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New Bilingual Book to Help Children With Spina Bifida Deal with Life Challenges

December 19, 2005
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When 4-year-old Amelia noticed that she couldn't walk like most of her friends, she asked her mother why. To help children deal with emotional issues connected with spina bifida, First 5 LA is partnering with Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Spina Bifida Center to publish the first comprehensive story and activity book in Spanish and English for preschoolers with spina bifida.

“There are an estimated 70,000 people in the US with spina bifida, which is the most common birth defect in this country,” said Claire Austin, author of the book and founder of Imaginative Resources for Children, which develops resources to support children with life challenges.

"Unlike other birth defects that can be corrected with surgery, spina bifida presents complications throughout  childhood," said Austin.

Spina bifida is most prevalent among the Hispanic population, and can result in complications such as paralysis, fluid build-up in the brain, bowel and bladder incontinence, and mental and physical developmental delays.

“There's growing recognition about the value of using children's books to help youngsters deal with the emotional side of their condition,” Austin noted.

Upon publication this spring, the book will be distributed free of charge along with other educational materials to raise public awareness of spina bifida and its prevention.

For information about the project, contact Ana Quiran at (323) 669-7079 or