Building Bridges to Help Families
Building Bridges to Help Families
Child Neurology Foundation Scholarships Alyssa Edwards (3)

I’m Haley, a dedicated social worker at Hope for HIE, where my journey uniquely intertwines professional expertise with my personal experience as a parent. This dual perspective deeply informs my passion for supporting families navigating the challenges of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)—a complex condition where each family’s needs are distinct. With 16 years of experience in social work, I’ve learned the invaluable role of collaboration in providing comprehensive care. I’m particularly excited about leveraging virtual options and free resources to enhance our support.

Unlike the transient support in hospital settings, my role allows me to offer continuous, in-depth assistance, ensuring families receive not just immediate care but ongoing support through their journey. A cornerstone of this approach is our collaboration with professionals like Vivian Medrano from the Child Neurology Foundation, within the supportive network of the Neurology Social Services Network (NSSN).

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Strengthening Connections, Building Bridges

We usually get referral from hospitals or families can self-refer. But for me, I love how each social worker I know has their own area of expertise  – and if I need any other information, they will be a great resource. By using your own strength with the strength(s) of others, you can give these families the best support they can get. With CNF, I use Vivian. She’s going to be my first call.

The collaboration between Hope for HIE and the Child Neurology Foundation, represented in my work with Vivian, transcends mere information exchange. It’s a dynamic partnership that crafts a multi-layered support system, uniquely tailored to each family’s journey through HIE. Our interactions often illuminate new paths to enhance our support, reinforcing our shared commitment to making a significant difference. For example, our combined expertise recently guided a family through the labyrinth and often intimidating list of educational accommodations for their child, showcasing a very practical impact of our collaborative efforts.

The Approach: Valuing Parental Expertise

Recognizing parents as the primary experts on their child’s needs is fundamental to our work. The path through an HIE diagnosis can be isolating, but building connections, sharing stories, and advocating for your child can illuminate the way forward. Each day, I see the impact of this advocacy, whether it’s navigating hospital policies, securing educational supports, or simply ensuring a child’s daily needs are met with empathy and understanding.

By focusing on the present and celebrating each victory, we can address today’s challenges without being overwhelmed by uncertainty. Our collaborative efforts, like the guidance provided to families seeking educational resources, underscore the strength of our partnership. These real-life examples demonstrate how combining our expertise forms a robust support system for families navigating neurological conditions.

Haley Thomas, LMSW

About Haley Thomas, LMSW

Haley is a licensed social worker with nearly 16 years of dedicated service in the inpatient hospital setting. Her extensive experience and compassionate approach have been instrumental in providing support to countless families during critical times in their lives. In 2023, Haley joined Hope for HIE expanding the social work role and scope of programs and services.

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