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Laughter Heals Us All

Free Short Story

Families Learn Together


Challenged Child

A girl lies down in the floor of a major department store and begins kicking and screaming as though she is being physically hurt. People instinctively look, only to see an eight-year-old behaving as though she was eighteen-months old. The whispers of the quick to judge people tell the mother that the people do not understand. How are they to know that her daughter has brain damage due to a high fever when she was only nine-months old? The brain damage had left the child with several problems such as seizures, uncontrolled behavior, poor motor skills, and of course social problems. Living with a challenged child can be physically and socially hard for both the caretaker and the child.

When some adults see her daughter miss-behave they look at the mother with disapproval. They have no way of knowing if it is an uncontrolled episode her daughter may be suffering, or a well-trained tantrum. Some people shy away due to fear or embarrassment, and some people just stand and stare. Even worse are the times when other children shy away leaving the child to feel unaccepted?

Her daughter does not understand why other children do not want to play with her, or why she is not able to perform certain activities like most other children. The other children do not understand why her daughter pinches when she is excited, or even why she gets so excited. Some children are even rude and call her names. There are a lot of children, like her daughter, who have to take medications to help them for health and social reasons. However, like her daughter, they get tired of taking daily medication that may smell like strawberries, but taste like chalk. The mother knows that it would be easy for her daughter, and others like her, to withdraw into a private little world if not carefully managed and counseled. The mother knows that she should take caution in how she talks to her daughter. She knows that even children without major problems are easily led to have the wrong impression about them-selves when negative feelings are directed toward them. She tries to focus on the good traits of her daughter, and works hard to let the child know that she is loved and accepted. However, she also knows that there should be rules set even for the physically and mentally challenged children. The mother knows that children should be taught that there are acceptable and not acceptable behaviors, and that certain consequences result when the rules are broken, such as the tantrum in the department store. She has learned that consistency with upholding rules lead to a much smoother and rewarding home life, and in the long run makes life for her daughter and her-self much easier.

It is difficult at times to know just what to do when problems arise. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, and just don't see how you are going to make it another day. Then the next day you may feel blessed and wonder what you did to have a child that loves you so much. My daughter is grown now, and has her own children. By the grace of God she no longer suffers the same disabilities that she had when she was younger. It took a lot of praying, deep breathing, specialist, training, and will power on her part to overcome her situation. She is even popular now. It was a long haul uphill, but it was worth every minute. I look back and remember the times I just sat and cried for my daughter when she was in distress, and I remember the times she achieved a small goal with a big beautiful smile bouncing with pleasure. I lived away from my family. I only had my church family, and friends, for support. I did not have extended or anonymous support that could have help to relieve some of my stress or guilt that I had once in a while. I am glad that now days there are a number of people and places that you can turn to for guidance, or simply just for someone to talk to, just by searching the internet for challenged children. You may even find support groups in some areas. I am only one person, but I care. If you want to share your small story please feel free to leave a comment in the comment box below. Thank you for taking the time to read our little story. Good luck, and God bless you.

Copyright 2010 by Virginia Sullinger.
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