Susan Harryman concentrates on can-doLike a skilled...


November 06, 1994|By Mary Corey

Susan Harryman concentrates on can-do

Like a skilled mechanic, Susan Harryman examines the tires, foot rests and pelvic straps on Matthew Rice's wheelchair, pausing to smile as the 8-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, relates his latest accomplishment: walking from the school bus.

"Wow," says Ms. Harryman, director of physical therapy at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. "Good for you!"

For the past 30 years, what's been good for Ms. Harryman has been good for countless disabled children.

A pioneer in the field of pediatric physical therapy, she has helped youngsters with cerebral palsy, mental retardation and many other developmental problems meet their potential while becoming an advocate for them and their families.

She's worked to set high standards, lobbying for a state law licensing physical therapy assistants, serving on a panel to develop criteria for the field, and consulting with the Justice Department about suits brought on behalf of disabled people.

Growing up in Massachusetts, she became interested in physical therapy after watching young friends deal with polio.

Her style, she says, is to focus on a child's abilities, not limitations.

"You look at the strengths of each kid, instead of looking at 'this poor little child who may not walk,' " says Ms. Harryman, 57, who lives in Northeast Baltimore.

Although she manages 23 employees and oversees a department where some 70 patients visit daily, she still spends 25 percent of her time treating youngsters.

For Ms. Harryman, a grandmother of three, one of the greatest pleasures is watching children she's treated have healthy children of their own.

"You see the families grow as well as the kids grow," she says. "That's kept me in the field."

Roy Harrell looks at an old American-Indian Navajo rug or a pair of worn moccasins and envisions what life must have been like when these items were brand-new.

"I've always had an interest in the American West," says Mr. Harrell, a Baltimore County antiques dealer who specializes in Native-American art.

Native-American art is probably more prominent in places such as Santa Fe, N.M., but there are many people living on the East Coast who love it, he says.

This weekend, everyone in this area who loves Native-American art can see and buy it.

Mr. Harrell, 35, has organized the area's first American-Indian antiques show. The show, at the Hyatt Regency-Crystal City in Arlington, Va., began yesterday and continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be more than 75 dealers exhibiting and selling thousands of pre-1940 Native-American antiques.

Two seminars are on the schedule Sunday as well: "Navajo Weaving: A Collector's Vision" at 9 a.m. and "Cheyenne Beadwork" at 3:30 p.m. General admission is $6; seminars, $15.

"There are generally four or five major shows in this country, but they are out West," says Mr. Harrell, who works out of his house.

"There's been a need for an East Coast version for a number of years. I've felt that the time was right now because of the $H renewed interest in Native-American material."

9- Call (410) 592-3229 for more information.


Sandra Crockett

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