Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I’ve been reading Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs. This is a compilation of stories by parents, teachers, and others working with disabled children. Having been a disabled child myself, I feel a special bond with these children and their parents.

Fortunately, my parents didn’t have to put up with screaming, head banging, or other destructive behaviors of autistic or emotionally disturbed children, nor did they have to deal with a debilitating physical disordered that confined me to a wheelchair. The only part of my body that didn’t’ work well and still doesn’t is my eyes.

Even so, teaching a child with a visual impairment how to care for herself and do other tasks can be a challenge, and the  Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind in Tucson, where we lived, was little help. They taught me to read and write Braille, and I learned English, spelling, and arithmetic like any sighted child, but when I was ten, the school sent my parents a letter telling them that over the summer, they needed to teach me certain skills such as making a bed and fixing myself a sandwich, and if they failed, I would have to live in the dormitory the following year. I don’t remember much about that summer, but I do know that my mother taught me how to make my bed, peel a banana, pour myself a glass of chocolate milk, and eat a sandwich. In the fall, I was tested, and I passed.

There’s my tale of triumphing over adversity as a disabled child. If Chicken Soup for the Soul were publishing an anthology about disabled children in the sixties when I was growing up, my mother would have told them her story. To learn more about Chicken Soup for the Soul books, go to http://www.chickensoup.com/

Abbie Johnson Taylor
Author of We Shall Overcome

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