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Missouri Girl with Cerebral Palsy Pursues Passion with Teacher's Help

Melissa Henricks has dreams. The Ballwin, Mo., girl also has a form of cerebral palsy, but her condition isn’t preventing her from pursing one particular dream of learning how to play the flute, thanks to the dedication of 6th grade band teacher, Kevin Smith.

Many cases of cerebral palsy are the result of injury to the infant during delivery. When a doctor’s error or negligence can be shown to be the direct cause, there may be reason to seek compensation for the damage done and for the sake of the future of the child. An experienced attorney can assess whether such a case may exist.

Medical negligence does not appear to have been a factor in Henricks’ case. Rather, according to a recent story that aired on a St. Louis TV station, this 12-year-old girl was born with a condition that required her to be on a heart-lung machine for several days just after her delivery. She also suffered bleeding on the brain, which caused a form of cerebral palsy that makes it difficult for her to use her left hand.

Now, the flute is a two-handed instrument. That might have meant taking it up was out of Henricks’ reach, but her teacher refused to settle for that. Instead, he found a way to get a one-handed flute made for his student.

It required making a few modifications in hole placement and fingering mechanisms, and finding a craftsman in Texas to build it. It also cost $3,000. But Smith’s commitment to see his student realize her dream means Henricks is now experiencing the joy of learning how to create beautiful music.

That’s dedication worth admiring.

Source: KSDK-TV, “Teacher builds one-handed flute for student with disabilities,” Mike Bush, Jan. 27, 2014