A TEEN WITH PARTICULAR DISABILITIES FINALLY TAKES HIS FIRST STEPS WITHOUT ASSISTANCE AFTER EIGHT YEARS IN A WHEELCHAIR

Even if you believe those who think miracles don’t exist, you’d have a hard time coming up with a better word to describe seeing an adolescent with special needs who had been wheelchair-bound for eight years start walking again.

Owner Daniel Stein created the Special Strong exercise program for persons with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.

Mandy, whose son Brandon Neal is 17, has used a wheelchair for eight years and sought Daniel in 2019 for assistance.

The Tale of Brandon

During Brandon’s childhood, he struggled with developmental delays. He was underweight, jaundiced, and delayed in his growth because of his premature birth. He walked funny and had five separate eye surgeries for a visual problem. His troubles all stemmed from a mutation in a single gene.

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He was eventually diagnosed with scoliosis and a dislocated hip, and doctors recommended surgical correction. Brandon was in a wheelchair and became more frightened and despondent as doctors assured him he would be walking again in six months.

After his hip was operated on, he was bedridden for eight years. The teen’s confidence took a hit, and he said the experience prevented him from finding romantic success.

Although Brandon’s parents had intended to get him a new wheelchair in 2019, he had other ideas and was set on learning to walk again.

Advancing Forward and Upward

His parents heard good things about Special Strong’s special needs gym, so they enrolled him. After starting to work with Daniel, Brandon was able to restore his strength and get back on his feet.

This was no simple task since Brandon was anxious about many novel physical activities. Daniel, though, encouraged him to push through his apprehensions.

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Daniel wrote, “You may not look at him and believe he was strong, but I can guarantee you he was as courageous as anybody who has ever fought a violent opponent or, even worse, their demons.”

The adolescent was instructed to use a walker and arm crutches as part of the program’s strategy to wean him off of his wheelchair.

Brandon made significant progress in their fifth session together when he began walking without using his walker. Encouraged by what he saw, Daniel kept an eye on the situation. He set off for the first time in eight years without anybody else.

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During their time together, Daniel assured Brandon that this was only the beginning of his progress and that he would soon be able to walk without assistance.

Once Again, On Foot

A few weeks later, Daniel informed Brandon that this was the day he would walk, and the adolescent said, “I’m ready.”

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They ventured outdoors, and with the cameras rolling, Brandon accomplished the astounding feat of walking unaided.

The last time you did this was in 2008, making it seem simple. Daniel reassures him, explaining that he has gone farther than anticipated on foot.

Is it anything of which you can be proud of me? Asked Brandon. I am proud of you, Daniel says.

Brandon overcame his concerns and took those first steps; Daniel was even more pleased.

Once that happened, “everything changed for Brandon and his whole family,” Daniel wrote. And he certainly wasn’t talking about learning to walk for the first time. Overcoming his anxiety, he was now confident. Assumptions and limiting beliefs were no longer able to hold him back. He had finally won the war inside.

Many others wrote to express their support for Brandon after seeing his uplifting video, which quickly went viral. He has kept up with his visits to Special Strong and has moved forward.

After filming his first steps, Brandon said, “It’s my ambition to one day walk again.” Days later, he was seen jogging on a treadmill.

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