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Cleveland Attorney Shares Cerebral Palsy News

Mellino Law Firm

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 Palsy…

… 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 hand.”

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 milestone event.

“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

As 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) 276-3535 to schedule an appointment.

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