A man from Brazil defied all odds 37 years ago when he was born with an upside-down head and survived to become an accountant and inspirational public speaker. Claudio Vieira de Oliveira of Monte Santo, Brazil, has overcome his physical limitations, including badly deformed legs and no use of his arms and hands, to teach himself how to be largely independent by doing basic tasks. Despite suffering from a rare degenerative disease, congenital arthrogryposis, the 37-year-old considers himself normal and adapts his body to the world.

“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, the Daily Mail reported. It was not until he was 8 years old that he began to walk on his knees. This led de Oliveira’s mom, Maria Jose Vieira Martins, and the rest of his family members to refurnish the house so he could walk around without injuring himself. The man’s bed, plugs, and lights are among some of things made lower so he could do things for himself without asking for help.

Although de Oliveira has battled his rare condition for almost two decades, it was just recently doctors diagnosed him with congenital arthrogryposis. Doctors suspect he has multiple joint contractions in his legs and arms, which means they cannot extend properly. According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, the disease is thought to be associated with decreased movement or limited space in utero, connective tissue disorders, or maternal illness, sometimes occurring as part of genetic syndrome.

He has learned to turn on the TV, pick up his cellphone, turn on the radio, and use the Internet and his computer all by himself. “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,” de Oliveira said. He reassures, “I don't see things upside-down. This is one of the things I always talk about in my interventions as a public speaker.”

His journey can be seen on TLC’s UK series Body Bizarre, on Sept. 4 at 9 p.m.