Seven-year-old Max loves the colors purple and brown, Toyota Siennas, spaghetti and car washes. His very cute smile will always brighten my mood when I’m tired of writing product descriptions. And Max has special powers.
Shortly after Max was born he suffered a bilateral stroke, which resulted in his having cerebral palsy. Ellen Seidman, Max’s mom, chronicles Max’s struggles and successes (as well as her own) on her blog, Love That Max. Today we want to celebrate some of the amazing things that Max has accomplished too, as part of the Amazing Kids series!
Cerebral Palsy can affect a person’s movement and motor skills; create sight based, perceptual problems and sensory issues; limit communication and sometimes limit cognition. But despite everything that Max is up against, he accomplishes amazing feats all of the time!
For instance, Max has a knack for identifying car models. He frequently points out his favorite Toyota Siennnas, distinguishing them from other types of mini vans. He can also identify a Honda Accord, which his babysitter drives. Most impressive of all, he recently identified a Lincoln Town Car like the one his family took to an airport 18 months prior. When he saw one he excitedly said “airplane!”
It has historically been difficult for Max to enjoy noisy or crowded public places without getting upset. But it looks as if he might be breaking down this personal barrier. Ellen reports that he was able to interact with guests and have lots of fun at his cousin’s large birthday party recently AND happily went out to get a haircut within the same week!
Max’s speech was affected by his cerebral palsy, but recently he has been exciting his parents and Love That Max readers by pronouncing words with more and more precision. A video of Max on the phone with his grandma, shows him pronouncing a “sh” sound and perfecting his pronunciation of the word “NOOOO!” In September Max reportedly pronounced “getting dressed” over the phone more clearly than any words Ellen had ever heard him say.
“Something really big is going on with Max’s speech. I mean, B-I-G,” writes Ellen in this post. “It’s just a little over a year after the stem cell infusion. And I’m beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it did something.”
On August 25, 2009 Max received a stem cell injection from his banked cord-blood as part of a Duke University Clinical Trial and if Max’s recent progress is linked to it, there’s exciting news for kids with cerebral palsy everywhere.
There’s no way to know yet if there is a connection. The important things to consider about Max’s progress and effectiveness of the stem cell injections are: A) Max was already making amazing progress B) He has a large support network of friends, family, teachers and therapists who help him to learn and grow all of the time and C) Cerebral palsy affects everyone differently.
The best news is that Max continues to show signs of progress. Congratulations to Max who uses his special powers to spread smiles and hope!
This has been a Growing Tree Toys Amazing Kids post. All photographs are property of Ellen Seidman and were borrowed from Love That Max.