Saturday, December 23, 2006

Overcoming the Challenges

Yesterday's Memphis Commercial Appeal had this article on high school senior Robert Long. Robert was born with thrombocytopenia absent radius or TAR syndrome. As the reporter details:

"He's missing the radius, or smaller bone, of his lower arms. He also didn't have a muscle that was important for controlling his thumbs, and thus his grasp. He underwent five surgeries, beginning at six months of age. One was to stitch a muscle from the pinky fingers to his thumbs."

The article covers Robert's relationship with girlfriend Christy Stratton who is deaf. Despite his condition, Robert's managed to learn some sign language in an effort to better communicate with her.

What really comes through in the story is Robert's resolve to learn and master skills that would seem difficult given his physical challenges. His mother uses a line to describe him that could apply to any successful person regardless of whether they have a disability.

"He doesn't do everything the way we do it," said his mother, Brenda Long. "He improvises and finds a way to do it."

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