• Monday, September 22, 2014

Man with upside-down head becomes motivational speaker

Star Online Report
Resourceful: Claudio Vieira de Oliveira has a rare degenerative disease of the joints that has left him without the use of his limbs ... and an upside-down head. Photo taken from Barcroft media
Resourceful: Claudio Vieira de Oliveira has a rare degenerative disease of the joints that has left him without the use of his limbs ... and an upside-down head. Photo taken from Barcroft media

Resourceful Claudio Vieira de Oliveira knows more than a thing or two about overcoming adversity.
Medics told the now-37-year-old's mother to let him starve to death after he was born with a rare condition of the joints that left him with severely deformed limbs and an upside-down head, reports MailOnline.
But despite his physical limitations, Claudio, from Monte Santo, Brazil, has defied doctors' doubts to become an accountant and inspirational public speaker.
Since I was a child I've always liked to keep myself busy and work - I don't like to depend totally on other people,' he said. 'I do a bit of accounting, research for clients and consulting, the UK based newspaper reports.
'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.'
 

Survivor: Doctors told his mother, Maria Jose Vieira Martins (far left), to stop feeding him as a newborn as they believed he had no chance of survival (pictured with her and members of his family). Photo taken from Barcroft media
Survivor: Doctors told his mother, Maria Jose Vieira Martins (far left), to stop feeding him as a newborn as they believed he had no chance of survival (pictured with her and members of his family). Photo taken from Barcroft media

Claudio 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.
His independence saw him succeeding at school and qualifying as an accountant from the State University of Feira de Santana.

Popular: Claudio has never let his disabilities prevent him from enjoying a full and busy life (pictured with a friend in December last year). Photo taken from Barcroft media
Popular: Claudio has never let his disabilities prevent him from enjoying a full and busy life (pictured with a friend in December last year). Photo taken from Barcroft media

When Claudio was born, doctors told his mother Maria Jose he would not be able to survive.
Maria Jose said: 'People started saying 'the baby is going to die' because he could barely breath when he was born.
'Some people would say: 'Don't feed him, he is already dying'.

Motivational: His independence saw him succeeding at school and qualifying as an accountant from the State University of Feira de Santana where he regularly returns to give motivational talks (pictured). Photo taken from Barcroft media
Motivational: His independence saw him succeeding at school and qualifying as an accountant from the State University of Feira de Santana where he regularly returns to give motivational talks (pictured). Photo taken from Barcroft media

But there's only happiness now. Claudio is just like any other person - that's how he was raised in this house.
'We never tried to fix him and always wanted him to do the normal things everyone else does.
'That's why he is so confident. He is not ashamed of walking around in the street - he sings and he dances.'

Independent: He cannot use a wheelchair because of his unusual shape, making it hard for him to be independent outside the home - but he begged his mother to be allowed to go to school and learn with the other children. Photo taken from Barcroft media
Independent: He cannot use a wheelchair because of his unusual shape, making it hard for him to be independent outside the home - but he begged his mother to be allowed to go to school and learn with the other children. Photo taken from Barcroft media

At eight years old, Claudio, who had previously been carried everywhere, began to walk on his knees.
His family had to change the floor of the house so he could walk around without injuring himself.
Claudio's bed, plugs and lights had to be made lower so that he could do things for himself without asking for help.
He cannot use a wheelchair because of his unusual shape, making it hard for him to be independent outside the home - but he begged his mother to be allowed to go to school and learn with the other children.
Doctors have recently diagnosed him with a rare condition called congenital arthrogryposis.
They believe he has multiple joint contractions in his legs and arms which mean they cannot extend properly.
Claudio 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 anymore and I can say that I am a professional, international public speaker and that I receive invitations from all over the world.'
He is not the only person with the disease who has refuse to let it overcome his life.
In February, MailOnline told the story of Leanne Beetham who became a celebrated photographer and artist whose paintings of wildlife - which she creates by holding a paintbrush in her mouth - have sold for hundreds of pounds.
Miss Beetham, who has a degree in applied animal behaviour, uses paint and graphite to make her images, which can take more than eight hours to complete at a sitting.
In 2006 one of her paintings was sold for £750 at Christies in London in aid of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Her exhibition last year in Hull raised money for the Withernsea RNLI, helping to replace equipment which had been stolen.
Claudio's story appears in Body Bizarre, which starts from September 4 on TLC.

Published: 2:12 pm Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Last modified: 9:34 pm Tuesday, September 02, 2014

TAGS: Claudio Vieira de Oliveira physical limitation public speaker State University of Feira de Santana.

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