Young boy with Cerebral Palsy defying the odds one step at a time

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Monday, November 13, 2023
Young boy with Cerebral Palsy defying the odds one step at a time
At 5-years-old, Aries is showing others how to overcome obstacles and making his family and doctors proud daily.

HOUSTON, Texas -- 5-year-old Aries is changing the world, one step at a time. Aries was born at 23 weeks to Aisha Atkinson. He weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces.

"Emotionally, it ended up being a very, very scary time because children born that early, it's not ideal that you want in your pregnancy," said Atkinson.

Because of his early arrival, Aries suffered from fluid buildup on the brain. He had to have three surgeries to drain the fluid.

At just 2-months old, Aries became the first child to use a first of its kind wearable cap. It was developed by Manish Shah, MD and his team at UTHealth Houston and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

"We had developed a device that uses infrared light to help visualize the brain," said Dr. Shah. "We got a great picture of his brain using this device." Through the device, they could tell how the brain bleeds were resolving and improving.

Aries now lives with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and is on the autism spectrum. With the use of the brain cap, Atkinson believes this a way he can help another child.

Aries was never expected to walk or communicate, but he has overcome the odds. Years of intense occupational and physical therapy led to the moment Aries took his first steps at his grandfather's home.

"I will never forget. My dad sitting on one couch in the living room, and I was sitting on the other across the way, and Aries kept doing the same thing. He got away, and he walked from my dad all the way over to me," said Atkinson. "I remember just cheering and crying, and just being so happy and proud of him for doing that. It was just, a miracle."

While Aries is non-verbal, he communicates through music. He is able to sing melodies of songs, and relate those songs to words.

"He's going to learn how to do things in his timeline and in his own way. I as his mom, have to embrace that, and I have to love him for who he is. We get so caught up in trying to control their destinies. And that's not what we're supposed to be here for. We're here to amplify that destiny,"

Atkinson and Dr. Shah said they hope Aries' story can help children in the future.