Acıbadem Comprehensive Spine Center

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Curvy Girls Scoliosis

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Leah Stoltz who founded Curvy Girls will meet us for Scoliosis Awareness Month Speech in Acıbadem Maslak Hospital on 31 May 2015.

Curvy Girls is a network of peer-led support groups that reduce the emotional impact of scoliosis by empowering girls through mutual support and acceptance to become leaders, make healthy lifestyle choices, and improve self-esteem.

Curvy Girls was founded by then 14 year-old Leah Stoltz to connect with girls who knew the challenges of body braces, invasive spine surgery, and other scoliosis struggles.

Leah’s group went global after being featured on the first Teen Nick HALO Awards- Helping and leading others in 2009.The Show honors teens that give back to their community while overcoming hardship.

Now, girls all around the World are following Leah’s example by reaching out to kids in friendship and support.

Leah Stoltz

As founder of Curvy Girls Scoliosis Support Group, I wanted to share with you my experience in having Scoliosis, and how you can help other students affected deal with its everyday challenges. When I was diagnosed and endured years of bracing and ultimately major spine surgery, it was my  School Nurse and Physical Education teacher who made a tremendous difference in my school adjustment.  My School Nurse’s office was a safe place to remove my brace and store it during gym glass. She reassured  me that I could ask her for assistance at any time; I felt that she was very sensitive toward my condition. It’s very important to realize that, aside from being a medical condition, Scoliosis affects us most  emotionally. Kids in middle school try very hard to feel like they fit in. Wearing this uncomfortable  contraption to school every day poses some very embarrassing situations that can become more traumatic  than most people realize. Oftentimes, kids with Scoliosis try very hard to keep their disease a secret from  peers, which can result in emotional stress. Kids with scoliosis frequently face challenges such as:

• Acute self-consciousness around body image and braces

• Avoidance of situations (i.e., gym class, swimming pools, school dances, and proms) where the

secret of the brace or body deformity might be exposed

• Fears of facing major spinal surgery

Students with Scoliosis need to feel that they have an ally in the school. You can help the student with their adjustment in many ways such as:

1) Ensure that they have a person to seek out, and a private space where they can remove, hide, or

store their brace, so that they can avoid questions from their peers;

2) Communicate the student’s needs and concerns to other school personnel, such as late passes,

additional set of textbooks (to reduce carrying a heavy load);

3) Make sure that Scoliosis is discussed in health classes; and

4) Connect the student with counseling services if they show signs of anxiety, depression or withdrawing from peers.

It’s very important that the school be sensitive to children who are being braced for Scoliosis and possibly  facing surgery. Your acceptance and attitude towards your student can make a world of difference. I know,  because they made a difference for me!

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