Cubs’ new mascot and rookies visit young fans
More than a dozen Chicago Cubs prospects from the Cubs Rookie Development Program, along with the Cubs’ new mascot, Clark, visited the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago on January 13, bringing excitement to some of the hospital’s youngest patients and their family members.
“Having a child with autism or other developmental challenges impacts family life and family traditions,” says Karen Fried, Psy.D., director of Developmental Pediatric Services at Illinois Masonic. “If a child has social, communication or behavioral challenges, the family may find it difficult to participate in their favorite community activities, like going to a baseball game, a restaurant or a place of worship. A feeling of isolation can result, precisely when social support and connectedness are needed most. For our patients and their parents and siblings, the visit from the Cubs was an opportunity for joy, to feel connected to their home team and home community.”
Fried says the Cubs are an important community partner for Advocate Health Care in helping families of children with special needs experience full inclusion in community life. Illinois Masonic is part of Downers Grove, Ill.- based health system, Advocate Health Care, the official health care sponsor of the Chicago Cubs.
Illinois Masonic’s Pediatric Developmental Center offers diagnosis and treatment for children and adolescents with autism and other developmental challenges. The center’s multi-disciplinary team strives to develop new and innovative ways to assist young people in reaching their fullest potential, with a family-focused approach that enables the team to address the individual needs of the child as well as those of the siblings, parents and entire family.
Fried adds that the Cubs’ visit was a meaningful opportunity for patients to practice important social and communication skills, like introducing themselves, asking and answering questions, imitating actions, being polite, playing a game with rules, showing good sportsmanship, staying calm in a new situation and demonstrating flexibility and self-control.
“The children are working on these skills in individual and group therapy, but it rounds out their learning experience tremendously if they can practice and master these skills in a natural environment,” Fried says. “We are grateful to the Cubs for partnering with us to create such a rich experience for our children and families.”
The visit was also a great learning opportunity for the Cubs rookies, says Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, Jason McLeod.
“Players in our Cubs Rookie Development Program are learning what it takes to transition to the Major Leagues, which includes serving as a positive role model to our fans. Our young players were able to experience the positive community interaction expected of them at the Major League level and, specifically, as a member of the Chicago Cubs,” McLeod says.
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