Doctors said he would never walk or talk; now KC boy is kicking down obstacles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Becoming a black belt might be the goal of many who join karate. For a 5-year-old from Leawood, Kan., his family is measuring his success not one belt at a time, but one kick at a time.

Doctors told Jill Bamber and her husband their son Sean would probably never walk, talk or even see. But the family is celebrating one milestone after another.

Five years ago, Sean and his twin sister Katie were born 10 weeks early, each weighing only three pounds.

"Day two, Sean suffered a massive stroke and that stroke left him with cerebral palsy and legally blind," Bamber said.

Up until the age of two, Sean could barely talk or move.

"He wasn't making movements because he couldn't see targets. He wasn't interested in going to find things. He wasn't interested in reaching for toys because he never saw them," his mother said.

Bamber and her husband enrolled Sean in a local school for the blind which helped the whole family learn how to be his at-home therapists.

"They accommodate games on the fly. Everything they did they found a way to make him be included," she said.

Eventually, that included karate at Champs Achievers in Overland Park with Sensei Helen.

"She brought in tambourines so that he knew when he would kick high enough he would strike the tambourine and have that auditory cue," Bamber said. "We saw instant growth. We saw instant clicking with him and the activities and it was definitely a good footing to start on."

Sean recently had leg surgery. Now doctors are confident he will eventually be able to walk with just a cane.
"You can't set limits. You can't set expectations, you just go," Bamber said.

Watch home video of Sean's progress in karate class here.

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