Cerebral palsy and varying levels of functioning

A recent profile of a 12-year-old boy living with cerebral palsy provides context for current treatment and living adaptions available to people with disabilities. While doctors may not yet have found a cure, the improved functionality offered by recent medical and technological advances is notable.

In this case, the boy has survived a double-hip surgery and is able to attend his local public school in the seventh grade with the assistance of an occupational therapist and a paraprofessional. He can even use a laptop situated on a portable tray on his wheelchair to write blog entries on the social media site Tumblr.

The boy’s future journalistic prospects may be promising, as his blog caught the attention of the site’s chief executive. The Tumblr executive, David Karp, was so impressed with the boy after an initial meeting that he invited him to the corporate headquarters to address all of the Tumblr staff.

Cerebral palsy is a permanent, but not progressive, neurological disorder that typically affects muscular movement and coordination. It is commonly diagnosed in early childhood. The degree of impairment also varies with each patient. Whereas some may be wheelchair bound, others may be able to walk and move with only slight abnormalities.

Medications and surgery may help some patients improve their motor skills. In other cases, adaptations and treatments may improve functioning to the point where a disabled individual may be able to return to work. For a patient for whom that is not possible,Social Security disability benefits might help fill some of the financial gap.

Source: cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com, “A Boy's Life With Cerebral Palsy, Revealed in Tumblr 'Aaronverse',” Justin Matis, Oct. 28, 2013