Living with a Special Need: Physical Challenges

This series educates young readers about a variety of special needs their peers live with every day. There are many kinds of physical challenges. Some of these are the result of an injury, while other challenges are caused by a condition with which the person was born. Many of these conditions will last forever, and some will get worse as the individual gets older. When fourteen-year-old Samantha discovers that her new neighbor, Jenny, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, Samantha’s not sure what to expect. Through her growing friendship with Jenny, though, Samantha meets other kids with physical challenges. For ages 12 and up.

© 2015 Joan Esherick
Audience: Adolescents/Teens, Parent, Professional
Language: Eng

“Amistad It’s been a while since we smiled together and you keep learning while I try to forget but there’s always something new to talk about something that will make you remember what I’ve forgotten and will make me learn what you already know. Awakening It had been raining for several days and the musical sound of the rain got me to sleep. Not long after I woke up and my heart was full of bliss. Everything in the room seemed to be new and bright I looked through the window and the storm had gone all of a sudden I felt so alive. I opened my eyes, the windows, the door and left for good. Conspiracy of Silence We give each other the eye hoping that the message will get through. We are no good with words and meanwhile Time covers with dust the chance of a lifetime. We scavenge for signs, errand smiles like love-arrows but they’ll never manage to hit us. In the meantime we long ,hope and grow in despair. My heart lets go a desperate cry and I , I am too afraid to listen. The truth hurts, and hurt, hurt is the last thing I need right now. Even if it came from you. Cupid A souvenir, a broken angel rests naked on your bed. His cracked skin reminds you of a smile long gone away. From his head dives a hair like a feather, landing softly on his always alert wing. Just waiting for a sign, a direction like the winds show you the way. And quietly, like a kiss is born a silent good bye is muttered. Two, only two feathers will cover now the hermetically closed eyes of the sleeping lover. Days Slippery snakes of Wisdom. Catch one, teach her to move slowly, to watch around, days, tamed snakes curious and inoffensive, unaware that nights, nights, are unscrupulous eagles, eagles who find their prey in slow, curious, inoffensive snakes. Dreams Indiscriminate projections of has been not quite are, still to be. Fairies of time, foolish directors of an orchestra of whispers, dialogues, screams. Lost souls, past visitors of paradise, travellers of time. They offer you enjoyable visions which disturb your inner steadiness. Your eyes remain closed to the self-imposed reality, while the person you’ve been, not quite are, still to be, wakes up asking questions only the fairies of time can answer… Exodus How long does it take one man to grow up and above the child inside. At coffee-takes the serene mind will elaborate trying to find the right way out. The misty lagoon, a labyrinth of heavy water its thickness blinds, nowhere to go nothing much behind while from the other side the faint sound of metallic chimes proposes a new start. Get out there never come back don’t try to try don’t listen much. I don’t know where to go Destiny is written with blurry words I can’t make out where that voice is coming from. just let me get out of this claustrophobic sea let me swim with style see me going far away from here. There’s a man I used to know I learned so much from him just like watching a car driving so fucking fast. On the number plate I could barely read “See you later on when the rain comes” Maybe since then I’ve been longing to get wet to cross the tunnel follow the seagulls that promise me land. A firm surface, the Sun above my head again I need to close my eyes just for a minute. I want to see no more I just want to listen with my heart and hear the mermaids singing me to sleep until I wake up on a bed of secrets. Like the ones kept within your walls; innocent flowers neglected by the lazy gardener who once or twice thought it would be a good idea to bring some colour to his uneventful existence. Friends Whenever it’s cold outside and I feel like a groom with no bride, when words are like a jigsaw and you say the missing ones, whenever I need a shot of altruistic wisdom or a piece of holy bread, when the sound of silence spells out the word friend, you are what I see you are what I get brother at thick and thin you give the word friend a good name. God What does god think, what does god say, in lonely moments, to whom does he pray. What does he see when he opens his eyes and looks down here. Are we all the same, our dreams his task, our hearts his pain, our sins his fate. How is his house, when is he there, does he ever go out, is he aware…? Does he understand the power of love, the meaning of ‘you’ the reasons of love. I’ve never met him, I’ve just heard what people say but I wonder, is he on his own, longing for someone, praying to his god. Home Home, physical extension of my very essence where friends sit by the fire. And with or without it unload the ephemeral burden of a hectic but absolutely necessary day which gives way to tomorrow. Honesty Displaying honesty always, well, almost every time, feels like jumping from the top of an incredibly high cliff without a safety net. The long fall gives you enough time to learn how to fly. By taking