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By Semany Gashaw

As she gets off the BART, Chloe Lipton makes her way to one of her favorite destinations: Maya’s Music Therapy Fund. Her new caretaker, Kayla Jenkins, worries that they might be going in the wrong direction. But Lipton knows exactly where she’s going—after all it’s been 25 years.

Lipton, Maya’s most loyal client, has cerebral palsy, a disability resulting from damage to the brain, which manifests itself in muscular incoordination and speech disturbances. For the past 27 years, Maya’s has provided music therapy sessions to adults and teenagers with developmental disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to autism, Down syndrome or Rett Syndrome, a neurological disability found mostly in girls.

The fund was created in memory of Maya Cooper, a young girl who was born in Tel Aviv, but grew up in Berkeley. She was severely disabled, unable to walk or talk,  yet she found a way to communicate through music. Her mother, Joanna Cooper, writing by email, said that Maya “loved to have her fingers strum guitar, banjo or mandolin strings, and to get assistance in tapping a drum, push the keys of a piano or shake maracas or a tambourine.” Her parents set up the fund to enable others with disabilities to experience the benefits of group and individual music therapy.

Read the full story here.

 

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By Nottingham Post

Inspirational Alex Hawley is on a one-man mission to become the world’s first judge with cerebral palsy.

The 29-year-old, who has to have round-the-clock care from three carers, uses an electric wheelchair and cannot write.

But, determined to make his name in law, Alex is in the fifth year of a six-year part-time degree – and will be looking for jobs as a solicitor or barrister to make his dreams come true. Now, he has been selected for the Open University’s national Life-changing Learning campaign.

“I would like to become a lawyer. I want to be an inspiration to other people in my position,” said the Ravenshead man, who already volunteers at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

Alex, who has to painstakingly dictate every word of his studies to a scribe and cannot read due to having dyslexia, said: “With all my issues, just getting a job and keeping it will be difficult. But once I manage that, hopefully, I will become a QC and a judge. With more and more disabled people out there, my total ambition is to become the first disabled judge.”

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By Emily Blackwood

Matthew McGrane isn’t like a lot of the kids his age, but not for the reasons you may think. The 4 year old has a very specific taste in music. Let’s just say “The Wheels on the Bus” is not on his playlist.

“I started singing blues to him when he was not even 2 years old,” his mother, Heather Eaton McGrane said. “It cracks me up because he’s this angel-faced 4 year old belting out this song by BB King called ‘Ghetto Woman.’ It’s fascinating.”

His love for blues and the people that created it go far beyond the songs themselves. His mother says he spends his time watching concert videos and documentaries about the early blues era. They even baked cookies on March 30, in honor of Eric Clapton’s birthday.

However, Mathew’s unique taste in music isn’t the only thing that separates him from his peers. He told The Observer, that he has a superpower: cerebral palsy.

Read the full story here.

 

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