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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Them.': Special Needs Parenting 101.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, October 02, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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"I'd never thought I would become the parent to one of 'them'..."

A father laments the fact that his newborn son was born disabled, thus, dashing all hopes and dreams he had for his child.

I'd never thouht I would become the parent to one of "them"...

Yet that is exactly what has happened.  My son, who was born only yesterday, was born with one extra chromosome; because of it, his life has been altered and changed forever.

And I have been left wondering what went wrong, or if there was anything I could have done to prevent this from happening.  Oh, I could have had my wife, Jenny, abort the baby; however, we don't believe in abortion, so now we are faced with raising a child who is handicapped.

We are still trying to come to terms with the diagnosis of Down syndrome for our child.  Our child will always be slower developmentally than his peers; he will always be mentally disabled, as well as have some accompanying features:  the slanted eyes.  The crease in the middle of the palms of both hands.  Short, stubby fingers.  A thick neck.  Absence of the bridge of his nose.  A round, moonlike face.  A thick tongue that might impede with speaking or eating properly.  Smaller than normal ears.  Straight, thin hair. 

Little Clarkson Dillon won't look anything like his brother, Stevie, or his sister, Grace:  he'll always be marked as "different". 

I can see the staring faces, hear the cruel taunts of others as they call my child names.  Names like "retardate".  "Retarded".  "Imbecile".  "Stupid".  "Moron".  "Idiot". 

I can also see him not being included in other games played by other kids because of his mental/physical imperfections. 

I can see him sitting in a fifth grade class, the other kids laughing as he "reads" a Dr. Suess book (held upside down), or see the class bully tripping him, so he falls onto his face. 

I can see Clarkson Dillon sitting in a cold, damp factory, making small, plastic pieces for very little pay, or living in a dorm with other mentally handicapped adults, some worse off than he is, living on nothing but his SSDI check or what little money he gets at his job.

I can see the mounds of paperwork or the unsympathetic, serious expressions of doctors as they discuss his prognosis for a future.

It is not a very pretty picture, as you can very well imagine.

I can also see Clarkson lying in a hospital bed, his weakened body ravaged by leukemia (people with Down's syndrome are, for some reason, predisposed to it), fighting to live, his blue eyes asking silent, desperate questions.

I don't want none of this for my son; however, because of his "condition", his handicap, this may very well end up being his future.

As his brand new father, you can't imagine how devastated we are. 

We will try to do everything humanly possible to where our son doesn't have to face such a dark, bleak, cold future; these images, however, play (and replay) constantly in our minds, leaving both Jenny and myself in a state of disbelief, shock, and burgeoning depression that threatens to consume us alive.

Why couldn't we have had a son who was born "normal"??  We aren't ready to face this; our son deserves to have a far better future than what people or doctors are already painting for us and for Clarkson!


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Reviewed by Stephen Trudeau 10/4/2009
The loss of the ideal child is a very deep wound for parents. There is a tremendous amount of guilt for even feeling this way. As time goes on chronic sorrow develops which can be devastating and deteriorate the quality of life for parents as well as the children. Special needs children require so much extra attention and worry, however, they also bring so much joy into our lives.

Dr. Stephen Trudeau
Author - The Special Needs of Parenting.
Reviewed by Linda Settles 10/3/2009
I always forget, Karen, that your stories are "fiction" which is not to say that they are not "true," for we know there are--somewhere. They are real. When I was preganant with my first child I was told she might be born handicapped or even tragically malformed. I refused further testing because I wanted my baby in any form or condition. If God saw fit to give her life, I (and my husband) was ready to raise her. She was born perfectly normal--and remained that way until she reached her teens at which time she because--well, a teen! Now she's grown and a beauty to behold! Good job dear friend.
Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 10/3/2009
It's all about believing and having faith, isn't it Karen?
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 10/3/2009
If Helen Keller parents had given up, they wouldn't have experienced how great things their child could accomplish even being deaf and blind.
Faith and believing is needed to go forward.


Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/2/2009
Conversely, Karen, Clarkson's parents can see the positive things about their son, the things he will accomplish, given the chance. They can't give up now, his (their) journey is just beginning! Well penned.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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