side-tracks, enjoying the wrong feeling at the wrong time, distraction takes away the little time left. Then, the smash against an adverse reality is unavoidable. If I ever had to go away Every morning brings a promise as every tree tells a story. Thousands of streets and only one destination to walk without touching the ground, to smile without faking the intention. Too many borders and colours and flags so many feelings that you can’t deny but every single time you close your eyes a happy guitar makes the blood in your veins run wild. How could I breathe another air, would I smile without the light of the sun above my head and if I went away, what if I happened to have a doubt wouldn’t I miss the nervous sea and its confused thoughts. Could I also recognise another flower’s scent and when they talked to me do you think I’d understand would a single bottle of wine make us friends after a while. Would my memory forget where I come from your voice, your smell, your taste and pain. If I have to go away everything under my skin will be my home. My eyes will be my stars, my smile my sun my feet my vehicle, the memory about you will show me my North and when the night comes and the cricket sings its song I’ll be merry because I won’t be alone. Imagine that you are dreaming Close your eyes and look at me can you still see me? Now put your hands inside your pockets. can you still feel me? Imagine now that you are dreaming am I still there? And now open your eyes. am I gone? Pretend for a moment that I don’t love you, was it easy? Pretend now that you don’t care about me. was it difficult? Imagine now that you are awake while I’m sleeping by your side. In my dream I haven’t met you yet but I’m still looking for you when you, impatient, wake me up… Seeping gravity It’s about time you ignored the things you were taught to do and say. Unearth the roots of your doubts and let the plant you are grow and cast some shade. Everybody seems to know the truth, the difference between right and wrong but we still fool and fail and fall. I’ve wasted too much time pretending to be someone I’m not, faking my smile postponing my goals but every time it started to rain everybody got wet, everybody got cold. Tonight the Universe is silent afraid of disturbing your rest the Eagle, first lady of the sky approaches in silence her nest. The waterfalls are dormant, claustrophobic waters stagnated in their own limitation, sleeping gravity. The book of my thirst is open blank pages, hermit silence, let your dreams, fragile butterflies rest from their long and tiring journey and marry the recycled paper, discreet witness of so many lost battles and romances or quests and victories maybe promises, always realities. My eyes once asked me ‘where’s Beauty gone to?’ I closed them to concentrate in such a difficult question when I heard them saying ‘oh, we see’. Masks Masks are in again one size fits all. Upper market ones are becoming increasingly popular. Fashion victims wander around searching for the most ambiguous ones. Mind you, they happen to be incredibly expensive and still you can always find something seemingly superfluous to swap them for, what makes them seem affordable. And still I think I’m too shy to wear one. Mingling with gods Suddenly there triumphant and complete the nights have been long and cold, the days never-ending roads, hundreds of obstacles to overcome. You feel tired and impatient the dust blocks your pores, making breathing a difficult task one more challenge for your resolute essence. one more reason for not giving up. Did you sacrifice an ephemeral bliss, a temporary haven with a candle as its only sun? Persistence always has its reward the further you get, the lighter the steps. Half man, half angel your smile is now your guiding star as the muscles of your soul start to relax stop, take a deep breath and enjoy the view of the promised land. Nature honours you with a standing ovation a waterfall of dreams which purifies your spirit. You have conquered a brand new world, the power of the waves is now your own reflection. Enjoy this well deserved prize you are the only spectator in this unique performance a piece of Heaven on Earth, the energy of Life, a perpetual membership in the creation. Half angel, a whole man. Morning Morning of planes and seagulls and from the distance the whining from the rusty, old, tired factory of dreams. My eyes still to open not quite ready for what the excited Sun will bring. The butterfly hasn’t paid me a visit for a while. She has probably lost her way back home and is wandering in circles like a winged nomad in her search for the Music or maybe, she doesn’t intend to ever come back. The crow, my neighbour scavenges for anything edible in comforting solitude still unaware of how conscious of your physical extension an empty stomach can make you feel. The heart keeps pumping blood as that’s its only task and blood, streaming in never-ending rivers of Life reaches as far as your own existence itself drawing an imaginary dividing line between your essence and the infinite fields where the plants which blossom ‘the questions’ grow. The butterfly might arrive today from her long and arduous search for the land where Music eclipses the artificial value of words. Planes rarely return from there as seagulls have been doing since time was first measured but planes were never taught to share. That’s the very first thing the butterfly learnt form me and while I look deep into the eyes of the wise horizon my heart keeps pumping blood. Maybe the rivers of Life will someday flow across