First-in-Nation Audio Service for Hospitalized Children Launched in Connecticut

In what may be the first program of its kind in the nation, CRIS Radio and Connecticut Children's Medical Center are working together to offer children who are patients at the hospital a new way to pass their time while receiving medical treatment. Connecticut Children's patients may now listen to CRISKids, a service that provides audio versions of articles published in nearly 20 award-winning children's magazines, through the hospital's in-house television system.  The audio alternative to printed magazines - through an in-house system streamed to each patient TV – can be tremendously comforting for young patients unable to read or turn pages of a magazine due to their condition or medical treatment.

CRIS (Connecticut Radio Information System) is a 34-year-old nonprofit based in Windsor and is Connecticut's only radio-reading service providing audio access to news and information for people who are blind or print-handicapped, including those unable to read due to physical, learning, intellectual or emotional disabilities.

CRISKids, the only extensive line-up of audio versions of children's magazines in the nation and Canada, was launched in December 2011.  More than a dozen titles are available, mostly for children aged 4 to 15, including National Geographic for Kids, Science World, Ranger Rick,  Junior Scholastic, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Scholastic News. CRIS radio

CRIS Board Chairman William H. Austin said that the Board “is excited to form a partnership with Connecticut Children's and thankful for the funding support received to bring this project to life.  Comcast provided technical assistance and a donation of special equipment necessary for the project. Other funders of the project include the Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, and the Ahearn Family Foundation.

"The availability of CRISKidsTM in patient rooms will allow children to enjoy educational entertainment, which is an extremely valuable offering and can be a helpful component of the healing process," said Martin J. Gavin, President and CEO of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The CRISKids initiative has received financial support from several foundations, including: Help for the Blind of Eastern Connecticut, Fund for Greater Hartford, The Gibney Family Foundation, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

CRIS Radio records more than 70 newspapers and magazines to provide audio access to printed material for people who are blind and print-handicapped. The audio recordings can be heard with a special CRIS radio, toll-free through the CRIS Telephone Reader, online streaming live or on-demand at the CRIS Radio website,, or with any mobile device, including tablets or smartphones.  CRIS operates with nearly 350 volunteers at its broadcast center in Windsor and four satellite studios located in Danbury, Norwich, Trumbull and West Haven.  The CRISKids program is also available for individual subscription.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center is a nationally recognized, 187-bed not-for-profit children's hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Named among the best in the nation for several of its pediatric specialties in the annual U.S. News & World Report "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.