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Learning His Body, Learning to Dance

The New York Times—November 24, 2009

Gregg Mozgala, a 31-year-old actor with cerebral palsy, had 12 years of physical therapy while he was growing up. But in the last eight months, a determined choreographer with an unconventional résumé has done what all those therapists could not: She has dramatically changed the way Mr. Mozgala walks.

In the process, she has changed his view of himself and of his possibilities.

Dr. Stephen A. Paget, chief of rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, who has been acting as a sort of sounding board for Ms. Rogoff during the project, said the changes being wrought in Mr. Mozgala support a relatively new way of thinking about neurological impairments.

“In the past, people thought that a neurological deficit was fixed and immutable,” Dr. Paget said. “Now there’s this whole concept of neuroplasticity: the neurological system has this ability to change itself and constantly grow.”

Read the full story at nytimes.com.


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