the fields, those fields where the plants which blossom aromatic music grow. Like the flowers of tomorrow, like your dreams of yesterday. Ms Understanding I’m not sure how to take it, being understood I mean. Such an unfathomable wisdom served on a delicate ancient tray; never as edible as simple thoughts. You say you know what I mean. Do you really? How bright is the flame that crowns us as the mighty kings of an ephemeral darkness. When switching the light on the chemistry seems to gradually fade away until our own shadows are all what is left. I know what you mean even when you are just thinking aloud Stop thinking! I got your point. The infinite field A sudden blow of frosty wind it comes from nowhere, or at least from nowhere you’ve been to before. Your limbs are numb and your blood, your blood reposes stagnated, stagnated like the rivers of Winter. You suffer and breathe the gelid night the winter has arrived you feel it in your bones and you see it projected on a gigantic white screen the screen that time magnifies and your brain erects so you can see how your already lived seconds look like. Warmth, the true essence of Life and Life, Life seems to be fading away walking slowly to the other side wherever it may be while you urgently need that warmth and decide, too aware of the non-existence of an option, to walk by her side being your own Life’s travelling companion in a hopeful journey heading for the land where the Sun, the great provider, lays his nest. And maybe up or down there, a sudden blow of warm, comforting wind will push open the rusty locks which keep the heavy doors of your own world shut presenting you with the long awaited view of an infinite field and now you, you are your own limitation. One country one faith Golden rust covers its legend while brand new dreamers are born every day. Tiny plants struggle to grow neglected by the purifying rain. Up there the golden star is watching flirting with the Sea, wise goddess on Earth. Rusty bells are tolled in the distance while the tiny snowy church waits resigned for ‘them’. But they are not there anymore maybe you can see their flesh but their souls have gone away. One night while we were sleeping a thief broke into our veins taking away our identity, our words, our essence, our pride. So we took boats, cars and plains leaving behind our much loved Spain with one resolution as our only luggage. The determination of finding respect. The morning will come, the Sea will relax her tense muscles and will kiss the Sun on his face. The wind will blow gently swallowing the dust revealing his secrets to those who listen with open ears. At last the rain will arrive and the flowers will smile once more then I will look at you while you hold my hand. I will whisper at your ear the words we taught and on a silver tray I will give you my heart, my essence, my soul. The Sun and the Sea will witness our love and we will be grateful for theirs. Soul and flesh as one again. One only country, only one faith. Paradise lost, paradise found It’s too late now! I used to watch you all from my side of the fence. that fence which kept me away from your paradise. I always dreamt of being part of it. How beautiful it seemed to me. I saw you smiling; safe and complete. there were no fountains with fresh crystal water but the sky was always blue and the sun was always shining but I stood at the other side and out there, there was always a storm. It was always raining and I felt so cold. At some point I stopped dreaming of coming in but I still wanted to be part of it. I wasn’t looking for anything else and you gave me indifference for free. I never stopped dreaming and in my dreams I created a tailor-made paradise for myself. It wasn’t as yours but it satisfied my needs. Now the leaves of paradise have yellowed and the fence is rusty, old and weak. Now you look at me from the other side so proud to ask, while shivering nervously so ashamed to pay me a visit. So far, when I’d love to share my haven with you. If you only asked… Physical Geography In a effortless attempt I climbed the highest mountain and once up there, at the peak, I could remember what I was searching for. I learned the answers to questions never asked. Yes became maybe and never was no longer acceptable. I only know about things I haven’t experienced yet and however I learn to forget a little more every day. Not making sense is the best way of saying it all and still, words can sometimes be an indomitable river which brings together two cities in the map of love. Red wine Let me drink of your wisdom so I can finish my book, let me burn in Hell and when I’m about to disintegrate stop it all and whisper at my ear ‘It was only a dream, a bad dream’. I‘ll let you read what is written in my eyes and tasting the most delicious wine brought to us from the gods’ cellars I will let you explore the intricate paths which lead to my nomad heart. I will pretend that you have surprised me and the pure white moon will come down slowly, furtively and she will pretend she was around in the neighbourhood… She will let me kiss her but only once and once only and when I am about to disintegrate stop it all and whisper to my ear what you know I want to hear. Remember to forget Remember to forget that we were once the present. Days chased nights and nights brought your presence. Love was the light and darkness our haven. Remember, because memory, memory is all we’ve got left, nothing more and hardly anything else. Revolution Red snakes and yellow crows crystal guitars, shiny faces metallic sounds of thunder, one