My mother’s wish was to have a boy and a girl, and here came me another boy.
I was the child that my mother did not want and tried to abandon. She was outraged that I was
another boy and that I had mental health problems. I even think she hated that I was ten pounds
and weighed more than any of her children. Being a child with significant learning delays
brought stress upon my mother which meant a multitude of abuse for me. I felt like a stranger
living with my mother and her family because she didn’t treat me like a child she loved.
Growing up, I was diagnosed with multiple disabilities such as autism, attention deficit disorder
and had multiple seizures.
At age five, I was diagnosed with autism which was also associated with the other
disabilities I had. I had abnormal behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking, hiding, not
responding to my name when called, and refusing to be touched. I arranged and rearranged
objects and sucked my ring finger. I avoided social activities with members of my family and
stayed away from them as much as possible. I repeatedly flushed the toilet because the sound
fascinated me. My autism also caused delays in brain function. Consequently, I was two years
old when I started walking, six when I began to sit upright, ten until I learned how to tie my
shoes and I was seventeen when I finally learned how to grip a pencil correctly. Because of
autism, I repeatedly made towers out of blocks and opened and closed doors. My mother, aunt
and a few teachers made me feel worthless and useless because I had autism and would bully or
make fun of me because of my disability.
Along with the autism, I displayed many significant symptoms of attention deficit
disorder when I was in elementary school. Behaviors included a short attention span, difficulty
focusing and paying attention, easily forgetting things, anxiety and depression. When something
was too hard for me to understand, my body would shiver, my head would hurt, my heart would
pound, and I felt like passing out. I looked down at the floor for long periods of time, to stop
people from looking at me having a nervous breakdown. My teacher would think something was
wrong with me, but I did not want to say anything because of my speech impediment.
Another problem I had growing up was seizures. This came about from either being
thrown or having multiple disabilities. My symptoms included blacking out, falling, shaking my
body, twitching and jerking. I even had milder symptoms such as a blank stare, and small hand
movements. The seizures I had were both severe and moderate. It was scary to have a seizure
because they are unexpected and a terrifying experience. My mother and aunt thought I had a
brain disorder because of my frequent seizures. When I recovered after having a seizure, I would
have a bad headache with sharp pain going through my body. I couldn’t think straight after
having a seizure or remember what happened before I had it. Having a seizure was one horrible
event that occurred in my childhood.
Due to all of the mental disabilities I was diagnosed with, I was placed in special
education. My mental condition was too severe that I could not be in a general class setting.
Starting at age two, I received occupational therapy for mental retardation and autism. Then, at
age three, I was placed in Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities for almost three
years. This program is an early childhood intervention that provides services for children with
special needs. The preschool program demanded speech services and for me to see a
psychologist, neurologist, and various other mental health doctors. I was one of the only students
that was supervised regularly by school staff and repeatedly hit with a rubber band for my
behavior. I was in special education and received these services until I graduated high school.
I felt that my disabilities would have been enough of a barrier to overcome without the
abuse. Special education and having multiple disabilities has made me different and
unique. I need special attention and services because I displayed behaviors that were abnormal. I
always stood and was referred to as, “That silent weird kid!” The support from my older brothers
(Maynard and Marcus), younger sister (Shaneka), Dr. Loston, my professors and staff at St.
Philips College, and many others have always had confidence in me to be successful even with a
disability. Because of their support, I myself gained confidence to strive to greatness while
undergoing obstacles. I learned that having a disability does not make you ineligible to become
successful. Multiple disabilities and special education has made me realize that I’m different and
to always be different in a good way. It helped me to see that I was a special person and to
always believe in myself no matter who tells me otherwise.