A 14-years old boy from Temecula, California left with a big smile on his face after a cashier working at a supermarket invited him behind the counter to help her check out a couple of items. This simple act of kindness on the cashier’s behalf made the boy so happy that he could not contain his laughter during his stay.
Andy Robinson, a 14-years old boy from Temecula, suffers from a harrowing condition called cerebral palsy, a permanent mental and movement disorder. Affecting four in 1000 children, this condition cannot be cured, and its symptoms worsen over time.
Although the symptoms vary from case to case, the telltale signs of cerebral palsy are stiff muscles, tremors, inability to coordinate, posture problems, and weak muscles. Patients suffering from this condition will also exhibit speaking, hearing, vision, and hearing issues, and, in worse cases, the condition inhibits the patient’s reasoning and thinking skills.
Cerebral palsy is an early childhood condition, and, in most cases, the causes remain a mystery. However, recent medical research has identified several risk factors such as preterm birth, toxoplasmosis/rubella infection, mother’s exposure to substances such as methylmercury in the early stages of pregnancy, and genetic background.
The child might develop cerebral palsy if he or she suffered head trauma. Although this condition cannot be cured, it can be managed using a combination of medication, therapy, assistive devices, and surgery.
For example, regular injections with a botulinum toxin can be used to reduce spasticity. Phycological therapies such as speech therapy, occupation therapy, music therapy, and family-centered care can also be employed to help an individual overcome thinking and speech impairment, and improve the social integration process.
Musculature-focused therapies such as whole-body vibration, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, biofeedback, and physiotherapy would often be used to improve impaired motor functions. More radical approaches to managing cerebral palsy include selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening (to loosen tight muscles), baclofen pump insertion (to decrease muscle flexion), and rhizotomies (severing nerves on the areas which are most affects by muscle spasms).
As for the young man from Temecula with cerebral palsy, Andy felt at ease and happy, because he was the center of attention. Robinson’s mother said that she and her son would often come to the supermarket, where her son would jump at any occasion to help someone. Staying behind the counter and checking out items, is one of Andy’s favorite activities.
Image source: Wikipedia