Caregiver honored for creating Book for Autistic Patient

Published: February 23, 2023

LANSING, MI – An E.W. Sparrow Hospital caregiver was recently recognized for creating a book to help communicate with a non-verbal patient with autism.

Tara Bell, a Patient Care Technician since September, used her personal time to create the book, which included pictures of simple instructions, objects, and feelings. The book allowed the patient to point at a picture to successfully communicate her needs.

Starfish Award February 2023 Book with Hand

Tara Bell's special book being reviewed by a Sparrow caregiver.

Starfish Award February 2023 Book

Detail of Tara Bell's book which helped caregivers communicate with a non-verbal patient with autism.

As a result of her compassionate care, Bell was honored with the hospital’s Starfish Award for making a difference and being a true advocate and champion for our most vulnerable patients.  

“To me, creating and having a patient use the visuals successfully was amazing, “ Bell said. “Behavior is a form a communication and everyone deserves to have a voice.”

Sparrow’s Starfish Award celebrates caregivers who provide extraordinary, compassionate, and skillful care every day. It’s based on a poem titled, “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley – emphasizing that no act of kindness, regardless of how small it might seem, is ever wasted.  This is the first Starfish Award given out at E.W. Sparrow Hospital since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Tara Bell - Starfish Award February 2023

Tara Bell, a Patient Care Technician at E.W. Sparrow Hospital, displays her Starfish Award.

Starfish Award February 2023 Group Photo

Sparrow Starfish winner Tara Bell (middle) poses with her award, flanked by her fellow caregivers and leaders.

“The Starfish award reminds us that each one of us can make a difference every day in the lives of those we serve,” said Kathy Marble, Nursing Director, Pediatric Services, E.W. Sparrow Hospital.

Nominations for the Starfish Award are accepted throughout the year from patients, patient families, and caregivers.

To learn more about the compassionate and leading-edge care offered at Sparrow, visit


Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization that includes hospitals in Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit