spacer spacer spacer
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



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.

  1. 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).

  2. I’m 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, Massachusetts.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Sometimes 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 of Boston.

  7. 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 (FMS).

  8. I 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.



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.