thousand races the wind of freedom hits my face. Winners and losers walking with their leather shoes, dusty records of screaming blues. Love and hate, hearts and souls. children who’ve been growing up for ages and the wind of freedom hits my face. Evolution replaces confusion. my memory reflects my frustration. living blood runs through the nations, maybe it’s time for Revolution. Secrets The secrets kept within his walled world grow like fragile butterflies afraid of all the bored mouths, ruthless predators which in just a split second can turn a fertile forest into a barren lifeless land. Once the butterflies make it into the outside world transparency becomes a feared alien soon bound to be eliminated. An army of poisonous scorpions chase, siege and eventually inject their lethal venom into the inoffensive butterflies contaminating their purity, granting them the most undignified death. Mind what you say! Since you have a heart Since you have a heart you might as well use it. Make some people happy and if it happens to break or be broken it will heal and grow stronger. It won’t just pump blood to your thirsty veins it will bring happiness to hungry souls. And if you ever taken for granted, if you ever give to the point of getting empty don’t feel disappointed. You live because you love you’ve got to take some chances. You can never love too much so, if someone thinks you do, since you have a brain you might as well use it. Every room has a door there’s always a way out. Love needs love and brings love. It comes and it stays so, practise Love, loving and you will be loved. Since you have a mouth you might as well use it. You can never love too much you can never say too much about love. Love is life, the more you love, the more you live. You can never love too much and if you’ve ever loved someone, you will never die completely. Strong Self-respect there’s nothing else I consider my greatest quest. I stand on my feet on a chess board looking closely to my left not quite sure about my first step as the cold wind pushes me again. Look once more, tidy up ignore the blurry ghosts of the past. Empty roads, a railway track and a rucksack full of dust grab again the slightest pain write some notes raise your head. Count once more from one to ten fire a look let it land don’t forget you’re just a man . Coincidence is better left to its own devices. Like the painting you grew to love its every line, its every dot no need to try that hard anymore you are as strong as you believe you can be you can always see some birds flying dodging the storm. It hasn’t been proved yet that you can’t grow your own wings. Make someone happy today, open yourself up open yourself up the only way is up. The compass within Trust your instincts and if while being carried away you feel homesick, unable to find your North. Maybe you left a window open and you need to go back and shut it for ever. Trust your instincts and if you know I’m not you, that’s fine . Just say hello. However, there might be a diversion at the end of the road though you might not see it with your eyes open and miss the way back home. The cotton fields I wanted to see more things enjoy different smiles wake up in different beds and let new experiences feed my mind. I had seen the birds flying among the clouds reaching for the sun without looking back to the ground. I wanted to extend my wings, ascend slowly and once up there enjoy my bliss My crystal dreams shattered in one hundred tiny pieces the wind started blowing pushing them towards the sky. I took a plane carrying a suitcase full of kisses and said good-bye without faking a smile. The man-made bird broke free and my heart started beating faster. My closed eyes showed me an open field. The infinity much closer Life itself would be my master. The dream Lords of the winds, owners of my will could I have your attention for a split second. I need to know… I am trying to see but everything seems to be so dark I hear voices coming from inside my mind I say words I’ve never heard before. A thousand butterflies share my stomach with my guts, crazy horses take me to a place I’ve never been before but somehow I believe I am at home. There’s nobody with me but I don’t feel alone I hear music now and I start smiling There’s a mirror and I can’t help looking at it. I see you there, your hand crosses the glass and holds my hand then you start singing for me, my smile becomes your smile. Lords of the winds, you don’t own my will anymore please help me, I need to know am I dreaming what I am now living or is it just what they call love. The epitome of Love Cross-legged, bare feet, clear minded resting on a soft dune patiently awaiting a new sunset. Not a single cloud in the sky not a single doubt in my mind and then, by spontaneous magic the surface of the Earth cracks open giving birth to a brand new night. My footsteps in the sand concealed by the warm sirocco., once more the stars will show me the way back home home, you you, home I’m tired but resolute I can trust darkness I can rely on my steps they always take me to you there’s only one way to go and you are my guiding star. You keep my boat from sinking and listen with open ears, you are the fountain from which I keep drinking and dissolve my silliest fears. There’s no need to run I’m not alone in my quest you are my travelling companion, my North, my South, my East and West. Like water to a moribund plant a zebra-crossing to a busy road the gift of Life, the epitome of Love. The guardian of the stars Cutting the night in asymmetric halves turning laughs