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'Class' At Hospital Helps Young Patients Who Are On The Mend

By Britt Moreno

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - Tragedy struck a Colorado Springs family as they were on their way to Back to School Night in August. Now another "school" is helping this family learn some important lessons.

The classes take place at Children's Hospital Colorado, and the "students" are patients.

(credit: CBS)

In the classroom, students are momentarily set free and forget they are on the mend. They are learning more than Science and English, like 10-year-old Marissa Ferris, who is learning to manage her new body.

Marissa Ferris
Marissa Ferris (credit: CBS)

"She is a miracle. It's a miracle she is here," her mother Aimee told CBS4.

An 83-year-old driver t-boned Aimee, Marissa and her 8-year-old brother in the crash.

"We spun and hit a pole. Marissa took the impact. She broke almost every bone from her neck up," Aimee said.

Marissa Ferris
(credit: CBS)

Marissa was in a coma. Doctors could not assure her parents whether she would ever wake up, but she fought and several weeks later, she did.

Marissa is blind in one eye and has had to relearn how to chew, swallow and speak. Her mom says the team saved her.

Marissa Ferris
(credit: CBS)

Teacher Jodi Krause is an education specialist in brain injury. She tailors the classes to each child's needs. The teachers will even hold class in hospital rooms for the sickest children (those battling cancer or waiting for organ transplants).

"I love it and I would never do anything else," says Krause.

(credit: CBS)

Krause told CBS4's Britt Moreno that teachers are learning how to stretch their skills and the dollar.

"We are scraping by to make all these fabulous things happen, so kids have the best experience," she said.

The school needs more teachers and resources.

Teachers will even visit the kids' normal schools, so that those educators are aware of the child's new needs after he or she is released from the hospital.

"They are leaving here much different than the way they come in," said Krause.

The school needs more teachers and more resources. If you would like to help, you can choose "inpatient school program" in the donation instructions box at

Britt Moreno anchors the CBS4 morning and noon newscasts and is the Wednesday's Child reporter. She loves hearing from viewers. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @brittmorenotv.

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