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Hi. My name is Harrison Spiers. I was born on March 8, 1999. My Mom and Dad were really excited to have me join their family. I already had a big sister, Morgan, here to help take care of me. When my mom was pregnant with me, they thought something could be wrong with me because something came back a little off in some of her blood work. But, after much tests were done, they determined I was healthy.
Something else happened as I was born. While my mom was pushing me out, the cord got wrapped around my neck, and I was purple/blue when I was born. I was not breathing. The nurses did a great job of helping me breathe, and I was fine just a few minutes later.
I was a pretty normal newborn. I definitely had my days and nights mixed up. My big sister was really fun. She liked to push me around in her doll stroller. I knew she really loved me.
When I was four months old, my mom’s friend asked why I couldn’t hold my head up. My mom wasn’t sure, so she asked my doctor. The doctor told her not to worry about it unless I still couldn’t hold my head up at six months.
Well, guess what? At six months, I still couldn’t hold my head up very much. My head was sooo heavy. My doctor told my mom it was time to do some tests. So, we went to see a developmental psychologist.
Man, that appointment was long. All she did was asked my mom and dad a zillion questions. At the end of the appointment, she told my mom and dad the news….I was going to be moderately to severely mentally and physically handicapped. Well, my mom and dad didn’t believe it. They knew I was smart. They said a lot of prayers on my behalf, in fact they still do.
Next, I went to get an MRI of my brain. Boy was that weird. I went to the hospital, and they put me to sleep so I wouldn’t be afraid of the loud noisy machine. After the results came back, we went to see another doctor. He told us that my brain was normal, there was nothing wrong. I was just developing slower than normal.
This is when all the therapies began. We had people over at my house all the time. There was a physical therapist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a development therapist. This was crazy. I didn’t like some of them, sometimes I would just scream through the whole session. Some of them were really nice and helped me.
When I was just a little over 18 months old, my family moved to Colorado for my Dad’s new job. I guess it was ok, except I had to move away from all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This was pretty hard because I missed them so much.
My mom also had to find me some new therapists. We started going to therapy almost every day. This time we had to go to an office, they didn’t come to my house. We did this 4x a week until I was three years old. During this time, we went to see many new doctors, and they all said the same thing. I was developmentally slow. Finally, we went to a doctor that gave me my diagnosis, Cerebral Palsy (CP).
Let me tell you what CP is. It basically means that I have slow motor skills; this was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. There are 3 different types of CP: spastic, ataxic, and athetoid. The type of CP I have is Athetoid. This basically means that I have problems controlling my muscles. Sometimes I am really floppy, sometimes I am really tight. This makes it really hard for me to hold still. Most of the time, my arms like to go flying. It’s hard for me to hold them still. My hands are clenched most of the time. This makes it very difficult to feed, write and dress myself.
Even though my body doesn’t function like all my friends and peers, I am just as smart as everyone else. I do go to a normal class at school; I just have an aide with me all the time. She writes for me and helps me with my daily skills. I even have a computer that helps me write sentences and do my spelling tests. It can talk for me also. I can talk, but sometimes people don’t understand everything I say. Most of my day is spent in my wheelchair. I do have a tricycle that I can ride for exercise, and also a special walker that helps me walk.
I still do therapy. I ride horses with my physical therapist. It’s really fun. This is the only time I can sit up myself, without being in my wheelchair. I also go to speech therapy as well. My speech has improved so much since I started.I love people. I love my friends. Some of them are really amazing. They don’t care that I don’t speak perfectly, or that I can’t walk. I really love sports as well. I love playing football and baseball with my dad and brothers. I also play baseball on a handicapped league. They have a special field where wheelchairs can ride on the entire thing!