The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ holds true to Claudio Vieira de Oliveira, the man from Monte Santo, Brazil who was born with an upside-down head and deformed limbs but beat the odds and is now an accountant and an inspirational public speaker.

Physicians advised his mother Maria Jose to stop feeding him when he was a baby so that he could starve to death, because he could hardly breathe. de Oliveira was diagnosed with a rare condition called congenital arthrogryposis, or medically referred to as Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC).

According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) of the National Institutes of Health, AMC is a cluster of nonprogressive conditions that result to abnormal development of muscles and severely curved multiple joint contractures or stiff joints.

One in about 3,000 infants is said to have the condition, which is typically detected prior birth. While the symptoms and signs of the condition are present since birth, the severity can vary greatly.

Though the precise cause of the condition is not completely understood by medical professionals, genetic syndrome, maternal illness, connective tissue disorders and limited space or decreased movement in uterus were assumed to be associated with it.

GARD identified treatments for the condition such as surgery, exercise, removable splints or physical therapy.

Interestingly, de Oliveira survived and soared even with the rare condition, currently qualifying as accountant from State University of Feira de Santana.

“Since I was a child I've always liked to keep myself busy and work - I don't like to depend totally on other people,” said de Oliveira. “I do a bit of accounting, research for clients and consulting.”

He said he learned how to turn on the television, pick up his mobile phone, turn on the radio or computer and use the Internet—and does all this by himself. How? He types the computer with the pen held by his mouth, as well as uses computer mouse and phone with his lips. To walk around using his knees, which he learned when he was eight years old, he has shoes specifically made for him.

“We never tried to fix him and always wanted him to do the normal things everyone else does. That's why he is so confident. He is not ashamed of walking around in the street - he sings and he dances,” his mother said.

de Oliveira said he doesn’t see “things upside-down,” which he always talks about as a public speaker.

“Throughout my life I was able to adapt my body to the world. Right now, I don't see myself as being different. I am a normal person,” he said.

His story appears on TLC’s new series Body Bizarre starting Sept. 4.

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