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Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities
Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities



My Privacy World

Lori Turbenson

I discovered Lori when she was featured in an article about young artists that ran in the Down Syndrome News, a publication of the Down Syndrome Congress. Lori, who was fifteen at the time, said she loved to write and hoped to be a writer when she grew up.

Speaking to me about some of the writing by Lori included here, her mother commented on the sheer delight that her daughter took in the sound and juxtaposition of words. “Lori really just likes playing with language,” she said, observing that it often didn’t matter to her daughter if what she wrote made sense.

Lori composed an autobiographical sketch for this anthology that I think best introduces herself. Her other compositions follow.

Hello, my name is Lori Turbenson. I am 16 years old, a child with Down Syndrome. I was born in Mercy Hospital on March 26, in 1980. I arrived at 7:02 P.M. I was in my mother’s arms, sleeping. I was baptized in the hospital when I had spinal meningitis.

I started school when I was two years old. I went to many different schools, but I remember all my teachers. This year I’m going into 11th grade and I’m going to be a Junior. I always love school.

When I am not in school there are some things that I like to do. I like music and I have taken voice lessons because I want to sing in tune. I also take piano lessons and I like to play for people. Some other things I like to do are cooking, memorizing, gymnastics, dancing, singing with songs on my CD, going to camp in the summer, and swimming.

I live with my family. My parents have been married about 25 years. My dad is a director in American Express, and my mom is an ESL teacher. I have one sister and she is 18 years old. She is going to college next year, so she’s running away from her family. I have one brother and he is 12 years old. We don’t always get along and sometimes we argue.

I like my friends with Down Syndrome and I like my other friends with disabilities and abilities. I like my cousins because they’re nice, and one of my cousins is funny.

I also have a love life. I have boyfriends. They are major cute.

Every night I go to my dreamland to see what it’s like to be a parent with Down Syndrome. I wish I would be that parent.

I memorize well. My brain is called a “computer device,” and my head is called the “computer memorizing machine.” And it’s really private and I love it!

My Room*

My room is my favorite place to be. Because I live in it. It’s the reason why I pick my room for my favorite, because I get more space. And it’s also private. My room is my privacy house where I sing, where I write, where I have privacy space to sleep, where I keep peace, where I invite my friend, where I make private friend clubs, where I have faith in God.

My Head

I memorize a lot! One thing that I memorize is cartoon characters. The characters that I memorize are in my head. I have two computer disks. One computer disk is in my right ear and another computer disk is in my brain. The computer screen is my head. The computer keys are on my forehead. The computer printer is my left ear, and my coming-out printer is my mouth.

My Head (part 2)

My head is very good to wear, and it has a great personality all its own. I memorize with it. My head memorizes a lot! It memorizes actors and singers. My head has a computer, and it’s called “Private Computer.”

I think it’s great to have a head.

My Memory

I think I have a good memory.

It’s called “Private Memory Machine”
with a memorizing device that tells me what to write about,
      my parents
      my Life
      my private life
      my room
      my feelings
      my family
      and many more things.

It also has private information for notes and letters that I write.

Timothy B. Schmitt

I like Timothy B. Schmitt
because he’s a chicken,
he’s a box,
he’s wearing underwear,
he’s a porpoise,
he’s a god of all hair,
he’s Elvis,
he’s a hornet,
he’s a whale with polka dots,
he’s a kangaroo,
he’s thin,
he’s skinny,
he’s a dying fish,
he’s gay,
he’s young,
he’s a chick,
he’s odd,
he’s dead,
he died on his mother,
he’s a net that doesn’t need frogs that can’t swallow flies.

*Editor’s note: “My Room” by Lori Turbenson was originally published in another form in Vol. 19, No.8 of Down Syndrome News, newsletter of the National Down Syndrome Congress, 1605 Chantilly Drive, Suite 250, Atlanta, GA 30324-3269.

For more information about the disabilities discussed in this story, please visit the Resource Links page.




spacerLinda Hillyer, compiler and editor of Listen to Our Stories
logo art by Adiyana Paramita
The combined contents of this website are © 2006-17 Linda Hillyer. All rights reserved.