Now, that’s a smile! Tatem is a young woman with spastic, dystonic cerebral palsy. Tatem and her twin brother were born 3 months premature (26 weeks old) and are both miracles. Tatem is unable to walk, or perform fine motor movements, so she moves in her wheelchair. She needs assistance with toileting, eating, writing and other small tasks. She is smart and adaptive, so Tatem uses technology to overcome some of the physical challenges she faces. For example, an iPad w/ a microphone handles Speech to Text conversions. This allows her to attend standard classes with her fellow students.
In order to know and understand Tatem, you have to understand just how fiercely independent, driven and hardworking she is. Throughout her academic career she has worked very hard to keep her in the advanced classes that can challenge her. Tatem is attending Oak Park high School and maintains a 4.0 Grade point average. She is enrolled in Honors classes and has ambitions of going to college to become a writer. Over the course of her student career, she has received Student of the Month four times and was awarded the “Hope Award” in 2012 at the Liberty School District. She enjoys being a part of school activities like theater and clubs such as “Blue Ink Society.” Her proudest achievement is being elected to student counsel her 8th grade year. She worked on a speech and ran every year for four years. Each year she would be disappointed and frustrated but vowed to keep trying until she got it. The student council story is what personifies Tatem. She struggles with physical disability; yet her spirit, work ethic and positive attitude is her gift. She inspires everyone she comes in contact with and brings out the best in everyone around her.