Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury

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Explore resources that offer comprehensive information on how a child's growth and development are influenced by a spinal cord injury. Gain valuable insights into developmental milestones and their impact on the child's overall well-being.

Discover essential adaptations and accommodations necessary to support learning within the school environment. Access resources aimed at facilitating social and emotional development, fostering self-confidence, nurturing friendships, and promoting ongoing independence.

Facilitating a child's recovery from a spinal cord injury often necessitates a new approach to communication. Find resources offering guidance on discussing spinal cord injuries with children and teenagers, finding therapists to assist in building positive self-esteem, managing traumatic stress, and addressing PTSD. Additionally, resources provide valuable information on interacting and communicating with extended family, friends, and teachers about spinal cord injuries.

Learn how to collaborate with healthcare professionals and educators to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), ensuring that learning needs are met at every educational stage, from preschool to college. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates the education of students with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible, with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also applying to children.

A House for All Children, (New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2000)

This book provides many architectural suggestions, guidelines and resources for making a home safe and accessible for children with special needs.


AblePlay is a consumer website for families and professionals with ratings and reviews of toys for children with disabilities. The website features comprehensive evaluations by Lekotek’s special education and therapy experts and provides star ratings (1 – 5 stars) in four disability categories: physical, sensory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional.

Adaptive Adventures

Adaptive Adventures provides progressive outdoor sports opportunities to improve quality of life for children, adults, and veterans with physical disabilities and their families. Programs include alpine ski and snowboard, cycling, dragon boat racing, kayaking, rock climbing, sailing, scuba, water-ski and wakeboard, and whitewater rafting.

After the Injury

This website was developed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners with expertise in pediatric injury, child health care, and traumatic stress at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Through cutting-edge research on the effects of injury on children and their parents, After The Injury was created for families looking to learn more on how to help their injured child respond in a healthy way.


Are We There Yet? Verna Allette Wilkins (Tamarind Books, 2002)

Delightfully illustrated, well written story about everyday activities of families living with a spinal cord injury for young or early school age children.

Learn More From our Video Library

Introduction to Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury

Related Videos

Medical Expert Interviews About Childhood Spinal Cord Injuries

Personal Experiences with Childhood Spinal Cord Injuries

Aunt Katie’s Visit, Katie Rodriguez Baxter (Access-4-All, 2006)

This delightful book, by Katie Rodriguez Baxter, is a wonderful resource to begin a discussion with children about differences and abilities; useful for teachers and parents.

Back in Life: Moving on after a Spinal Cord Injury – Zack Weinstein (2006)

Zack Weinstein was canoeing with a group of friends down the Saco River, in Maine. While jumping into a shallow part of the river, Zack broke his neck. At nineteen-years-old he became a C5-C6 Quadriplegic. In service to others facing life-altering injuries, the short film Back in Life was created. By sharing Zack’s powerful experiences, the film may provide others with needed strength in an oftentime daunting situation.

Back to School Success: Stories of Success on Campus by Stephanie D. Lollino (2015)

Going to college is a major life change for anyone, and it may present an especially daunting challenge for wheelchair users. This article from New Mobility Magazine provides helpful tips for transitioning to college and achieving a positive campus experience.

Boots For a Bridesmaid, Verna Allette Wilkins (Tamarind Books, 2002)

Delightfully illustrated, well written story about everyday activities of families living with a spinal cord injury for young or early school age children.

CareCure Community

Choose from over 70 forums in which hundreds of users are able to interact, share pictures, and post comments. Questions can be posed to an experienced spinal cord injury  nurse who will post back and forth with you helping you find answers and define questions you can ask your doctor. You can also follow what’s new in research as well as read articles by research professor and founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience Dr. Wise Young who answers questions and posts on topics surrounding disability. The Spinal Cord Injury Community Forums can be a place to find answers to questions, inspirational stories, and empathy. Follow the threads to view questions and answers from others in your situation, post your own concerns, and receive feedback.

