Life is hard enough when you live with a birth defect or extreme physical handicap. From a cleft palate to deformed limbs, every day is a struggle – to survive, to fit in, and to face the unwarranted attention and gawking the comes from living with your condition.
When Claudio Vieira de Oliveira was born, the doctors were so taken aback by his condition that they told his mother to starve him to death. It would be more humane than letting him live. Naturally, she ignored that advice and took care to keep Claudio alive.
The result is astonishing on many meaningful levels. First of all, as you can see, Claudio is in full command of his faculties. His body is broken, not his brain. As a matter of fact, even in his condition, he went to college, studying to be an accountant at the State University of Feira de Santana in Brazil, where he’s from. Physically, it’s a different story entirely. Claudio suffers from arthrogryposis which fuses the joints together. Basically, his body is stuck in this position. Because of this legs, he cannot use a wheelchair. He has learned to walk on his knees, however.
He’s also made use of other limited abilities. He uses his mouth to hold a pen, and with that, he can type and use a computer. He uses his lips to move the mouse, and can even operate a cellphone. When asked about his worldview, he told one reporter the following: “Throughout my life I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don’t see myself as being different. I am a normal person.” How inspiring. Most people would hide themselves away from the public eye. Claudio is stepping up, and looking at things in the right way – no matter the position of his head.