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Family Handout(SEATTLE) -- Amelia, a blind 8-year-old girl from Seattle, is flipping the script and empowering her fellow sighted classmates with braille Valentine's Day messages this holiday.

Using a Perkins Brailler, known also as "a braille typewriter," Amelia wrote individualized compliments for each of her second-grade classmates, such as "I think you're really smart" and "You're an awesome artist," according to her mother Gail, who asked ABC News to only identify her and her family by first name due to privacy concerns.

Amelia attached the personalized messages to pink hearts containing the word "love" spelled alphabetically and in braille, Gail told ABC News Saturday.

Her husband Mike posted a photo of the handmade Valentines on Thursday to Reddit, where they've since gone viral, getting positive responses like "This is by far the most adorable thing I've seen on Reddit" and "As someone who is blind, you're doing it right."

Gail said it's been wonderful to see all the overwhelming support but she wants to emphasize that "Amelia is a typical, awesome girl who just happens to be blind."

"She survived eye cancer as an infant, lost her sight, but she's just like everyone else," Gail said. "It's funny because people have such low expectations for her. They're surprised she can talk and do all these things, but it's not like blind people can't do them. They just do them in a different way."
The mother added her 8-year-old plays the violin, takes swimming lessons and is currently learning to ride a unicycle.

"If anything, I hope her story helps promote understanding and acceptance of blind children," she said. "I think sighted people don't get glimpses into blind people's world very often, so it's really cool this is creating conversations about blindness and braille and dispelling a lot of misconceptions."

Gail added that she hopes more people reading Amelia's story educate themselves about echolocation, a technique in which people who are blind use palatal clicks to navigate and "see" the world around them.

"Using echolocation and click sounds, she can walk down the street and tell, 'Oh! There's a tree!' or 'Oh! There's an alley" Gail said. "We've seen her gain so much independence and confidence through this. We're trying not to coddle her or treat her any different than her sighted 5-year-old brother. Amelia has unique challenges, but then again, so does every other child."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In case you needed another reason to fear flu season, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released new pictures showing the physics behind sneezing.

Just a warning, there's a lot of splatter.

The researchers used high-speed cameras and examined 100 sneezes from three healthy subjects. Their goal was to photograph the split second when the sneeze hits the air to see just where those droplets end up.

Researchers found that instead of a uniform cloud of droplets, a single sneeze would fragment in the air similar to paint being flung onto a canvas, the researchers said.

“It’s important to understand how the process of fluid breakup, or fluid fragmentation, happens,” said Lydia Bourouiba, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and head of the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory at MIT.
Part of the mission was to explore the physics of "droplet size distribution, and the resulting prediction of the downstream range of contamination,” Bourouiba said in a statement.

The researchers were surprised to see that fluid from a sneeze can balloon into the air before bursting into tiny filaments.

“What we saw was surprising in many ways,” Bourouiba said. “We expected to see droplets coming out fully formed from the respiratory tract. It turns out that’s not the case at all. And this gives us a good baseline to expand our mechanistic understanding of violent expirations.”

By seeing how a sneeze travels, Bourouiba said researchers will have a better understanding of how a disease can spread through a population.

Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies, said the study give a clear example of why it's so important to cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or sleeve.

"This is goes to show why the germs are so transmissible just like paint it can splatter," said Esper, who was not involved in the MIT study. "This is still a 2-D image. You don’t get the depth. Its cone of splatter and cloud of splatter [a 3-D image] would truly show you why the flu is able to go through schools and daycare and your home so quickly."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(GARDENDALE, Ala.) -- An Alabama woman said her daughter remains partially paralyzed 18 months after being infected with enterovirus D68.

Kim Dillashaw said her daughter Kinley Galbreath, 7, can only move her right leg and her left hand months after coming down with the virus.

"She was quadriplegic and on life support in 24 hours," Dillashaw told ABC News.

In 2014, enterovirus D68 quickly spread throughout much of the U.S. although most people infected experienced minor respiratory symptoms before recovering. Enterovirus D68 causes wheezing, coughing and runny nose. Enterovirus D68 poses serious risks for individuals with asthma because they're more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.

The spread of enterovirus D68 also coincided with a rise of pediatric paralysis cases throughout the U.S. While officials have not definitively linked the virus to the paralysis, they are still looking at a possible association.

There were 1,153 confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 during the outbreak from 2014 to 2015. Officials from the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the actual number was likely far higher.

Dillashaw, of Gardendale, Alabama, said that Kinley had mild asthma but that her infection progressed quickly. At first she just showed signs of sluggishness but Dillashaw said she felt "in my heart that something wasn’t right when she became sick."

Although she took her daughter immediately to the emergency room, Kinley became so sick that she needed help breathing and swallowing.

"She became completely quadriplegic," said Dillashaw. "Now in an 18-month period she has regained the [use of her] right leg and her left hand and wrist."

Dillashaw said Kinley needs machines to breathe but her condition hasn't impacted her fun-loving personality.

"She loves drawing and coloring and does that with her right foot," said Dillashaw. "She plays her iPad with her foot."

