Claudio Viera de Oliveira, 40, from Monte Santo in Brazil, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare condition that fused his joints together, which left him with his head upside down and facing the wrong way.
After Oliveria’s birth, doctors told his mother, Maria Jose Vieira Martins, she should starve him to death as he was too ill to survive but she refused, and gave him the best life she could.
At 40, he has defied all odds placed against him to write a book about his life called ‘El mundo esta a contramano’ (The world is the wrong way around), which was launched at the Art Museum of the city of Sao Paulo, in the south-eastern Brazilian.
His mother said:
People started to tell me that my baby was going to die because he could hardly breathe when he was born. Some told me not to feed him.
We never tried to fix him and always wanted him to do the normal things everyone else does. That’s why he is so confident. He is not ashamed of walking around in the street – he sings and he dances.
At eight year-old, Oliveria, who was previously carried everywhere, began walking on his knees causing his family to remodel the floor of the house so he could walk around without hurting himself.
In a bid to make life as comfortable for their son as possible, his bed, plugs and lights were made low enough for him to reach them without needing anyone’s help though he couldn’t use a wheelchair because of his unusual shape.
This made it hard for him to be independent outside the home. Still, he begged his mother to register him in school so he could learn with other children.
Oliveria went to high school and qualified as an accountant from the State University of Feira de Santana.
The 40 year-old came up with ways to overcome certain activities which might prove difficult to him such as using a pen in his mouth to type words and his lips to use a mouse or a phone.
Since I was a child I’ve always liked to keep myself busy and work – I don’t like to depend totally on other people. I do a bit of accounting, research for clients and consulting.
I have learned to turn on the TV, pick up my cell phone, turn on the radio, use the internet, my computer – I do it all by myself.
‘Throughout my life I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don’t see myself as being different. I am a normal person.
I don’t see things upside-down. This is one of the things I always talk about in my interventions as a public speaker. Nowadays it’s much easier to deal with the public”.
He also added that he isn’t afraid of anything anymore and can proudly call himself a professional, international public speaker who receives invitations from all over the world.