May 26

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Marina

Khimko.Maryna.jpgMarina lived the first three years of her life in the abandoned baby ward of a Ukrainian hospital. Despite being born with multiple health conditions and malformations, she has an indomitable will to live. Marina captured the heart of an American missionary family who brought her to the United States at age 3 in a desperate attempt to save her life, which so far has included 15 surgeries. Marina’s day-to-day survival is dependent on an intricate web of pediatric specialists, medical equipment and clinical support.

May 25

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Jebrill

Genovese.Jebrill.jpgJebrill was premature and diagnosed with failure to thrive when he first came to live with his family. To address this, he received physical and occupational therapy services at Children’s Specialized Hospital from the ages of 3 months to 7 years old. At the age of 4, Jebrill was also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was placed on the autism spectrum. The therapists at the hospital created a behavioral plan and structure that carried over in home and school so he could socialize and interact appropriately with family and peers.

May 24

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Andrea

Ruth.Andrea_300_.jpgAfter battling instances of dizziness, passing out, both low and high blood pressure, and digestive issues, Andrea was diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Considered an autoimmune disorder, POTS causes a patient’s heart to work harder to maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. Mostly seen in women under the age of 35, the cause is currently unknown.

May 23

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Charlie

Castino.Charlie.jpgWhen Charlie was 3 years old he was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease, a rare disorder of the brain where arteries narrow, causing stroke-like symptoms. Because of this, he was required to spend a great deal of time being treated by the neurocritical care team and neurosurgery team at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He has had two successful brain surgeries and is doing very well.

May 22

Keeping Tech Time in Check During the Critical Developmental Years for Children

ASHA_TeddyBear_Facebook_Shared_Image_1200x630.jpgBy: Judith L. Page

Earlier this month, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) released the results of a new national poll of parents of children ages 0-8 on their children’s use of technology. It found significant percentages reporting technology use by very young children. It also found more than half of the parents surveyed have concerns about the potential negative impact of technology use on the ability of the young to communicate. Among the highlights:

May 22

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Jasper

Bitter.Jasper.jpgJasper, a happy and playful 4-year old, was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome when he was a year old. A genetic condition, fragile X syndrome causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges and various physical characteristics. He has also since been diagnosed with autism.

Currently a preschooler, Jasper loves trucks, trains and construction vehicles. In addition to swimming and riding his bike, he also likes to read books and play with his trains. A citizen of the US and Germany, his ultimate career goal is to be a firefighter when he grows up.

May 21

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Audrina

Cardenas.Audrina.JPGDuring a routine ultrasound 16 weeks into Ashley’s pregnancy, the sonogram image indicated that part of baby Audrina’s heart was forming outside of her chest. Only eight in every million babies are born with ectopia cordis, a rare congenital malformation where the heart is abnormally located either partially or totally outside the chest; 90 percent of children with this condition are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life. An extremely risky surgery was Audrina’s only chance for life.

May 20

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Jack

Baker.Jack.jpgToday Jack is a happy, healthy 2-year-old who hasn’t let a tough start to life prevent him from being a cheerful toddler. Shortly after Jack’s birth, he experienced symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and spent 22 days in the hospital weaning from the opiates and other substances he was exposed to by his birth mother’s drug use during pregnancy. He then benefitted from the Fostering Connections program, a specialized foster care clinic providing a medical home at The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

May 19

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Alyssa

Genovese.Alyssa.JPGBorn a healthy baby, Alyssa was reaching most of her developmental milestones until, at 20 months, her lack of speech development and low muscle tone prompted a visit to Children’s Specialized Hospital for an evaluation. Thanks to that visit, Alyssa began receiving physical and speech therapy for muscle strengthening and to address her language delay and apraxia, a motor disorder caused by damage to the brain.

May 18

2015 Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Kai

Gay.Kai.jpgKai is a vibrant 16-year old who loves writing, drawing, listening to music and painting nails. Though today, you'll only notice her speech delay, as a little girl she overcame many scary battles. Kai was rushed to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital immediately after birth to be treated for holes in her heart that were identified during her mother's pregnancy. At 6 months old, she had open heart surgery to correct her heart defect. Thankfully, she has not had any heart troubles since.

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