17-year-old Matthew Fernande of Los Angeles has recently discovered that one of his favorite things to do is actually a working treatment for his cerebral palsy.
Matthew’s brother Michael explained in an interview with Thump that he has been making steady progress over the years.
“After about a year, he started developing really well and got off the oxygen. He started crawling, what we call ‘combat crawling’: throwing [elbows] with his little legs dragging behind. He started doing early childhood development classes. They taught him how to walk with braces, and he learned sign language,” Michael said.
When Matthew became a teenager he became interested in electronic music and rave gloving, a style of dance that involves glowing gloves. Interestingly enough, his brother Michael was a long time raver and glover, and through practicing togeather, they learned that gloving was actually helping Matthews condition.
“After I stopped gloving and partying all the time, I remember passing Matthew’s room one day, and he’s with his iPad doing finger rolls. I didn’t know Michael was gloving, I had no idea,” Michael said.
“We’ve been sitting down and we’ve been teaching him new moves and evolving his hand movements. Matthew has gained a wider movement of his hands than from just physical therapy alone. Even more than that, he’s developed a sense of confidence and belief that comes from expressing himself creatively and immersing himself in a culture,” he added.
Michael said that Matthew is already getting a lot of respect among other ravers.
“He already had built this network in the gloving community. People were coming up to me, and I thought it was because I was a founder of Puppet Masters, but they were like, ‘Are you Matthew’s brother? Can I meet him?’ After we saw his progress with light shows, I realized that it was probably why I started doing this in the first place. As a brother, seeing him happy and seeing him come out of his shell—be more social—is amazing,” he said.
“Therapy is boring! It’s work. But if you make work play, they’re gonna want to be involved. And it’s a different way of him expressing [himself]. He can dance with his hands!” he added.
“I just want to make my parents proud and go to different countries and teach other kids how to glove,” Matthew said.
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