As writer Zachary Fenell said August 24, 2013, dealing with the challenges
that cerebral palsy presents can often evoke “frustration, anger,
and embarrassment.” He offered coping mechanisms, such as focusing
on strengths rather than dwelling on weaknesses, but it may help both
cerebral palsy patients and their caregivers to read encouraging news about what people
with CP and the scientific community are accomplishing.
Oxygen and Blood Deprivation Caused Austin Collier’s Spastic Cerebral
… and doctors said he may never recognize his parents. Three-and-a-half
years later, Austin’s mastering the iPad, chasing the dog, and moonwalking.
“On a recent afternoon in the seventh-floor pediatric physical therapy
gym … Austin kept practicing his backward walk even after his session
on the treadmill was over,” said The Buffalo News. “To help
train his muscles, Austin wears a suit made of neoprene and elastic underneath
his clothes that helps him align his body, straighten his legs and adjust
his gait. Since his feet tend to collapse inward, ankle braces made of
hard plastic help support him so he can walk while holding someone’s
Austin’s mother, who quit her job as a technical writer for a biomedical
company in order to care for him, tries to improve his motor skills by
engaging him in a new type of therapy each day. One day, he swims, the
next day, he rides horses, et cetera.
“Everybody’s surprised at what he does,” she told the reporter.
Senior with Cerebral Palsy Attends Prom with Date
Jordan Knapek’s cerebral palsy prevents him from being able to speak,
walk, or eat solid food. He was hospitalized 57 times in four years and
needs round-the-clock care from a nurse and care assistant that his family
jokingly calls “his secret service people.” But May 17, 2014, a
CBS News affiliate reported that Jordan would be attending his prom with Rachael
Conboy, “the best looking girl in the school,” per Jordan
and his speaking device.
Rachael was just as complimentary.
“I never knew that having a friend who can’t communicate could
be the best friend that he is to me,” she said. “[T]here’s
nothing bad that comes out of his mouth about me and I don’t know
if I could say I know anyone else like that.”
Jordan’s mom was excited that her son would be able to attend the
“For him to have this opportunity is just huge for us,” she said.
University Teaches Students with Cerebral Palsy to Dance
For the last five years,
Drexel University, which offers a dance/movement therapy major, has partnered with HMS School
for Children with Cerebral Palsy to choreograph a spring performance.
From May to October, able-bodied students pair up with students who may
not be able to speak or walk but light up on the dance floor.
The collaboration is mutually beneficial, according to Rachel Federman-Morales,
who’s worked at HMS for the last decade.
“The Drexel students learn their partners’ movement repertoire
and dancing style. [T]he HMS dancers lift their heads higher, make eye
contact and are more spontaneous and intentional in their contributions
to the dance,” she said.
Former TV Producer Films Documentary About Son’s Disability
Like many mothers, Kelly O’Brien went through a grieving period after
her son, Teddy, was born and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She wasn’t
sure anyone else would care about what her particular family was going
through, but before Teddy turned three, she decided to go back to school
and learn how to film it so that it would resonate with other parents
of disabled children.
“Films can’t change the world,” she told
The Stir, “but hopefully mine can make a tiny intervention, make the invisible
visible by sharing a different experience of parenting, of family, that
most people fear and would rather not talk about.”
Ultimately, the film taught her what really matters.
“He always pushes me to be a better, kinder person,” she said.
“And despite the fact that he’s deaf and can’t talk
or walk or see very well, he smiles and laughs all the time. He’s
by far the happiest person in our family!”
One Man’s Invention Could Help Prevent Asphyxia-Related Cerebral Palsy
WMTW reported April 30, 2014, “[Cerebral palsy] can impair a person’s
ability to control their body movement and may also impair their speech,
vision, and ability to eat or drink. … [The condition] affects
between two and six infants out of every 1,000 births.”
One-tenth of those cases could be due to oxygen deprivation within the
first six months of pregnancy, per
Medical News Today.
Kenn Carr, founder of Meridian Medical Systems and Applied Thermologic,
hopes his new, non-invasive
medical device will prevent asphyxia “by lowering their body temperature and by
monitoring the brain temperature,” according to WMTW. Unfortunately,
the antenna is still in the development phase and may take years to gain
FDA approval and hit the market.
Do You Have Questions for Our Cerebral Palsy Attorneys?
If you have questions about your child’s cerebral palsy disability, attorney
Chris Mellino invites you to
contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also call (440) 333-3800
to schedule an appointment.