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said other viruses, like polio, can lead to severe inflammation in the spinal cord that can cause permanent or long-term damage.

"[Viruses can] attack the critical cells involved with movement and motor function" causing pressure to build, Schaffner explained. "If the cells had not been actually destroyed but only rendered dysfunctional," a patient may recover and regain movement and feeling, he noted.

Schaffner, who has not treated Kinley, said the issue is that too much pressure can cause cells to die, leading to permanent damage.

Dillashaw said with intense therapy, Kinley has been able to move her left hand again and she's hopeful her daughter will keep making slow but steady progress.

Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, said it's difficult to link Kinley's symptoms to enterovirus D-68.

"It’s not been clear cut, it’s difficult to diagnose...a link," he said. "To figure out we do a brain biopsy," which is difficult to do in living patients, he noted.

Esper said people with lingering paralysis after a viral infection can be in treatment for months or even years as they retrain their muscles.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBINE, Colo.) -- Sue Klebold, the mother of Columbine killer Dylan Klebold, sat down with Diane Sawyer for her first television interview to talk about the son she remembers and how she missed warning signs that could have helped save him and other victims.

In her book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, out on Feb. 15, Sue Klebold writes about how it took her years to come to terms with the fact that her son had committed such a brutal and horrific crime before ending his own life. Klebold said she is donating her book profits towards research and charitable foundations focusing on mental health issues.

ABC News spoke to several experts who have studied mental health in children and teens, as well as studied the Columbine tragedy.

“Early on everyone was looking for the profile of a school shooter,” said Dr. Peter Langman, psychologist and author of “School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators.” “The consensus now is there is no profile. Different types of people commit different types of attacks for different reasons. And it's important to recognize just how diverse school shooters can be.”

In a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of nearly 14,000 American teenagers, 17 percent of high school students report they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. Eight percent had attempted suicide one or more times in the past year, and 2.7 percent of high school students actually made a suicide attempt that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that required medical attention.

“And many times, those attempts have not ever been detected by anybody,” said Dr. Gregory Fritz, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “This is self-report data, but it’s very consistent year over year."

Experts discussed tips for parents who may be concerned about their children and how to recognize certain warning signs that could mean a child needs help.

1. Watch For Changes in Behavior

Parents know their child’s behavior patterns better than anyone, experts say, so parents should look out for changes in their kid’s mood or behavior that seems out of place.

“First, what you do is [ask] ‘what is the typical, normal behavior of this person on any given day?’” said Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, a former FBI profiler and psychologist. “And now, let's compare and contrast it to the behaviors seen now. And how is that different? Then, you can start to give more credibility to those behavioral changes.”

Fritz agreed and suggested parents take notice of when their child’s personality changes and how it changes over time. It’s not so much that they are happy one day and grumpy the next, he said, it’s that they seem to get progressively more down or angry.

“It's sort of a continuum, a gradual increase from no depression to very profound depression,” Fritz said. “But instead of sleeping late, it's in bed all day, or instead of complaining about the food, they stop eating.”

2. Recognize Problems Without Rationalizing Them Away

Experts say parents shouldn’t ignore their instincts if they feel a child isn’t doing well or something seems to be bothering them and they are shutting down. They should seek outside help.

“If they [parents] are sensing pain or problems in their kids, they just want so much for it to go away and not be there in the first place,” said Fritz. “But it also gets in the way of recognizing problems when they need to be recognized or, rationalizing away evidence that really shouldn't be rationalized away.”

Sometimes, Langman said, a child can be very direct and openly talk about wanting to kill or hurt others or themselves, and parents shouldn’t ignore those statements.

“I once had a student in the hospital I evaluated, he had articulated seven different methods of mass murder at his school. He had thought about this a lot,” Langman said. “But the mother's response was, ‘You know, he's a nice boy. He's never hurt anyone. It's just fantasy.’ And maybe he never would've done anything. But there was reason to be concerned. But it was hard for her to believe the boy she had always loved would be capable of that.”

3. Parents Should Focus on ‘Active Listening’

Fritz suggests sitting down with your child in a quiet place without distractions where you can calmly ask them what’s wrong and explain to them why you are concerned.

“You say,‘you said nothing was wrong yesterday when you came home from school, but I can tell that you were feeling bad. Tell me what went on yesterday. I just want to understand,’” Fritz said.

He added that parents shouldn’t feel afraid to ask their kids directly if they are feeling suicidal if there is that concern.

Experts say it’s important for parents to talk to their child from a place of love instead of demanding their child to tell them what’s wrong.

“Say it with the idea that, ‘The reason I'm talking to you is because I love you, and I don't want anything ever in the world to hurt you, and I know you're sad and I know … your world is very dark right now, but I love you this much, that whatever we need to do, we're going to do,’” O’Toole suggested.

4. For Parents, Normal Rules of Privacy Don’t Always Apply

It can depend on the age of the child, Fritz said, but parents should have access to their kids’ social media passwords and even regularly ask their kids to show them their writings or share what they talk about or read online.

There’s a difference between a student writing a dark fiction story and a troubled kid planning to carry out an attack, experts say, so it’s important for parents and teachers to pay attention to detailed descriptions their kids might say in conversation or write down.

“Look for steps that the student has taken to carry out the threat,” O’Toole said. “For example, a student writes that they are going to go into the school, and they are going to shoot and kill fellow students on February the 1st, that's very specific. But you also want to look for, okay, has the student been purchasing guns? Have they gone on a website and tried to purchase ammunition? Have they been going to a firing range? So each detail you get, you take it the next step further to make sure that this is not a student who is just saying some scary things.”

5. Engage Your Child’s Community of Teachers, Doctors and Mentors on Mental Health

If parents feel they aren’t getting anywhere with their child but still feel something is wrong or their child is depressed, Fritz suggests parents reach out to their child’s teachers, coaches, physician, pastor or other adults in the child’s life.

Parents who are especially worried about their kids often have a harder time getting through to them, Fritz added.

“It's not easy, and especially … not easy in teenage years, because there's so much turmoil, there's so much change, teenagers are uncomfortable with themselves much of the time and they're in the process of breaking away from their parents and establishing their own identity,” Fritz said. “So there's always that little bit of tussle and some acting out and that sort of thing… [but] if there's a problem there that the parent can't get to. And I would encourage them to get professional help.”

6. Treat Mental Health the Same Way You Treat Physical Health

While it can be hard to find mental health services in certain areas, Fritz said parents shouldn’t be afraid to book an appointment with a therapist for their child or have their child undergo a mental health screening, even if it’s just the child’s primary doctor asking a few questions.

“I think that parents shouldn't feel like that getting an evaluation from a mental health professional is any different than getting an evaluation for a cough or a chest pain or something from a pediatrician, and the threshold shouldn't be very high,” Fritz said. “There's rarely a downside to it.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Unlike New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day is not known for being one of the most dangerous days of the year. Overdosing on chocolate, it turns out, is less likely to kill you than drunk driving or fireworks gone awry.

But on any day when emotions are running high, emergency room doctors are destined to bear witness to insane -- and sometimes intimate -- episodes in their ERs.

Chocolate Mousse Surprise

Sometimes, for example, the excitement of a Valentine’s Day proposal ends in tears -- and not just the happy kind.

“I had a woman who swallowed her engagement ring in chocolate mousse and then was so excited, she passed out and broke her nose at a restaurant,” recalls Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

A trip to the ER might have dampened the mood for some couples, but not this one, he said.

“She was so happy to be engaged, all of the drama really didn't upset her,” Glatter said. “She passed the ring a few days later in her stool, and then sent us a box of chocolates as appreciation.”

Risky Business

Based on Glatter’s tales, it seems as though Valentine’s Day marriage proposals are an under-publicized public health risk.

Glatter remembers treating another woman who suffered a cervical spine fracture when she hit the headboard during a passionate night in the bedroom on Valentine’s Day. One might think that an emergency room visit would have put an end to further romantic gestures for the night, but “her boyfriend still proposed to her on a gurney” in the hospital, Glatter said. Fortunately, she recovered fully and the couple went home engaged.

Glatter said that people tend to get overly enthusiastic on holidays, taking risks and possibly endangering themselves or others.

“People are excited, they want to do novel things,” he said. “The problem is when they overdo it.”

For some novelty-seekers, risks result in a “Casanova Fracture.”

Dr. Alexander Kleinmann, an emergency physician at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, explained that a Casanova Fracture is a heel fracture associated with lumbar spine fracture that ensues after jumping out a window -- “historically when the husband comes home to find his wife in bed with another man,” explained Kleinmann. He has seen numerous such cases, particularly around Valentine’s Day.

Glatter also noted that Valentine’s Day can be a time when lonely hearts get lonelier, putting those who are prone to depression at risk.

“Be mindful of that. Support your friends,” Glatter advised. And for goodness sake, be careful with drinking and engage in safe sex, he cautioned.

A Valentine’s Day Miracle

While ingesting a wedding ring or jumping out a window may not make for the perfect holiday, not all Valentine’s Day surprises are unwanted.

Dr. Eric Lavonas, an emergency room physician at Denver Health Medical Center and ACEP spokesman, recalled treating a couple who came in to the emergency room after a Valentine’s Day car crash. They were moderately banged up, he said, nothing too serious. But in an instant, their routine exam turned into something life-changing.

“In the course of taking their medical histories, it came out that they had been struggling with infertility,” he said. Before taking an X-ray, he did a routine pregnancy test. “Surprise! The routine test confirmed she was pregnant.”

Lavonas said he got the couple in a room together -- the mother-to-be in a neck brace and the father with his leg suspended in traction -- and broke the happy news.

While most people who come in to the ER don’t leave with unanticipated positive news, Lavonas said the “privilege of being participants in important moments in people’s lives” is a “tremendous pleasure” of his job.

“I remember the two of them hugging and crying in the emergency department,” he said. “It was the thing they most wanted in the world -- and I got to tell them they had it all along.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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