But rather than simply wallow in his disadvantages, this 37-year-old man has defied the odds to become an accountant and inspirational public speaker.
The fact that he’s alive at all is a medical miracle. Claudio was given virtually no chance of survival when he was born, with doctors even telling his mum, Maria Jose, to stop feeding him as they believed he would not live for long.
But today, Claudio has learned how to do everyday things using other parts of his body � he types with a pen held in his mouth, operates phones and a computer mouse with his lips and has specially made shoes that allow him to shuffle around town.
He was carried everywhere for the first few years of his life but started to walk on his knees when he was eight-year-old. His family changed the floor of their house so he could walk around without injuring himself and his bed, plugs and lights were all lowered so he wouldn’t have to ask for help. After begging his mother to let him go to school and learn with other children, Claudio � who has only recently been diagnosed with the condition known as congenital arthrogryposis � eventually qualified as an accountant from the State University of Feira de Santana.
Now, after his educational successes, Claudio sees himself as no different to anyone else. Explaining how he has learned to live as normally as possible, Claudio said he never wanted to depend on other people. He said:
“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. I don’t see things upside-down. This is one of the things I always talk about in my interventions as a public speaker.
Nowadays it’s much easier to deal with the public, I’m not afraid of it any more and I can say that I am a professional, international public speaker and that I receive invitations from all over the world. I do a bit of accounting, research for clients and consulting. I have learned to turn on the TV, pick up my cell phone, turn on the radio, use the internet, my computer � I do it all by myself.”
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