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Shining Stars of Pediatric Rehabilitation

Integrated care makes children's rehab services outstanding in region


One of Hasbro Children's Hospital's most unique and innovative programs, the Children's Rehabilitation Center cares for children and teens with illnesses, injuries and disabilities, helping them reach their fullest potential. The center is widely regarded as the premier pediatric rehabilitation clinic in southeastern New England because of its integrated and multidisciplinary approach to care.

There are any number of reasons why a child might need to undergo rehabilitation, and our comprehensive program offers its services in whatever way best suits our young patients. The center offers occupational and physical therapy services in outpatient, inpatient, hospital-based specialty clinics, and home care settings. It provides outpatient services to more than 10,000 patients each year and offers a variety of specialty services, including an adaptive equipment clinic, sensory integration therapy, aquatic therapy, burn care, feeding, handwriting groups and neurological consultations. Its highly trained staff includes a pediatric neurologist and physical and occupational therapists.

"We want kids out being kids participating in their home, school and community environments. We want them to be as independent as possible. But we're always here when they need us," says Lori LaFrance, PT, clinical manager, children's rehabilitation services.

Many of the young patients at the center have had injuries or strokes; have cerebral palsy; have developmental or sensory disabilities; or are undergoing cancer treatment. We introduce you to just a few of our "shining stars" in the following pages.



Honor Your Doctor, Nurse or Caregiver for Making a Difference

Consider making a gift to thank a member of the Hasbro Children's Hospital team for caring for your child or loved one when you needed us most. Your gift in honor of the caregiver(s) who made a difference in your child's life is one way to express your appreciation while also helping Hasbro Children's Hospital continue to provide the best possible care and service to others.

The caregiver-physician, nurse, therapist or other staff member-will receive a special letter of recognition informing him or her that a gift was made in his or her honor along with your special message (no mention of the gift amount will be included).

If you've never personally experienced the special care of Hasbro Children's Hospital and our dedicated staff, please consider a holiday gift in honor of someone special in your life. We'll make sure they know about your thoughtfulness!

Ways to Give This Special Gift

  • Send in your gift with the reply slip in this mailing and add your special message on a separate sheet of paper. We'll make sure it gets to the right person.

  • Visit and click on "Ways to Give"

  • Call the Development Office at 401-444-6758

Toys and Technologies for Rehabilitation

Karen Kerman, MD, director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital, had an idea-to create therapeutic toys for children with cerebral palsy. These toys would provide a fun and easy way to help children increase the use of an affected limb and strengthen the muscles.

She discussed her vision with Joseph J. Crisco, PhD, director of the bioengineering lab in the department of orthopedics at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of orthopedics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. At the time, Crisco was teaching a course for Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Brown University students, and Kerman and he believed this was a perfect forum to bring creative minds together to design prototypes of new therapeutic toys. The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust generously provided funding for the project.

With the help of Khipra Nichols, BID, professor of industrial design at RISD, Crisco's students developed more than a dozen prototypes, including game controllers strapped to the wrist or forearm to compensate for the lack of fine motor skills in children with cerebral palsy. They also developed a radio-controlled car, a tabletop racetrack and moving stuffed animals, all manipulated by controllers. The toys have sensors that can record how much the toys are used, which provides a better understanding of the toys' potential as rehabilitation tools.

With Gratitude

Dear Lori LaFrance, PT,

Expertise, support, kindness and education-these are what Hasbro Children's Hospital's pediatric rehabilitation staff have given my 14-year-old daughter Emma and our family.

Our partnership with the pediatric rehabilitation center began 12 years ago and is as strong today as ever. Emma was diagnosed at 16 months with cerebral palsy-a diagnosis I knew nothing about. I was in search of the best possible team to support Emma and help her develop as typically as possible. I would have taken her to therapy every day, twice a day if needed. Over time the pedi rehab staff taught our family tools to put to work at home and in the community.

At age five, Emma wanted to play T-ball. Her running was awkward, but she always tried her best. I would tell her, "If you hit the ball far enough, you won't have to run that fast." And so she learned to whack the ball! After doing therapy with horses and strengthening exercises at the rehab gym and at home, Emma went on to play Little League.

At age 8, Emma decided to play ice hockey. She was out of her ankle-foot braces and could wear hockey skates. She tried out for a local organization and made the team. She said it was the happiest day of her life. She soon grew strong enough to take a break from traditional therapy. She played hockey for four years before beginning to fall on and off the ice. It was time to return to rehab for support.

Today, Emma is three months post-op from an 11-hour surgery to correct her legs from turning inward. She knew her rehabilitation would be intensive, but we were welcomed back to Hasbro Children's Hospital with open arms. Emma's goal is to be playing hockey in one year.

Emma's life has been a challenging journey, but Hasbro Children's Hospital has supported us every step of the way.

From our hearts to yours, we thank you!

Michelle Murray