Stories about: Dr. Benjamin Shore

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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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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