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Staying Super with Muscular Dystrophy

Are you ready to save the world?

*This project was part of a larger story about Physical Therapy students who created children’s books to help different age groups cope with a diagnosis of Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. Read more about the project here.

It’s easy to see why young kids are attracted to books about superheroes. The pictures are bright and colorful with a message that’s easy to understand. Colin Salander, a Doctor of Physical Therapy student, understood this when he and his classmates designed their book for Dr. Hall’s course. The target audience, a four year old boy with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, would need something that depicted a hard subject in a clear and direct way while still being fun and educational.

“It can be a hard conversation to have as a parent. It can be hard to wrap your head around and cope with as a kiddo because it is a terminal condition. We were hoping to build a framework for the caregivers to have that conversation,” said Salander. 

He believes that doing the work for this project allowed him to better explore the limits of traditional healthcare rhetoric, and how it can sometimes limit the interaction with patients and their families.

“Being in healthcare and having this healthcare background, it’s easy to throw around these words that no one around us knows,” said Salander. This type of coursework is something that Salander thinks should be done by more Physical Therapy students, even starting a bit earlier if the program allows for it. The experience allows for growth and new ideas. 

When asked if there was anything he thought children with DMD would take away from the book, Salander hoped they would see that “just because you have [DMD], doesn’t mean you can’t do all these other things that you see the typical hero do. You can still be a hero to the people around you.”