Stories about: Cerebral Palsy Center

Chloe’s story: ‘It’s okay to be different’

spinal dysgenesis

In a lot of ways, I’m like any 13-year-old: I like to FaceTime with my friends, play with my younger brother Ethan and our three dogs and post selfies on Instagram. I also play clarinet and love to sew, knit, quilt and make other crafts. But I’m different, too — and I want other kids to know that it’s okay to be different.

I was born with spinal dysgenesis, which means that one of my vertebrae was out of place and pinching my spinal cord. As a result of the surgery to fix it, I have a problem called post-operative paraplegia — I can’t move my legs when I want to. I use a wheelchair to get around most of the time. I think of the chair as being part of me, but it doesn’t define me.

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Teamwork and toughness: Living with cerebral palsy

María Sordo cerebral palsy Thriving lead image

Growing up in Querétaro, Mexico, María was an exceptionally bright and inquisitive child. At just 18 months old, she spoke at the level of a 6-year-old, and could even sing the tongue-twisting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” song. Her parents marveled at her intelligence at such a young age, but there was something in her development that seemed off.

“At 1 year, she wasn’t crawling well and had difficulty standing,” her mother, María José, recalls. “She hadn’t learned to walk by 18 months, and she would crawl by pulling her two legs at the same time — like a little bunny.” Her parents knew that something was wrong, so they took her to see a pediatrician in their home country of Mexico.

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Enjoying life to her full potential with cerebral palsy

Stella is thriving with cerebral palsy

For a month, Nikki Puzzo walked around with a hockey puck strapped to her torso. But this mother of two wasn’t just being silly or exhibiting her love of sports. Instead, she was demonstrating solidarity with her younger daughter, Stella. The little girl, who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy (CP), had a device called a baclofen pump implanted into her abdomen. “I wanted her to feel more comfortable and know that she wasn’t alone,” explains Nikki.

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