Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Special Education



First Supervisor

Susan Schultz


Cortical Dysplasia is a rare brain malformation that results in multiple life challenges such as hemiparesis (cerebral palsy on half of the body), and seizures. For some people, with medication and life long therapies, the side effects dealing with cortical dysplasia can be minimized. This can lead to those living a rather normal life. In some cases, more drastic measures have to be taken. A hemispherectomy is the removal of the entire hemisphere of the brain, typically the malformed side. The idea of this surgery is to remove the part of the brain causing life-threatening problems. In cases for those suffering from cortical dysplasia, the idea is to remove the side of the brain causing seizures. In order for one to qualify for this surgery, a number of tests need to be implemented. The most important test deals with the strength of the seizures without any medication. If the strength of the seizure passes that test, then that person will then qualify for the surgery. Connor Smith (pseudonym) suffers from cortical dysplasia. Due to the strength and damage of the seizures cortical dysplasia, Connor was able to undergo the hemispherectomy surgery. The challenges that Connor faces daily cause him to be an inspirational story to remind others that special education does not just mean one learns differently, but that their care and academics need to be individualized in order to create success.

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