Stories about: cerebral palsy

Keeping the bar high: Chasing adventure with cerebral palsy

Maggie has cerebral palsy — and a big smile
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE KING FAMILY

Maggie King is a thrill seeker: At 25, she’s been scuba diving, ridden in a hot air balloon, tackled every ride at Disney World multiple times and even flown to Los Angeles to attend the live finale for the 21st season of the TV show Survivor. “She’s all in, all the time,” says her mom, Dana.

It’s an attitude that Dana and her husband Dennis believe their daughter developed soon after birth, when an episode of anoxia, or severe oxygen deprivation, left her with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy (CP) and other medical concerns. “At first, we were petrified,” says Dana, who was a social worker at Maggie’s birth hospital at the time. “We never expected to be on the other side of things. It was like being in a giant fog.”

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Let’s talk about sex: Guidance for parents of girls with disabilities

sex ed for kids with disabilities
Illustration: Fawn Gracey

Kayla’s* class is starting a sexual education course, but her teacher says she can skip it. Jenna’s special ed class doesn’t offer information on human sexuality. And because Abby doesn’t take gym, she misses the sexual health module taught by her school’s phys ed teacher. Although these three girls attend different schools, they have one thing in common: a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

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By design: Creating toys for kids with cerebral palsy

 

animal face toy
Alex shows off his winning toy.

At first glance, it was a science fair: Teams of middle schoolers proudly presented their projects as judges milled about the room. But a closer look revealed that what the students had constructed was far more meaningful than a classic paper mâché volcano.

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No holding back: Surgery to help treat cerebral palsy changed Eric’s life

adaptive skiing

For the Larsens, hitting the slopes is a family affair. Come winter, everyone travels north to Lincoln, New Hampshire, to ski or snowboard. Mom Carla — once a novice — now teaches adaptive skiing. Older son Nick even met his future wife on Loon Mountain.

But perhaps the sport’s greatest influence has been on son Eric. For years, he helped coach both kids and adults with physical and mental disabilities, teaching them adaptive skiing through the New England Disabled Sports program. His motivation went well beyond simple athleticism, however. He was giving others what skiing had given him as a teenager with cerebral palsy: a sense of belonging, freedom and achievement.

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