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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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The Forgotten Children. ...: Special Needs Parenting 101.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Monday, June 27, 2011

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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A woman's life is changed after she visits her nephew, who lives in a home for children with severe special needs.

I wish I had never even gone there ...

I knew things were bad at the place where my nephew, Taylor, lives, but I just didn't realize HOW bad until I went to see him the other day ...

My nephew, who is 4, has severe special needs.  He was born with catastrophic brain damage and is blind, mute, and will probably never walk, talk, or do anything for himself.  Even when he gets to be an adult, he will probably require specialized care for the rest of his life.  My sister (his mother) decided that she couldn't handle the demands of caring for such a child, so she and her husband made the painful decision of having Taylor placed into thie home, where people with more knowledge and know how can care for his needs 24 hours a day.

Well, I decided to visit Taylor at the home.  I was thinking about him for a while and was wondering how he was doing, so I decided to take a trip to the home.  I was extremely nervous: I didn't know how I would react to seeing so many broken bodies ...

I decided to make a day of it.  My husband, my oldest daughter (she's 18), and myself went after Wilma+ called to ask why we never visited Taylor.  It was a four hour trip from where we lived (we lived in Sandusky; the home was located in Columbus).  On the way there, we would stop and have something to eat; then we would go to the home and see Taylor for ourselves.

We last saw Taylor when he was a few months old.  We wondered what he looked like now or if he'd grown any: he was a tiny peanut of a child the last time we'd seen him.  We were understandably nervous.

At the welcoming center of the home, a woman clad in a white nurse's uniform warmly greeted us after we'd told her we were going to see Taylor, who was a resident of the home.  She said he was doing quite well: he knew people's voices and would smile at a familiar one.  Whenever he was happy he'd giggle or squeal; if he was upset or angry, he would howl his dissent or bang his head on the bedrail.  She said for us not to be alarmed, for Taylor was sporting several big goose eggs on his forehead from his smashing his head against the railing of the bed.

We then went to see Taylor and his friends.  Nothing could have prepared us for the horror that awaited us.

There were babies and very young children (many of them wearing only diapers or hospital johnnies) lying in the beds.  Some were asleep (or were they unconscious or dead? I kept wondering); others were awake.  Some rocked back and forth; others merely stared at us or cried.  

There were also teenagers present, but they were nothing like the typical teens I knew or raised.  They were all shells of themselves: they did not look like your typical children or adolescents.

It was clear that the children would never have what one would call a viable life.  

Most had the mindset of an infant or very young toddlers; they could not take care of themselves and needed help in just about all areas of their lives.  Taylor was no exception.  He was as tiny as ever and twin black and blue marks distorted his otherwise flawless face.  His hair had bald patches and there were stitches crisscrossing his one side, by his left ear.  When I asked about it, the woman said that another kid had smashed Taylor in the head with a toy truck, cutting him to where he needed stitches.

The sight of him was truly heartshattering.  I couldn't believe how thin, how wasted he looked.  He was four, but he looked barely two.  And he certainly acted younger than a year old baby.  

I noticed that the walls were barren, free of any pictures, and few toys were scattered on the floor.  The walls were a pukey yellow-green and the windows had no screens.  Flies and other insects flew everywhere, landing on us, on the children, and anywhere else they could rest their legs or hopefully find a meal.  Some of the children had IV's or tubes in their noses; they were so weakened they couldn't een feed themeslves.  The unconscious/sleeping children were oblivious to the clouds of insects flying around or landing on them.

When I asked if the children ever got outside or had playtime, the woman said yes, but it was obvious that they did not.  A great deal of the children were in terrible shape; some looked like they were on their way to checking out.  Taylor was  one of the better looking members of the group, but I wondered how long this would last.  If the staff didn't interact with the children it woujld only be detrimental to their already pitiful existance.

That was when I got good and mad.  I decided to do something about it.  I had to do something or Taylor would end up dying or becoming worse off than what he already was.  I had to do it for him.

+Not woman's real name.

~To be continued.~  

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 6/28/2011
I am looking forward to reading the rest, you have us on the edge of our seats with this one!!!
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 6/28/2011
Sadness in these lines, Karen ... well penned.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 6/28/2011
Oh Karen don't stop now what did she do. Looking forward to reading the rest.

Newfie Hugs, Rose

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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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A compelling and imaginative story, not just about death but about life and emotional growth, a broken woman's journey towards learning to trust again...  
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