(INSIDE EDITION) - Judging by the way Dalton Coatney struts around his living room, it’s hard to imagine the 3-year-old was born with cerebral palsy.
Thanks to a miracle surgery, Dalton, of Litchfield, Ill., has taken his first steps around the house, without a walker, a cane or even a helping hand.
“Before, he was crawling around or walking on his knees,” his mom Lacey Dwyer, 35, told InsideEdition.com. “Now, he’s getting up and walking to the bedroom, to the restroom. He’s proud. You can see how proud he is.”
Dalton underwent a rare spinal surgery called selective dorsal rizotomy in December, where doctors removed nerve fibers in the spinal cord that were not responding. The 3-year-old had more than two-thirds of his nerves removed.
Once he healed from the surgery, Dalton began daily physical therapy, where he practiced different stretches and eventually worked his way up to walking.
“Dalton’s super determined, but when he first started going to therapy before we had the surgery, it was a struggle. He would cry the whole session,” Dwyer said. “Our 8-year-old daughter is a huge help. She’ll hold his hand and they’ll walk together or they’ll play games.”
Now, eight months after the surgery, Dalton is showing massive improvement.
In several videos posted to Facebook, he could be seen getting up and walking around the house with no assistance.
“He doesn’t walk all over the place yet, just when we’re at home he can walk on his own, so that’s our biggest milestone,” his mom said.
“We feel pretty good," she added. "Our long-term goal is always to have independence for Dalton. We want him to grow up like any other kid and be able to go to college, get married, have kids.”
Dalton is now preparing to enter Pre-K, and his mom said he hopes socializing with other children will further improve his condition.
“He’s going to see these other kids moving and grooving, and he’s going to want to be right there next to them,” she said.