Spinal Cord Injuries
Because incidence rates of SCI among children are relatively low, rehabilitation hospitals and programs usually do not maintain a separate program or unit exclusively for children with SCI. As an alternative, caregivers may consider facilities/programs which place children with SCI in rehabilitation units with other children with chronic disabilities. Hopefully, this will provide families and children with opportunities to share common experiences and information with each other, and may lead to the development of support networks in the community.
It is possible that children may be placed in units with other children who are too ill for rehabilitation. Children generally derive greater benefit if they undergo rehabilitation with other children who are actively involved in the rehabilitation process.
Are the beds for children with spinal cord injuries in one area or in the same location as children with similar disabilities?
Are children of the same sex and similar age currently in the program/facility?
Is the physician in charge an individual with experience in rehabilitation? Does this physician have experience with children? If not, what are his/her qualifications? Do the other staff members specialize in pediatrics?
How many children with SCI does the program/facility admit on an annual basis?
Does the program/facility offer educational programs for children and young adults undergoing treatment? If not, does the facility coordinate tutoring programs with local schools? If so, who is responsible for payment?
Are there child life or therapeutic recreation specialists on staff? (Child life specialists develop programs for children and families which strive to maintain normal living patterns and minimize the clinical environment. Therapeutic recreation specialists focus on teaching persons with disabilities new leisure and sports skills to maximize their independence).
Are young siblings and friends allowed to visit the unit?
Does the program/facility offer adaptive technology to help children communicate and learn?
Is counseling available for siblings and families members?
The National Spinal Cord Injury Association Resource Center (NSCIRC) provides information and referral on any subject related to spinal cord injury. Contact the resource center at 1-800-962-9629.