Aiden S Everyday Joys

“Children’s Specialized Hospital has provided us with such excellent care. I couldn’t ask for a better team for Aiden.”

Expert Care Provides a Young Patient with the Best Quality of Life

At 8 years old, Aiden Shanklin is wheelchair-dependent, has a sensory processing disorder and functions at the level of a 1-and-a-half-year-old.

He also loves to laugh, listen to the acoustic guitar, ride horseback and swim or run his hands under water. Aiden is doing these things and living his best possible life, thanks to the loving care of his family and the expertise of doctors at Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH).

“Children’s Specialized Hospital has provided us with such excellent care. I couldn’t ask for a better team for Aiden,” says his mother, Nicole. “They have given us the opportunity to provide him the best quality of life that we can.”

Questions Answered

When Aiden was 9 months old, Nicole became concerned because he had trouble holding his head up and had no trunk control. “When I would go to lift him, it felt as if I were picking up a rag doll,” she says.

A pediatrician diagnosed Aiden with cerebral palsy (CP), a disorder of movement, muscle tone or motor skills caused by damage to or abnormal development of the brain. CP symptoms often include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs and involuntary motions.

Aiden lived with this diagnosis for six years. Then he was taken to see Adam Aronsky, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at CSH in Mountainside. Dr. Aronsky felt that Aiden’s clinical picture did not align with those of CP patients and suggested that he undergo genetic testing. That led to the discovery that Aiden actually had a GRIN2B mutation, a genetic disorder with symptoms very similar to those of CP.

“Because the symptoms of CP and GRIN2B-related syndrome are so similar, our treatment plan has not changed,” Nicole says. “However, the new diagnosis has provided a lot of answers to my questions.”

Aiden now sees three physicians at the CSH Mountainside location who work together to help with his treatment plan.

Dr. Aronsky treats Aiden’s bone and muscle function. JenFu Cheng, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (physiatrist), provides Botox injections that assist with the parts of Aiden’s body that have high muscle tone (spasticity). Neurologist Andrea Richards, MD, assesses any episodes he may have. For example, when there was concern that a laughing condition was a sign of a seizure, she was able to determine that it was just part of Aiden’s personality.

“This experience has taught me that it’s OK to ask questions, even if you think they don’t make sense or seem silly,” Nicole says.

“I encourage other families going through similar experiences to go with their gut, ask questions, research everything you can and share your experiences with others. You never know who will benefit from your story.”

To learn more, visit Children’s Specialized Hospital or call 1-888-244-5373.

About Children's Specialized Hospital

At Children’s Specialized Hospital, we provide world-class care for children and young adults who face special health challenges across the state of New Jersey and beyond. We treat everything from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities, like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues, like autism and mental health conditions. We have convenient locations throughout the state: Bayonne, Clifton, East Brunswick, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton, Jersey City, Mountainside, New Brunswick, Newark, Toms River and Warren.