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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Kid With Special Needs #2 (by Ronee', aged 11)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, May 14, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A popular girl living with special needs opens up and tells us how others view her. She is one of "the so-called 'in crowd'", but she still feels like an outsider at times because of her disabilities.

I guess I have it luckier than most kids in my position because even though I am disabled, I am still "accepted" by the popular kids and am very well liked and have tons of friends; and I don't have it as rough as the non-popular kids; but at times I still feel like an outsider.

I am not in special needs class, nor do I take special classes; I am "mainstreamed" into regular classes, and I also am in the school's "Gifted/Talented" program. I seem to be a normal kid in all ways except I don't walk as well as most kids and I have to use walking aids (or a wheelchair when my arthritis is really giving me a hard time); but other than that, I don't have much trouble at school. Of course, I have to leave earlier than a lot of the other kids or have some friends help me with my books, but I don't have a lot of problems at school, and if I need any help, I can always find it.

But I still feel like an outsider at times; and this is when I feel as though everyone is staring at me. I don't like looking different any more than anyone else does, and I don't like having to rely on walking aids or having to wear these stupid braces on my legs. I also hate it when kids snicker at me or point whenever they first see me or laugh right out loud if I accidentally lose my balance and end up on the ground! That really makes me mad, especially if they don't help me back up to my feet or ask if I need a helping hand in standing back up. They can be so rude and unthoughtful at times, and it really makes my blood BOIL!! Now, when I am in my wheelchair, I don't have to worry about falling so much; but even at times using a wheelchair is a pain, especially if my shoulders or arms are acting up! Then it is twice as hard for me to get around, and at times I just get so frustrated and angry with my JRA all I want to do is SCREAM!!!!

I know that having arthritis isn't my fault (it is something that just happened is all), and I have nobody to blame for it, but still, living with pain is no fun, and because of it, I have to take Adapted P.E. or do things differently, like when I go bowling. Instead of throwing the ball down the lane, I use a ramp, and I use a very lightweight ball; the regular bowling balls are just too rough on my arthritic joints! Or I can't run as fast as the other kids, and they get mad because I tend to hold them up, and they get mad at me. I also don't like it when I have a flare or miss school; I have always wanted to have "perfect attendance" in school and get a certificate for not missing any of my classes, but when you live with something like JRA that can make you sick at times, this is next to impossible, and then I feel as though I have failed; and it makes me sad. I also worry about missing important school assignments or notes when I have a flare or get sick, and I worry about dropping grades. I do my best at school, even with all the pain I go through, but I wish it is something I could just forget altogether and live life like any other kid WITHOUT a disability!

Maman and daddy both tell me at times I am just being silly or I worry too much, but I can't help it. It is embarrassing having to live with a problem like mine, and sometimes people don't understand that the pain I feel every day is real; they think I am faking it or am just looking for any excuse to get out of gym or something. They don't know what it is like to wake up every morning to stiff or achy joints, or sore fingers, hips, wrists, feet, ankles, or back, and they don't know how it is to take many different yucky-tasting medications to help with the pain or inflammation. They don't know what it is like to have to go to therapy three times a week before school (and on those days I get up at 3, so I can have my bath to unstiffen my joints, eat, take my meds, and get to the hospital by 7!), or how it is to struggle with my walking! I bet if they were in my position, they would know that I am NOT faking it or what I live with every day is REAL!! It may NOT be reality to them, but to me, it IS, and I HATE living my life every day with PAIN! If I could just cut off my body and trade it with one that worked or with one that did NOT hurt, that would be GREAT, but UNTIL bodies can be transplanted, I guess I am stuck with the one I have! In other words, I just gotta' learn to make the best out of it and put up with this monster called PAIN and all the "benefits" that come along with having JRA!!!!

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Reviewed by Fran Lenzo 5/18/2004
This is a great story Karen! This helps me understand Jim even more. He wears a brace because his balance isn't that good.

I truly appreciate the depth of feelings you express.

Great writing!

Reviewed by E T Waldron 5/15/2004
Very intense emotions from Ronee.It's good to
see how others have to live ,to help keep things
in perspective. Excellent write again Karen!
It's so sad when the young have to suffer without
benefit of the wisdom of God, who is with them
through their suffering when they know Him well.
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 5/15/2004
Powerful story once again Karen!!

Keep that penn flowing girl!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 5/14/2004
This is excellent, keep up the great work...
God Bless
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 5/14/2004

on the inside, looking out...WOW, what a powerful story you've penned in this one...great writing!

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)

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