The Children's Institute Blog

Occupational Therapists Donate to Crisis Center North

Posted by The Children's Institute - Apr 11, 2017

Occupational therapists at The Children’s Institute this month are donating at least 100 items to a Pittsburgh-area domestic violence organization to make a difference during the 100th anniversary of the formal founding of their profession.

The items will go to Crisis Center North, a domestic violence counseling and resource advocacy group based in northern Allegheny County. While Crisis Center North serves about 2,000 people each year, the goods are funneled directly to a pool of 250 to 300 people the organization provides counseling and case management. Read More...



Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Chamber Group Visits Our Amazing Kids

Posted by The Children's Institute - Apr 07, 2017


A Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra chamber group was in the midst of performing David Anderson’s “Quintet” for a gymnasium full of students from The Children’s Institute’s Day School when something odd happened. As children clapped rhythmically, a woman from the Information Desk turned on the loud speaker and blurted, quite loudly, that teachers needed support in one of their classrooms.
The quintet didn’t blink.

The quintet, led by bassist John Moore, has played concert halls, high schools and bars, and they say they don’t alter their performance for the crowd or the venue.

“Whether we’re in a small ensemble, whether we’re in Heinz Hall – we do what we do,” John said after Tuesday’s 45-minute performance. “The quality and the music is appropriate in all of those settings.”

Performers includes John Moore on bass, Scott Bell on oboe, Dennis O’Boyle on violin, Andrew Wickesberg on viola, and Ron Samuels on clarinet.

In addition to recreating the modern piece by Anderson – a living composer whose work, John said, references popular culture, as well as orchestral repertoire – each musician performed a solo after a brief introduction to their instrument. The students seemed to love it, clapping and sometimes swaying with the sound. Read More...



Celebrating National OT Month: Ryan's Story

Posted by The Children's Institute - Apr 06, 2017

Ryan Morrow’s been doing his homework.

The Connellsville, Pa.-area seventh-grader has made tremendous progress since coming to The Children’s Institute three years ago, after surgeons removed a brain tumor when medication failed to control seizures he was experiencing.

“When he started out, he could hardly do anything and his right arm had to be tied to the walker,” said Nancy, his grandmother, as she watched Ryan exercise both arms last month on a cycling machine. “Now, he plays ball in the Pony League. He’s come so far.”

“He’s our hardest worker,” said Kristin Bowman, who has worked with Ryan for two of her 12 years as an Occupational Therapist, six of them at The Children’s Institute. “He does whatever you ask him to. You could ask him to stand on his head; he’d say ‘OK.’ I’ve never heard him say ‘No.’”

“That’s why he really is our star pupil – he always gives 110 percent.”

Ryan is just one of the patients we’re profiling this month as we celebrate National Occupational Therapy Month and the centennial anniversary of the profession’s formal founding. Read More...



Celebrating National OT Month: Drew’s Story

Posted by The Children's Institute - Apr 03, 2017

Drew Johnson was born Sept. 22, 2013 a typical central Pennsylvania kid. A texture aversion meant that eating, though, was not negotiable.

“We tried everything – mashed potatoes, a smushed banana. When it hit his mouth, he’d throw up,” said his mother, Jillian. “He would only take two different kinds of baby food and it was Stage One Gerber, the smoothest kind.”

After Gerber changed its ingredients and, in turn, the texture of the food, even that was off the table. Jillian battled to get her son to drink chocolate Pediasure. At times, she felt like there was no hope.

Drew eventually made some progress at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., going so far as to try peanut butter, when an occupational therapist, a former Pittsburgh student, told her about The Children’s Institute. After a five-and-a-half week inpatient stay this year in Squirrel Hill, working with occupational therapist Leslie Paat and student occupational therapist Stacey Sabu, we are excited to report that Drew is eating solid food. Read More...



National Doctors' Day - Dr. Justin Berthold, DO

Posted by The Children's Institute - Mar 30, 2017

Dr. Justin Berthold always knew what he wanted to do for a living. At age 11, in a graphic arts class, he even printed up business cards with his name and chosen profession: “sports medicine physician.”

But what you might not know is that, when he was an undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh, his major wasn’t medicine. It was philosophy.

“Philosophy in medicine is everywhere,” he said, sitting near an oversized Superman statue in his Squirrel Hill office at The Children’s Institute. “We talk about medical ethics. And there’s certainly an art of medicine. Studying both has made me a more rounded individual.”

Dr. Berthold – the Senior Medical Director at The Children’s Institute who today we profile in honor of National Doctors’ Day – joined our organization as Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2015, after completing a UPMC residency in that discipline, and opening a private practice in Forest Hills. (The husband and father of three young children grew up and still lives in Forest Hills.) He became senior director in November. Read More...



Proper Nutrition Impacts Behavior and Development

Posted by The Children's Institute - Feb 09, 2016

Good nutrition leads to better health. And for children with multiple developmental delays and/or complex behavioral challenges, a customized nutrition plan can make a long-lasting impact on progress and growth. The physicians of Developmental Pediatrics at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh use a unique multi-level diagnostic approach to find the causes of and plan successful treatment strategies for developmental and behavioral disorders in infants, children and teens. A thorough evaluation of individual biomedical, environmental and situational influences helps the team to diagnose underlying medical issues and create an individualized care plan. A careful examination of diet and nutrition is a key component in this analysis.or children with multiple developmental delays and/or complex behavioral challenges, a customized nutrition plan can make a long-lasting impact on progress and growth. Read More...



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