Get Well Soon...Balloon!

Get Well Soon...Balloon!

Vicki Sue Parker and Susan Beebe, illustrator

Story book helps children understand their emotions and reactions when a parent has a brain injury. Using language for young children, it describes coma, rehabilitation, coming home, and therapy from a child's perspective. It is highly recommended for families of injured veterans and service members.

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Full Description

Captures the upheaval in a child's world when a parent has a brain injury.

Story book for young children helps family members explain the early effects of a brain injury when a parent is hurt. Most of all, it helps children understand their feelings as they try to make sense of their altered world when a parent is absent for†hospital care†rehabilitation. Discusses what's "good and bad" about a parent coming home who now looks and acts different.† Helps children understand coma, brain injury treatment, and rehabilitation therapy. This story book is a helpful tool for young children as they grieve and struggle over a parent's TBI and reform their relationship with that parent.† This book is especially useful for children of service members and veterans who are injured.

ISBN# 1-931117-35-7
Pages 16 pages, 81/2 x 12 full color, 12 illustrations
Year 2005


Vicki Sue Parker

My inspiration for writing The Get Well Soon Balloon came soon after my brain injury. Being a mother of three children, as well as stepmother to two more, I watched as all five tried to cope with the many changes in our lives.

I have always been a consummate book reader to my children. It seemed there was always a book to help guide them at every turn, whether it was a developmental milestone or an emotional adjustment. I spent many precious moments with a young child cradled on my lap or huddled beside me, as I read a story about a child who was going through similar experiences or emotions. As every sentence slowly began to weave its soft thread of magic, a comforting blanket of solace and understanding soon surrounded my child.

Witnessing the struggles of my children after my brain injury, I again looked toward books to help guide them. Finding little in the way of reading material for them, I set my mind to one day writing a book for children that would help them understand what it means when a parent has a brain injury. Although it took over five years before I had recovered enough, writing The Get Well Soon Balloon is the realization of a dream. I hope that children will read this book and feel less isolated in their new and abruptly changing world.

About the illustrator...Susan Beebe

Susan Beebe is an artist and illustrator in Maine who has had many paperdolls, novelty cards and other childrenís products published.

She has created a visual journey in The Get Well Soon Balloon that shows the struggles, emotions and confusion of a child when a parent has a brain injury.

Susan has also illustrated, Elvin the Elephant who Forgets, which is a story book for children about brain injury.

She graduated from Bostonís School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1981. A talented artist, she has many special shows and works in various mediums.


My story...

I live in Mesa, Arizona, where I have resided for the last 23 years. My husband, Tim, and I are currently raising the three youngest of our combined family of five children. Our family also includes our two dogs, a four-year-old Pekinese and a thirteen-year-old American Eskimo.

Prior to my brain injury, much of my career centered around children. My experiences range from working with children with developmental disabilities to dealing with teenagers involved in the juvenile justice system to running a home-based preschool when my children were growing up. My work with children has been varied, but always rewarding.

Four weeks before my brain injury, I received my degree in criminal justice with a 4.0 gradepoint average. I was in the process of interviewing, when my injury put my career path on hold.

I sustained my brain injury on January 28th, 1999 from a fall. I was knocked unconscious and my brain literally bounced around within my skull. Many areas of my brain were damaged and I spent many months in daily intense rehabilitation, learning everything from how to walk and talk correctly, to working on cognitive skills. I still struggle with an ongoing executive function disorder, some sensory and memory deficits, as well as almost daily headaches. I also have a seizure disorder, but have been seizure free for over 2 years now.

While many of my abilities and skills are different now than before my brain injury, I have found ways to compensate for my difficulties. I have regained my life and it is filled with meaning and purpose.

A note from the publisher...

A parent is the most central and important person in the world of a young child. The physical, cognitive, communicative and behavioral changes in a parent that may occur after a brain injury can be confusing, upsetting and frightening to a child. Too often, young children are comforted with well meaning platitudes and shuffled among relatives and friends who act as temporary caregivers. But protecting children by not talking with them or avoiding their questions can lead to even more confusion.

Young children may or may not be able to visit a parent who is in the hospital. If they do visit, it is important to prepare them ahead of time for how a parent will look, act and communicate. Even young children can be involved by simple actions such as holding hands, singing a song, or drawing get well cards. Children will have many questions and it is important to give them time and the opportunity to ask them - as well as the assurance that no question is too silly. Yet giving information to a child about a parentís brain injury must be done in language that the child can understand - otherwise, it can be even more confusing. Young children need very concrete explanations and all children need many opportunities to ask questions, express their fears and worries, and have time to absorb what has happened.

A parentís return home after a brain injury is a big event for the family. It can also become frustrating when life does not return to "normal". Children need a lot of help and support as they adjust to this next stage of recovery. They may show signs of regression and become more dependent or demand more attention. Feelings of anger, blame and jealousy are common and can be directed at anyone - siblings, playmates, or the world in general.

The Get Well Soon Balloon is a story that can be used by families, clinicians, and educators to help pre-school and elementary school age children understand their emotions and reactions.

Detailed images

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