CP Across the World; A Patient Story – Dr. Selber

Featuring Patient: Ariane Casareo

October 5, 2020

Ariane became a patient of Dr. Paulo Selber in 2007 when she was 14 years old. At the time, Dr. Selber’s orthopedic surgery practice was based at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney Australia. Ariane was finishing up Botulinum toxin-A (botox injections) treatment and had almost stopped growing. Surgery was the next step in her medical journey. 

collage of ariane

Prior to meeting Dr. Selber, Ariane was part of an early intervention program in Australia that began when she was diagnosed at 2-3 years old and continued until she was 5 years old. The program observed and helped support her development. “Due to the fact that I was diagnosed early on and was able to access services, it put my family at ease that I was able to receive support and they received education,” said Ariane. Early Childhood intervention is crucial to a child with CP’s development, to help improve outcomes as well as identify areas where they would need the most support.

Early Childhood Intervention is an initiative that the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center has partnered with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation over the past few years, to bring to more of our families.

Q: Tell us more about your journey since 2007:

A: So many health practitioners, physio’s and doctors have been a major part of my journey, but Dr Selber (and his team) was the one that performed the surgery that changed my life for the better, long term! Thanks to Dr. Selber I am walking independently without aid, my right heel can comfortably touch the ground, I am able to walk for longer distances without any pain, and it has been 9 years since my surgery. Now I just maintain my symptoms or impairments through exercising and stretches.

Q: Was there a specific part of your journey that made an impact in your care?

A: One of the most important parts of my journey, in addition to early intervention, was gait analysis. Gait analysis is an important assessment tool to help determine the next step and intervention for a person with the CP. In my case, it concluded that surgery was needed and determined the extent of what needed to be done in surgery that changed my life.

I am grateful and truly thankful for the work of Dr. Selber and believe I wouldn’t be where I am today – strong and able – if I didn’t go through the process of gait analysis and orthopedic surgery. Dr Selber was very transparent, honest, and most of all approachable (and of course, knowledgeable) which made it easy for my family to trust his expertise. He always took his time to explain his findings and made sure we understood every step forward and was always very patient, it was easy to tell that he was dedicated and passionate about his work.

Q: What would you tell a parent or adult that is considering being a patient of Dr. Selber’s?

A: Dr Selber definitely has the expertise, but most importantly he is extremely dedicated, honest and passionate about helping kids and families with CP! When I was his patient, he was always extremely approachable and made me and my family feel comfortable. He was always patient and helped us understand what we wanted to know about CP and all the treatments and assessments involved. I feel incredibly privileged to have crossed paths with him on my journey and I am extremely happy with the outcome and results of my surgery.

ariane smiling

Q: What are you up to now?

A:  I just finished participating in “Steptember” – A step challenge that raises awareness for CP. Money raised from this fundraising step challenge goes towards supporting people with CP. Being involved in this is a way for me to give back and say thank you to one of the services and the professionals that have been there for me from when I was 2 through 20 years old. I also have a Visual Communications degree I received in 2016. Over the last few years I have been committed to purpose-driven ethical work in the not-for-profit space and it’s been really rewarding. I now work in Digital Marketing for a non-profit organization.

Ariane is 27 year old and has CP. She lives in Australia and one of her future goals is to continue spreading cerebral palsy awareness and advocating for inclusion for as long as she can and keep giving back when and where she can.