NewsPinellas County


Palmetto boy with cerebral palsy gets national love for his spirit and million-dollar-smile

Cassiel Santos communicates via “eye gaze” tech
Cassiel Santos
Posted at 4:20 AM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 17:33:07-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cassiel Santos loves the Bee Gees and A-ha.

The 70s & 80s music is perfect for his dance parties at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

The 7-year-old Palmetto boy has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal. He asks for the music using the latest “eye gaze” technology from Tobii Dynavox. The computer syncs with his eye movements and says phrases he chooses.

“I am 7 years old.”
“I love to dance.”
“Happy New Year!”

“This gives so much hope to families and myself,” says his mom Cynthia Gonzalez.

RELATED: High school football player with cerebral palsy scores 80-yard touchdown

She brings her son to speech therapy sessions and other rehab every week.

“I will someday see my son do amazing things!" says Gonzalez.

She is already seeing it. Cass isn’t just a star on the local scene.

When Santa Claus came to visit his house over Christmas, video the giggle-filled visit was shown on Good Morning America.

The nation saw the boy who is always smiling, always happy and always inspiring.