Five Servings of Strength- a column by Michael Casten

conferences, musical talents, dogs

Michael is married and a father of three, one being a child with SMA Type II (born in June, 2011). He is an educator who has worked directly with children and their families since 1994. He loves his family, writing, working with his hands, and taking road trips. Michael holds a bachelor’s in psychology (1994) and a master’s in education (2001).

Ella Has Fun While Sheltering at Home

Ella, 10, the youngest of our three children, is thriving. She has friends from school, in the neighborhood, and online. She sings in a community choir, and occasionally plays with her siblings. Due to Ella’s disease, spinal muscular atrophy type 2, which directly affects her respiratory…

Ella Has Made Big Gains Since Diagnosis Day

My daughter Ella was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 at 14 months old. Our doctor offered us the hope that although there wasn’t a treatment or cure at the time, there was equipment we could use and therapies we could engage her in to give…

Ella’s Wheelchairs Became Simpler Over Time

Life has been a roller coaster since my youngest daughter, Ella, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 at 14 months old. Shortly after her diagnosis, Ella received a power wheelchair from our insurance company. It was 400 pounds, raised and lowered to the ground,…

Ella Discovers the Joy of Reading Books

Our daughter Ella is in fifth grade, learning remotely. Every day, she logs into her Zoom classroom and takes on the day’s lessons. She is dedicated to her education and enjoys her classmates, albeit online. When she has breaks during her studies, Ella plays…

Ella Creates Special Bonds With Her Pets

My 10-year-old daughter with SMA, Ella, loves animals, so much so that she has a computer game simulating the adoption, trading, and buying of animals with others. She and her friends play that game every day. We have several animals in the house, including two…

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