Center for Parent Information and Resources

The Center for Parent Information & Resources offers a broad range of childhood disability resources, most of which are also available in Spanish. It serves as a national information resource on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children and youth. Scroll down the Resources page to view an array of information on K-12 issues for accommodations at school, career and college readiness, the IEP process, how to develop effective practices and enable parent advocacy. This website also identifies Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) by state.


Champ Camp

Champ Camp is a camp for children and adolescents, ages six and up, who have tracheostomies and those that require respiratory assistance, including the use of ventilators. Many campers also have unique physical challenges, including quadriplegia. In the main toolbar, select Camper to view Camper Criteria to see if your child meets the necessary camper qualifications.  

Children’s Hospital and Health System of Wisconsin

Children’s Hospital and Health System is an independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The 12 entities that make up the health system work to improve the lives of children everywhere through care giving, advocacy, research and education.

Children’s Hospital Association

The Children’s Hospital Association advances child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care with our children’s hospitals. CHA represents 220 children’s hospitals, which set the standard for the highest quality pediatric care while training the next generation of pediatricians. With its members, the CHA champions policies that enable children’s hospitals to better serve children; leverages its position as the pediatric leader in data analytics to facilitate national collaborative and research efforts to improve performance; and spreads best practices to benefit the nation’s children. Click on “Directories” on the top toolbar to find a hospital near you.


Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital Boston is a 396-bed comprehensive center for pediatric health care. As one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Children’s offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age.

Children’s records approximately 25,600 inpatient admissions each year, and our 228 specialized clinical programs schedule more than 543,100 visits annually. Additionally, the hospital performs 25,800 surgical procedures and 200,000 radiological examinations every year.  


Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is committed to raising funds to support research on spinal cord injury and to improving the quality of life of people living with paralysis. The Foundation’s Paralysis Resource Center provides a robust collection of resources that span key areas of life. Scroll down to obtain a FREE 442 page Paralysis Resource Guide in hard copy or electronic format, Wallet Cards on autonomic dysreflexia, deep vein thrombosis, and sepsis. The Resource Center also provides a Peer Mentor program to support life-long learning. Persons interested in connecting with someone to answer questions directly via phone or email can do so through the “Ask Us Anything” link.


Connecticut Youth Leadership Project (CTYLP)

The Connecticut Youth Leadership Project (CTYLP) is a youth leadership program that empowers youth with disabilities to realize their leadership potential. Through self-awareness and team building activities, young adults explore leadership styles to develop and implement team and personal leadership plans.  Although this program only runs in Connecticut, their goal is to help youth with disabilities meet the challenges of the future, overcome obstacles and become leaders so that they can make a difference in their communities and for others with disabilities.


Family Resource Center on Disability (FRCD)

The Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) was a pioneer as a coalition that covered all disabilities.  FRCD was organized in 1969 by parents, professionals, and volunteers who sought to improve services for all children with disabilities, with efforts to educate and train parents, professionals, and volunteers. Click on Resources at the top toolbar to explore many sources of help for parents of children with disabilities.

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is an independent, not-for-profit hospital located in St. Paul, Minnesota, with clinics in Duluth, Burnsville, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, and services for adult patients at our St.Paul – Phalen Clinic. Gillette is internationally renowned for a level of pediatric expertise that distinguishes us from many health care organizations.

GirlsHealth.Gov was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health  (OWH) to help girls (ages 10 to 16) learn about health, growing up, and issues they may face. promotes healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information in a fun, easy-to-understand way. The website also provides information on Illness & Disability to help teach girls with disabilities, family members, and friends about healthy living.

Got Transition

Got Transition/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement is a cooperative agreement between the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health. They aim to improve transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of new and innovative strategies for health professionals and youth and families. 

Gridiron Heroes

Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation was formed in 2003 with a specific mission: To provide immediate, as well as, long term resources and support to individuals sustaining catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football.

Guide for Parents: Educational Accommodation-Descriptions and Comparison of Section 504 and IDEA (IEP)

By law, students with disabilities are entitled to appropriate accommodations and modifications to assist in achieving and maintaining educational success. This resource, from the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab LIFE Center, provides detailed descriptions of the 504 Plan and Individual Education Plan (IEP) so you can become informed and prepared to work with your child’s or own education team to create an optimal learning experience.

Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

Soft skills help youth succeed in life no matter what they are doing. This consumer education sheet from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability provides helpful hints to enhance and develop communication skills, interpersonal skills, decision making skills, and a desire for lifelong learning.

IN*SOURCE – the Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs

IN*SOURCE is a parent organization that provides support services and educational resources to Indiana families. Through the work of staff and many volunteers, virtually all of whom are parents of persons with disabilities, IN*SOURCE provides parents, families and service providers in Indiana the information and training necessary to assure effective educational programs and appropriate services for children and young adults with disabilities. IN*SOURCE also provides an array of resources to allow parents to quickly assist their children – regardless if the topic is bullying in school or how to transition their child from school into adult life.

International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI) at Kennedy Krieger Institute was founded on the philosophy that individuals with paralysis can always hope for recovery of sensation, function, mobility, and independence, months and even years after injury. The program offers a coordinated continuum of care with services for individuals at all phases of recovery, including an in-patient hospital unit, home- and community-based services, and outpatient specialty programs. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, ICSI is one of the first facilities in the world to combine innovative research with a unique focus on restoration and rehabilitation for children and adults with chronic paralysis. The School Programs at Kennedy Krieger Institute has received awards in leadership and special education. Explore the Special Education section to learn more about programs and events at schools in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and other partnership programs across Maryland.

Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center

As one of twelve spinal cord injury research centers in the U.S., the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center is dedicated to developing effective treatments for both adult and children who live with a spinal cord injury. This goal is guided by their mission: “to develop successful spinal cord repair strategies in the laboratory that can be taken to the clinic in a timely and responsible fashion”.

Middle School and High School Transition Planning

Parents of youth with disabilities should begin thinking about transition (planning for adulthood) as early as possible. Although the formal process of transition planning doesn’t begin until high school, it is helpful to begin thinking about it much sooner. PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment provides various consumer education sheets to assist with this process, including information on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), College Planning, and Preparing for Employment.


MyHealthFinder is an online resource provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It offers personalized health recommendations and information based on age, gender, and other factors. Users can access a variety of tools and resources related to preventive health care, including recommendations for screenings, vaccinations, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. MyHealthFinder aims to empower individuals to take control of their health by providing easy-to-understand information and actionable steps to improve overall well-being.

National Center on Physical Activities and Disabilities Fun and Leisure Summer Camps for Children with Disabilities

This National Center on Physical Activity and Disability factsheet provides a list of summer camps by state to assist children and adults with disabilities in finding a camp that fits their interests, needs, and goals. Programs range from day and overnight camps, to specialized sports and arts and crafts. Click on sections of the Table of Contents at the right toolbar to identify Camp Guides and Online Camp Resources.


National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. The Resources section provides materials on child traumatic stress arranged by audiences, topics, and online research. 

National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home

The National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home provides resources on the medical home model, emphasizing comprehensive, coordinated, and family-centered care for children and adolescents. The medical home serves as the central hub for a child’s healthcare needs, facilitating communication between patients, families, and healthcare providers. AAP offers guidance, tools, and resources to help healthcare professionals implement and optimize the medical home model in their practices. This approach aims to improve health outcomes, enhance patient satisfaction, and reduce healthcare costs by promoting proactive, continuous, and holistic care for pediatric patients.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS)

OSERS is part of the U.S. Department of Education committed to improving opportunities in education and employment for people with disabilities by supporting programs that facilitate equal access to disabled individuals. Here you’ll find research, policies and programs dedicated to this initiative. The website offers detailed information on understanding and implementing important legislation as well as publications and tools for making education and employment more accessible. Within the index in the center of the home page, select Reports & Resources. This page offers publications and fact sheets about employment and educational opportunities, and disability rights.

PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities

PACER Center is a parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth to young adults. Located in Minneapolis, it serves families across the nation, as well as those in Minnesota. Parents can find publications, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services for their children with disabilities. PACER’s YouTube Channel offers many helpful videos on a variety of subjects, including assistive technology, special education, and bullying prevention.

