Update Nov 2021: Carlton is a 13 year old boy with cerebral palsy. He is smart, mischevious and always keeping everyone around him entertained!
Carlton can move his wheelchair independently with his one good arm, or can turn around and go backwards using his feet to push (and looking backwards where he is going). He uses a gait trainer to run/walk, and when he is not in one of those he is always scooting or crawling on the floor. He can get in and out of his wheelchair, bed, and shower by himself.
Right now Carlton gets fed by an adult with a spoon. He can put food in his mouth with a fork if you put the food on the fork for him. He can pick up and drink his water by himself. He is a very fast eater, it might take him 5 minutes to eat his whole big bowl of food if it’s something he really likes. He is not a picky eater at all, and can eat all textures but does seem to prefer things that are softer like oatmeal or spaghetti.
Carlton uses an iPad and a cookie sheet with magnetic letters/numbers/words in school to answer questions and do his work. He is very good at showing people what he wants by pointing to things and “grunting”. He just got an iPad all to himself so will start to use that at home too to communicate!
Carlton picks up on things extremely quickly! He had never worked on reading before, but one day about 6 months into going to school when he was 9 I realized he could read and rearrange letters on a cookie sheet to spell words in creole! After that he needed very little help to learn to read English. He is currently working on about a 6th grade level curriculum and learning algebra so that he has something to challenge him. He has a short attention span and needs to be reminded to stay on task quite often. He has a very low-tech “keyboard” which is just some papers that we can fit all the letters on and he can reach easily with his motor skills and he can type maybe one word at a time in response to a question now. He uses his left hand which he can move a lot less for school activities because when he uses his right hand he tends to get excited and not have as much control when touching answers.
Carlton needs help brushing his teeth, changing, and eating right now. He currently wears cloth diapers but tells us when he needs to be changed and goes down the hall to his room to get his pants and bring them to an adult. Carlton is extremely healthy. In the almost 4 years I’ve known him he has only had a cold once. He used to have some halitosis but that has improved immensely.
Carlton has a lot of attention seeking behaviors. He plays on a much younger level than a 13 year old. He is always so excited to play with everyone, and receive attention from his friends or adults he loves. Carlton is extremely joyful and excitable! He needs lots of reminders to be gentle because he can get overexcited very easily.
Carlton likes to do anything that you are doing! He likes helping when he receives a lot of encouragement and hanging out with his friends, foster parent, and nannies. His most favorite activities are singing, dancing, playing in the water at a pool/beach/sprinkler, going for walks in a stroller or his gait trainer, jumping and doing tricks on the trampoline, going for bike rides in his bike trailer, pushing his friends on swings, and chasing people.
Update August 2019: Carlton has taught himself to read in Creole, and needed very little help learning to read in English. He can do multi-step word problems inside his head. Although school is very easy for him, he is not very motivated to do his schoolwork or find different ways to communicate. He has shown a little interest in a keyboard to type out words, but mostly he prefers to communicate what he wants with signs, gestures, and noises. He loves one on one attention but can also play quietly by himself if he is not competing for attention.
He can get in and out of his chair and bed by himself, and can independently move around in his wheelchair. He wears diapers and still needs help with eating. There is a very funny video of some things Carlton can do if you would like to see more