Master of Arts (MA)
The Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center cares for some of the most medically complicated children in North East area of the United States. The facility, in Yonkers, New York, currently houses 137 residents, who all need 24-hour care and treatment. Many residents live with multiple physical and neurological (brain) disorders, which occurred either at birth or from a traumatic injury or accident. There is an admissions process at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, and only the most severe applicants are accepted.
Flowers, Tatiana D., "Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center: A Residence For Children With Severe Disabilities" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.
Jason’s mother Mindy is very active in his life. She has five other kids, and says she often chooses to spend time with Jason instead of her other children, because Jason is her “special baby.”
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Jason is a resident who needs 24-hour, round-the clock care. He is non-verbal, cannot walk, and “he likes attention,” his caretakers say.
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Jason was born with Cerebral Palsy and a host of other illnesses, which staff never specified. He has been a resident at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center for about eight years.
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This picture was taken during a music therapy session, which treats pain reduction. Jason had been crying minutes before, after he was transferred from his bed to his wheelchair. He has muscle stiffness from his illnesses, and being picked up always causes him pain.
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Many residents at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center do not have family members who come to visit them, for a myriad of different reasons. Mindy and other caretakers say that this can shorten a resident’s life expectancy.
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Before the end of next year, in 2017, Jason will “age out” of the pediatric center, meaning he will have to move to another facility before his 21st birthday. His mother, Mindy says she is considering a facility two hours from where Jason lives now. To learn more about his journey, watch the video below.
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Chelsea prepares to be transferred to her wheelchair before a physical therapy session. Chelsea’s medical diagnosis was disclosed.
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Chelsea and her physical therapist Alicia, play her favorite game during a 30-minute session. This is a special treat for Chelsea when she does exceptionally well in physical therapy.
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Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center specializes in caring for ventilator-dependent children. A ventilator is used as life support for an individual who cannot breathe well enough on his or her own. The center is currently in the process of expanding a new wing specifically for ventilator-dependent children.
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Many children at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center have spinal scoliosis, and on one side of the body, muscles are overstretched, and on the other, muscles are very tight. Therapists often practice reaching for objects to create symmetry.
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Those who know Chelsea describe her as very independent. She often says no when her therapists ask her if she needs assistance.
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Chelsea and her therapist hug at the end of a 30-minute session.
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Reham and a music therapist named James, pull a sock away from each other right before her bedtime. Reham is non-verbal and her eyesight is weakened.
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Reham and James play improvisation games before she goes to sleep around 5 p.m. She loves any kind of sensory stimulation, which her caretakers describe as relaxation for her.
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A nurse at the pediatric center gives Reham a toy to play with just before bed.
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Reham’s nurse does her hair before bedtime, for a second time.
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This photo was taken at the start of Reham’s day around 8:30 a.m. Her nurse consoles her before she begins her morning routine.
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Many residents at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center have oral aversions, and don’t like their teeth brushed.
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Reham, as her nurse brushes her teeth.
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Reham often smiles minutes after she cries. She smiles for much of the day and loves to laugh with therapists and caretakers, and often by herself.
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Like many residents at Elizabeth Seton, Reham requires 24- hour care, she is non-verbal, and cannot walk.
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Some resident’s benefit from sensory stimulation. This is a makeshift station in the common room at the pediatric center, and Reham enjoys watching the colors light up.
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Joshua was one of the most musically inclined residents at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center while he lived there. On this day, Joshua was invited by a staff member to sing with her band at a public bar in Bronx, New York.
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An acquaintance hugs Joshua after his performance at Rambling House Pub in Woodlawn, New York.
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When describing Joshua, one of the first things staff members, caretakers, and other resident’s mention is his musical ability. His love for music began when he was a toddler. To listen to Josh sing, click on the video below.
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Joshua is described as a socialite, somebody who enjoys speaking to any and everybody, and he often likes to crack jokes and yell, “bravo” at the end of any kind of performance.
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At Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, all residents receive different kinds of therapy. Joshua says his favorite is music therapy. Joshua’s music therapist Kristen has taken him to multiple music performances including the Opera and several plays. They have worked together for more than 10 years.
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Joshua waits to be taken to his performance at Rambling House Pub, where he will sing four different songs with a live band. The entire day, he was in an upbeat mood, practicing the songs he would sing that night for anybody who walked by.
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Josh and a music therapist named James joke around before Josh is scheduled to perform at Rambling House Pub in Bronx, New York.
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Five weeks before this project was completed, Joshua “aged out” of the pediatric center, which means he moved to another facility before he turned 21. Staff will not share his whereabouts but they say he is in a facility in Brooklyn. He may not have music therapy at this new facility.