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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



Pictures Talk Best

Lynne [last name withheld]

I first spoke with Lynne when she was eight years old. Her strong and tender feelings and her imagination and good nature made themselves felt throughout our conversation. Lynne is a girl of few words, but her mother was able to fill me in on many of the more concrete details that follow.

Lynne has three sisters: one older, one younger, and the third an identical twin. Both she and her twin, Marie, were born prematurely, but only Lynne has disabilities. At birth she had a number of cardiac anomalies. One — coarctation, or severe constriction, of her aorta — was repaired when she was two weeks old. The other — a bicuspid aortic valve with mild stenosis (a slightly narrowed valve that has two rather than the usual three cusps) — was not repaired and, according to her mother, could become a problem later in life.

Sometime before she turned four, Lynne had two strokes. These caused permanent brain damage and were likely the source of her other disabilities: epilepsy (complex partial seizures), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aphasia, and impaired hand-eye coordination. The seizures were cut back considerably through medication when she was about five, which enabled her to concentrate enough to learn. Nevertheless, when we talked, Lynne told me the seizures made her sad; they hurt her head and heart and caused her to cry.

Lynne said that she and Marie understood each other well and that her twin knew how she felt just by seeing and hearing her. The year we spoke, the two girls were in the same class in second grade. However, Lynne met with her speech and occupational therapists a couple of times a week and spent more than half of the rest of each school day in the resource room, a classroom set aside for kids with learning disabilities. She said she liked the resource room but that it made her feel bad to go into a separate area from her sister, since Marie got to do “handwriting.” Lynne was doing most of her writing by computer. She explained it was easier for her to say things with the computer than with speech. It was even easier, she said, to say things with pictures.

Lynne drew the picture shown here when she was seven years old. It won her a blue ribbon at her school.

Drawing by Lynne [last name withheld]

Drawing by Lynne [last name withheld]

Click here to read a description of this drawing

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
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