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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

7 y/o Italian influencer Sirio Persichetti is challenging disability stereotypes

Can’t speak and can’t feed himself. But this 7 y/o Italian influencer Sirio Persichetti is storming the world of social media with his daily antics, proving that disability is not a barrier that has inspired many. A form of cerebral palsy, known as spastic tetraplegia is what Sirio suffers from, which affects the movement of three limbs. Sirio’s mouth is permanently open, which is a constraint to form proper words and swallow food.

He is fed through a tube that is in his stomach, liquid nutrition and has had a tracheotomy which helps him breathe. Sirio Persichetti bears all this with such rigidity, cheerfulness, and love for life that has prompted his mother Valentina to create a website as well as, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to document his everyday life in hope that it will inspire many other people. Her uploads are always very heart-warming videos of Sirio with exciting and funny anecdotes under the title “Sirio and the Tetra Bonds.” Tetra coming from the first half of tetraplegia and bond from the word Vagabond which means a wanderer.

“We wanted to tell the story of disability in a different way, to tell it for what it is, something that is not easy to face, but that if channeled in the right direction, with the right help, it can allow these children to enjoy something that can actually be called life,” said Valentina. Looking at the response to Sirio Persichetti’s social media fandom, it has been really overwhelming, with some videos getting more than 130,000 views. Valentina further said: “In a short time the response, especially from families living in similar situations, was powerful and exciting so we decided to keep going.”

Breaking the stigma towards the disabled

Valentina posts videos of Sirio going to school, with a backpack almost his size, or sometimes driving an electric toy car or doing the most popular mischief of the world, waking up his elder brother Nilo, who is 10, very mercilessly. Sirio Persichetti’s followers shower him with dozens of likes, views, and messages in support.

Sirio’s mother Valentina said, she started this because she wanted to break the stigma which has often surrounded disability by showing that having a special needs child does not mean an end to fun for the child. We understood that it is absolutely necessary to talk about
disability without (seeking) pity, different from the usual way disability is narrated,” Valentina said.

Working at a center for the postal service, 38 y/o Valentina is always helped by her husband Paolo, who is a 58 y/o researcher, and two caretakers who work on alternate days. Valentina said, she never expected to go viral, but she realized that trending on social media and getting all the support is much useful, it helps and it is a necessary step to make the life of all those who are disabled feel normal about themselves.

Being a mother to a special child, she has taken up to try and imagine the world through his eyes. Valentina also writes posts about Sirio which accompanies the videos she posts about him. One of her posts reads through Sirio’s perspective where he is at the playground, fearless and proud while his mother watches him like a ‘hawk.’ “It’s not easy trying to live
a normal life when you have disabilities but I try anyway,” Valentina writes.

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