The family of the 8-year-old boy shot during the Highland Park mass shooting said Tuesday he will be heading into third grade after six to 12 weeks at a rehabilitation hospital.
Cooper Roberts is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the abdomen at the fourth of July parade. In an update on Tuesday, the family said the medical team at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago conducted a series of assessments last week to determine the appropriate therapy for Cooper to move forward. However, due to continued swelling, the family said the team was not able to fully complete a foundational American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale assessment to figure out the extent of Cooper's injuries and his full prognosis.
Cooper is taking part in daily physical and occupational therapy at AbilityLab. He is expected to stay at the AbilityLab for in-patient rehabilitation services for six to 12 weeks, the family said. After that, Cooper will join his twin brother Luke in third grade at Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park.
"This is a huge motivation for Cooper as he is excited to return to the classroom and see his friends," the family said in a statement Tuesday. "He will likely return to classes for half-days and continue to participate in long-term outpatient physical and occupational therapy at AbiltyLab for the part of the day."
Cooper is also under the care of physicians at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. He will return there this week so surgeons can assess his healing. This includes a heart graft and esophageal tear repairs, the family said.
Cooper and his brother Luke are in private counseling, as well as other mental health services to help heal from the emotional and psychological trauma of the shooting. The family said Cooper is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, which include flashbacks that disrupt his sleep.
The Roberts family is seeking short-term rental housing that is ADA accessible for when Cooper returns home.
"They must explore options for long-term housing for their large family as the Roberts’ 100-year-old home in Highland Park cannot be reconfigured to accommodate his rehabilitation needs for home-based therapies," the family said in an update.
The family also needs a wheelchair-accessible vehicle so they can transport Cooper daily once he is released from inpatient care.