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STARTING kindergarten is often the first
major milestone in a child’s life but, for
Joshua Mason, this is one of many that he
has achieved in 2014.
The three-year-old, who was diagnosed
with cerebral palsy at birth, underwent an
innovative stem cell treatment in the United
States earlier this year, which has seen him
develop both cognitively and physically to gain
Mum, Narelle Mason, said the stem cell
treatment has improved his speech and
physical ability as well as reducing the amount
of intermediary treatments he must undergo.
“Cognitively, his speech improved
dramatically almost overnight so it was too
much of a coincidence that that wasn’t a result
of the stem cells,” she said.
“We are not seeing a speech pathologist
any more because he has caught up to age-
“Physically, it has improved Josh because
before he was having botox every three or four
months but since we’ve had stem cells he hasn’t
had to have that.”
Joshua is now defying all of his previous
limitations by walking around his Freeling
house in his walker, pulling himself to a
standing position and getting things off the
couch – actions that seemed previously out of
reach for him.
On Monday, Joshua commenced at Zion
Kindergarten in Gawler where he has been
issued a special chair on wheels to use when
not crawling between activities.
“He is so much happier now that he is that
bit more mobile,” she said.
“He is at that age now where he wants to get
around and he wants to be independent.
“However, although he is a lot stronger, he
still tires very easily due to the tightness in his
In January next year, Joshua will be
undergoing another radical surgery in America
to lengthen his tendons in the hope of
reducing his muscle tightness.
Although the surgery is offered in Australia
the processes in New York are completely
different, according to Mrs Mason.
“(In Australia) they literally cut the tendons
across the back of their legs, whereas over
(in America) it is all keyhole, meaning the
recovery time is up to six months here to get
back to where you were, whereas over there it
is only two weeks,” Mrs Mason said.
“Also, it takes about six weeks here before
you can take weight on your legs, whereas over
there it is the next day.
“We are doing the surgery, then three weeks
at the NAPA centre again.”
The surgery should allow Joshua to place his
feet flat on the ground and, in turn, improve
his overall balance and stamina when using his
“I spoke to the people from the NAPA
Centre and they had never heard of the
surgery until that very day when they had a
little boy, who was one of their regulars, had
had it done a week before and they said he was
a completely different child – so we are hoping
it is that big of a miracle for Josh as well,” she
“I am hoping that it is successful, not only
for my child but also because Josh’s rehab
paediatrician has looked at it and said that it is
something we should be looking at here.
“So, if it is successful, they will be
monitoring Josh and then maybe it is
something that lots of other kids might be
able to have here as well, making it far more
accessible for Australian families.”
Milestones keep rolling
He is so much happier
now that he is that bit more
mobile. He is at that age now
where he wants to get around and
he wants to be independent.
began kindy last
week with not
only a big smile
but with greater
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