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment provides quality information and resources for families of young adults with disabilities on transition planning, civil rights, work-based learning, career accommodations, higher education, financial aid, and much more. It serves as a comprehensive source of information designed to support families’ varied needs.

Ramp Less Traveled

Ramp Less Traveled provides scholarships and mentoring opportunities to assist those who have sustained spinal cord injuries in the pursuit of higher education. They pair scholarship recipients with experienced mentors who help guide students and their parents along the path to college success. The mentoring relationship is comprehensive and ongoing, and Ramp Less Traveled does their best to ensure a successful and rewarding college entrance following injury. 

Shriners Hospital Pediatric Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Programs

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and teaching programs. Children up to the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care in a family-centered environment with no financial obligation to patients or families. Three locations specialize in pediatric spinal cord injury medicine and rehabilitation; they are located in Sacramento, Ca, Chicago, IL and Philadelphia, PA. Transportation is also provided at no cost.

Social Security-Benefits for Children with Disabilities (Social Security Administration, 2016)

This booklet, from the Social Security Administration, is for the parents, caregivers, or representatives of children younger than age 18 who have disabilities that might make them eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. It is also for adults who became disabled in childhood (prior to 22), and who might be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. (We call this SSDI benefits a “child’s” benefit because it’s paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.) This booklet will help you decide if your child, or a child you know, might b eligible for SSI or Social Security.

Special Needs Answers

The purpose of this site, sponsored by the Academy of Special Needs Planners, is to provide a general overview of strategies parents and others can use to plan for their own futures and for those of family members with special needs. Topics include information on Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Financial Planning, SSI and SSDI, Settlement Planning, Public Benefits, and Disability Issues.  This site also provides a directory of Special Needs Planners by state.

Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future – 5th Edition (Nolo, 2013)

If you care for a child or other loved one with a disability, you’ve no doubt thought about what will happen when you’re no longer able to give that care. Special Needs Trust shows you how to leave any amount of money to your disabled loved one without jeopardizing government benefits.

Tips for Teens: Use Your IEP Meetings to Learn How to Advocate for Yourself

This consumer education sheet provided by the PACER Center provides useful tips for teens in developing self-advocacy skills. It provides information on how to begin to express needs and wants by participating in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. At these meetings, teens can learn ways to talk about their disability to others, set goals, build teamwork skills, ask for accommodations and practice other self-advocacy skills. This single copy form from the PACER publication catalog is for your personal, noncommercial use only. For permission to reprint multiple copies or to order presentation-ready copies for distribution, complete the PACER Reprint Form at or PACER Publication Order Form at

University Accessibility after Spinal Cord Injury – Going to College Video

What is it like to attend a college or university after spinal cord injury? The biggest hurdle is often your perception or confidence in yourself. Once you make the decision that you are ready to attend college, your campus disability services office is available to help with the details. These professionals will coordinate academic accommodations, such as accessible classrooms, note- and test-taking assistance, and e-books, as well as environmental accessibility for classrooms, dorms, and on-campus transportation. This video provides candid remarks from students who have attended school after injury with reflections on how to enjoy the social aspects of college life, like participating in sports, clubs, theater and Greek life, as well as making new friends.

We Can Go Anywhere: My Adventures on Daddy’s Chair, Glen Dick. (Black Rose Writing, 2016)

In this beautiful example of a child’s innocence we are taught that a little imagination can take us a long way. What the rest of the world sees as a limitation becomes a great source of adventure and freedom. Little Elaina shows her dad there is much more to him than meets the eye, and in the process proves that love knows no limitations.

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

The Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities is database of professional contacts for people looking for support or information on any type of childhood disability. Search by state for resources on your child’s disability on topics such as legal advice, healthcare and educational resources, government aid, doctors and specialists. Click you location under Select a State. This will lead you to a list of professionals, programs and resources in your state. A specific listing of Nation-wide Parent Training and Information Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers is also provided on this website.

You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children With Disabilities, Stanley D. Kline and Kim Schive (Kensington, 2001)

This book of personal stories of parents of children living with a disability complied by Stanley D. Kline and Kim Schive.