Part Three: I Wish I Could Be as Powerful as Lightning
The young people featured in this part give voice to their distinctive
relationship to disability. Some view disability as an ongoing, often
invigorating, challenge; others accept it quietly and simply; still others
embrace it with pride. As they grapple with the obstacles and the losses
that come with any major illness or disability, they uncover meaning
in their experiences.
I Wish I Could Be as Powerful as Lightning:
Includes a poem and a painting that Ryan Heraty composed when he
was seventeen. Ryan had cerebral palsy (CP) and found reading and writing
difficult due to a learning disability (LD).
Proud of Being Deaf: Lauren Smaldone wrote this
essay when she was sixteen and attending the EDCO Program for
the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at Newton North High School in Newton,
- Every Day
I Learn New Things: Luis Marquez composed
this essay and the drawing that accompanies it when he was fourteen.
Luis was born with vision in one eye and, due to detachment of the
retina, became totally blind at the age of nine.
- The Gift of Tourette: Features
Rachel H.’s personal story about living with several
neurological disorders — Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities
(LDs), depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — which she wrote when
she was seventeen. It also includes an introductory essay to the story,
which she wrote when she was twenty.
- I Just Kind
of Live with It: Lindsey Polito wrote
the letters included here over the course of a year, starting at age
fifteen. Lindsey had centronuclear myopathy, a neuromuscular disorder.
I Need a Little Talkin’ To: Based on an interview
with Michael when he was sixteen. Michael had cognitive disabilities,
was legally blind, and was attending public high school in a suburb
- An Uncharted Journey:
Drawn from letters Issadora wrote over the course of nearly two
years starting at age eighteen. Issadora had been ill all her life
with such conditions as asthma, allergies, and severe chronic pain.
During her teens, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome
Want to Be at That Victory Party: Features
a series of essays written by Christopher Edwards while he was taking
part in the Pediatric HIV Psychosocial Support Program at the National
Cancer Institute. Chris wrote the first essay when he was seven years
old and the last when he was twelve.