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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Just Tori, Nothing Else.': Special Needs Parenting 101
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, February 22, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A family is delighted at their special child's accomplishments.

If people could learn to see past her imperfections, see what we see in our daughter, maybe the world would be a much kinder, gentler, nicer place, not only for our daughter, but for all people.

We have two children, a boy, Simon, and a girl, Victoria.  Simon Reginald is eight.  Our daughter, Victoria Grace, is seven. They're a year apart, yet they couldn't be more different.

Besides being a boy and girl, there are other differences that set them apart.  Simon is fair, blonde-haired, and hazel-eyed like his dad, and Victoria is dark, with black hair and black eyes. She resembles me, her mother.

Also, Simon is loud, gregarious, opinionated (he could give "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell a run for his money with his running commentary LOL) while Victoria is more laid-back, shyer than her brother, and prefers to spend time alone.

Victoria (often called "Tori" by family or friends) is a special child.  She was born with mental retardation. Her brain was damaged somehow when she was being born.  For this reason, she has the mental capacities of a two-to-four-year-old child.  Much to our relief, Tori recently completed toilet training.

We thought she'd never get out of diapers!!

Victoria looks normal enough; however, her social and developmental skills are far behind most kids her age.  She is in kindergarten, in classes for children who have special needs.  Tori cries easily, especially when teased by other kids who don't understand her problems or if she sees other children or animals being hurt in any way.  She has always had a sensitive spirit about her.

We know our daughter has problems.  That's plain to see when we see her struggling in social or educational circles; when people talk down to her like she is a baby or make disparaging comments about her handicap, we get angry.  Very much so.  Don't they understand that she is a person, too, that she has feelings, just like anybody else??

Don't they know that she is capable of talking, making her feelings/desires known?  Tori may not talk as well or understand as well as most kids, but she can cemmunicate, and is able to learn (with help).

She is not a moron.  She's a human being deserving of being treated with dignity and respect.

When we talk to people about our daughter, we address her as our daughter, Tori.  We don't focus so much on her disabilities in learning or development.  We focus more on what she can do.

To us, she is just Tori.  Our little girl.  Nothing else.

I'd rather keep it that way.  If people can't learn to see past her imperfections, then they are the ones who are truly handicapped.

~Written by Roberta Eileen Bradshaw, Tori and Simon's mother.

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Reviewed by Susan de Vegter 2/22/2008
There is a little fella named Kendyl whose brain gray matter is largwer than normal and tyaking over. He has no motor skills at 2 years old and wears glsses so think it's unimaginable. He is complete dead weight but beautiful and laughs all the time. he lies in bed on one side or the other and is fed through a tube in his stomache. He is normal to himself. He sings and recognizes family and a miracle. I can't imagine not seeing his progress and just how well equipped he is at making his doctors look so silly. Please keep your hearts full of God's children for they are the special parts of everyday.
Blessings and love,
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 2/22/2008
I have seen more beauty in a smile on deformed face of a sick child than on the Max Factor war paint ones.
One has genuine the other has beautiful as a counterfeited 100 dollar bill.

Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/22/2008

People who make snap judgements on a person because of their looks or actions are truly the ones with handicaps. An excellent reminder in Tori's story, well done.

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

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