HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- An 8-year-old boy paralyzed in the 4th of July Highland Park parade shooting that killed seven people is expected to rejoin his twin brother in school after up to three months of therapy, his family said Tuesday.
Cooper Roberts will likely return to third grade classes at Braeside Elementary School for half-days and continue to participate in long-term outpatient physical and occupational therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for the part of each day, his family said. First, he will need to complete six to 12 weeks of therapy.
"This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends," the boy's family said.
In the meantime, Cooper will be transported back to Comer Children's Hospital this week via ambulance so surgeons can check on his healing from previous surgeries, including a heart graft and esophageal tear repairs, his family said.
Cooper is currently going through occupational therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Comer Children's Hospital, his family said. The lab was not able to determine the full extent of his injuries due to continued swelling, but his working regaining strength and mobility.
Cooper's family said he is also experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, including flashbacks that disrupt his sleep. He and his brother, Luke, are going through private counseling and other mental health services for emotional and psychological trauma.
The Roberts family is looking for short-term rental housing that is ADA accessible for when Cooper can return home. They must also explore long-term housing options for their large family because their current Highland Park home cannot be reconfigured to accommodate Cooper's rehabilitation needs. They also need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to support their ability to transport Cooper daily after he is released from inpatient care.
The family's GoFundMe can be found here.