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Chase, the Special Boy Without a Cerebellum

May 31, 2012

In an attempt to learn more about cerebellar hypoplasia, sometimes I feel I have to expand past the feline realm. I think it helps to understand how the brain works as a whole and how an underdeveloped cerebellum impacts other species — like dogs, lambs, and yes, even little boys.

While technically doctors say Chase has cerebellar hypoplasia, his situation is a bit more complicated than that. Chase doesn’t have a cerebellum at all.

But that doesn’t seem to stop him, even though science and doctors believe it should.

Chase was born prematurely and legally blind. When he turned one, an MRI revealed that he was missing his cerebellum.

In addition to missing his cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor skills, balance, and emotion, Chase also doesn’t have a pons. The pons is part of the brain stem; it controls basic functions like breathing and sleeping.

These factors have turned Chase into a medical mystery and miracle.

What’s especially odd about Chase’s situation is that he did have a cerebellum while his mother was pregnant. There are no signs of any brain damage, so doctors can only wonder what happened to it.

Granted, some argue that this isn’t a complete mystery since they say the cerebellum is not required for basic function, rather it coordinates movement so it results in smooth motions.

Science aside, Chase continues on as a happy little kid. Now three, he’s learned to sit up on his own, to crawl, to push himself upright and more. Today he’s also walking, riding a bike, even holding a pencil and using scissors.

At home, Chase has a “sensory room” — filled with lights, sounds and tactile things that motivate him visually and stimulate him as much as possible.

What’s truly touching is his family’s reaction to his condition. They seem to have a “don’t give up on him” attitude, and they understand that sometimes doctors aren’t always right.

“Don’t believe everything the doctors say,” Chase’s mom said. “Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. But they can be wrong. … Chase is extremely healthy. And he’s extremely smart — his motor skills just haven’t caught up.”

The best part?

“Chase was meant to be with us.”

I think we can all understand how she feels.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 6:54 am

    That’s just beautiful! Go, Chase!

  2. June 1, 2012 8:42 am

    I believe I’ve heard of Chase before. What an inspiring story!

  3. June 3, 2012 4:45 pm

    *sniff sniff* what a wonderful story….

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