Monday, November 12, 2007
My 17 year old son, Chip, entered the PTA Reflections contest at his high school. This year's theme was "I Can Make A Difference By..." His essay on that theme won honorable mention, and I am proud to share it with all of you!
I have two sisters and one brother, and they each have special needs. My sister Ashley is twelve years old and is deafblind. She was adopted into our family when she was two years old. Her birthmother was an alcoholic, and Ashley was born 14 weeks early. In addition to being deafblind, she has epilepsy, ADHD, and has had two brain tumors removed. She was recently diagnosed with three more brain tumors.
My sister Jessica is 16 years old. She was adopted into our family when she was nine years old. She had brain cancer as a baby, followed by two years of chemotherapy and radiation. Those things left her moderately mentally retarded and with limited use of the left side of her body. She is also diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder which means she has outbursts of aggressive behavior. She is on a lot of different medicines to help her try to control her aggressive behavior.
My brother Corey is 15 years old. He joined our family when he was 13 years old. Prior to that, he had lived on the streets of Baltimore with his mother. His mother was an alcoholic and a drug addict. Corey is diagnosed with ADHD, but he is also pretty far behind on a lot of his academic and social skills.
Even though each of my siblings has a lot of special needs, they lead pretty normal lives. They like a lot of the same things I do, and we always go everywhere as a family. My sister, Ashley, loves the beach and roller coasters. Jessica loves to go shopping just like all the other teenaged girls I know, and she has a crush on her teacher. Corey likes sports just like I do, and this year is in the JROTC.
Even though my brother and sisters have special needs, they each make a difference every day in the lives of many people. They have a lot to offer this world, and they all want to be treated just like everyone else. I can make a difference by helping to tell their story and the stories of other people with special needs.