instead, damage to the child’s brain itself affects his ability to control his muscles. What Causes Cerebral […]


From Our Family To Yours

For Exceptional Parent magazine’s 2016 Family, Community and the Holidays issue, the Chambers family—Dr. Hank, Jill, sean and Dr. reid—share their experiences, views and words of wisdom with other families touched by special needs. It is a privilege to be a part of this interview with the wonderful Chambers family for Exceptional Parent magazine’s latest Family & Community issue. I have known my friends, Hank Chambers, MD and Jill Chambers, for over 20 years and […]


Fitness for Children with Physical Disabilities

THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, DPT, MBA, ATP Exercise can also lower risk for complications associated specifically with spinal cord injury and spina bifida, such as the development of some forms of cancer, respiratory illness, and UTI. Are you an Exceptional Parent of a child with a spinal cord injury, spina bifida, or cerebral palsy? It is important to encourage your child to get a sufficient amount of exercise! Even if it is difficult, […]


Redefining the Role of People with Disabilities in Healthcare Research

Source My Life Without Limits by Karin Hitselberger What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word, “research?” Maybe you think of book reports and term papers, or maybe your mind goes to Hollywood depictions of people in white coats running testing laboratories. Perhaps, you think of something else entirely. Whatever your association with the word, research means many different things to many different people. It can sometimes be […]


Higher Learning

REPRINTED FROM EXCEPTIONAL PARENT MARCH, 2012 By Anastasia Somoza Several years after EP Magazine featured the Somozas as its cover story, Anastasia Somoza has graduated from Georgetown University and is now headed for the prestigious London School of Economics. But not before sharing a significant experience with others that just may make a big difference in their educational lives. My name is Anastasia Somoza and I am 28 years old and live in New York […]