into rusty groans ‘the guardian of the stars’ standing on my shoulders waiting for better times to come, opens the book and from the ‘Holy Scriptures’ retrieves an applicable clause that hammers the innocence of a peaceful smile. Like he who knows what’s written in every book without having ever turned a single page before. Like he who has never smelled the scent of the pages of an old book. Like he who’s come form a distant planet. He opens his willing and narcissist mouth and words, together, transform themselves into heavy chains which drag you to the ground. And you, lay on the floor drowning in a sea of perplexity unwilling to believe that ‘the guardian of the stars’ has just switched them off. The lightning guide I was running while you were walking, you heard me scream while you were talking but I didn’t want to take a break to breathe. I had walked many streets before the sun of a new day arrived I fought with the night to make it wait a while because I didn’t want to take a break to breathe. I had dreams that made me feel happy but I never paid attention to reality and I didn’t want to take a break to breathe. Suddenly you were walking by my side and your words were a lightning guide and I didn’t want to take a break to breathe. The sun of a day found me dreaming on my bed I woke up and the dream was still there and I didn’t want to take a break to breathe. I saw you in this dream; you were holding my hand I stopped, looked around, smiled and I took a break to breathe the same air as you. The perfect stranger A pleasant surprise like a white dove flying low over a bloody battlefield. A sudden smile like a waterfall of life that refreshes you from a non-definite distance. A Bermuda triangle that makes sailing in a sea of curiosity an exciting adventure. While you, the epicentre of a circle of sincere smiles and crossed words aware of a rare welcoming aura, glowing and peaceful, realise that the perfect stranger has like you been hypnotised by the mesmerising song of the mermaids. His eyes, from a now definite distance seem to suggest that you both team up and meet them. The quest The first time I raised my head I saw chains of never-ending clouds. Adverse eyes watched me through dusty windows and that faint voice inside started to shout loud. Those days are now long gone those times of silent thoughts; my faith became my bible, my self-respect my Soul. I wouldn’t swim at night the sea was dark and cold but then I raised my head and the reflection of the moon encouraged me to find my North. Now I swim, run and jump I listen, talk and create but don’t expect. No present was ever made to me I am what I’ve got. I grow older making mistakes you were one, I am the rest I am my only gift, my most successful quest. The request You have requested me to stop loving you as if that was possible. If that makes you happy I’m willing to make an effort. I will not talk to you and you won’t appear in my dreams anymore. But stop loving you! I can’t promise you that it’s not up to me anymore you see, I transferred the case to the High Tribunal of my heart and they know much more about love than my rationality may suggest. I’m sorry your request has been refused for lack of valid arguments. The secret garden On the generous shade of a weeping willow I first discovered the infatuation of fire, green leaves caressed by a gentle breeze as we were dancing around the possessed flames. Eyes wide open, framed by smiles and my clothes reeking of smoke or not quite so. Transpiring innocence, walking like numb feeling your presence as an extension of mine you had been there all along but I had needed a tear to wash away the blindness of my eyes. I heard myself saying ‘let me show you, this is the miracle of Life, but don’t look with your eyes as they can deceive you close them, look with your heart and you’ll see what words put together fail to describe what brings a smile to a dying land. The silence and the voice (Ode to the telephone) Cold and hermetic and like Pandora’s box full of emptiness, filled with illusion. Sometimes seen as a god. I beg him to tell me something. I want to hear his song; absolute deafness. He is the master of the Silence, he is the owner of the Voice. Am I a free slave? When he calls me, there I am. Submissive, I forget about my bitterness and decide that this will be the last time. Love and hate, will and fate and however, accomplice in his crime. The wisdom of trees I meant to write a poem. I thought I could talk about you. I really wanted to let them know how special you are to me but my muse is gone. Maybe it’s because I haven’t paid much attention to her lately, but how could I have. Should I say that you have become my inspiration. I mean now I’m starting to see the things I used to write about. I’d say I appreciate now the wisdom of trees and I can guess where those birds are heading to. I guess we all are searching for the same thing the warmth of someone else’s heart, kindness, respect and even a little bit of romance. Someone to help us to believe that there’s a genuine smile out there. But the papers don’t mention it. They never talk about you, they never talk about me will they ever mention us or is it just the thought of a ‘you’ impartial and unnecessarily essential to me. Well, if at least I could write a poem about you but then again, my muse is gone. We walk on thin ice We walk on tin ice trying to cross a never-ending sea of illusions. The more we advance the heavier we get. I can see the plants we grew living ghosts beneath the crystal surface, live memories of lost time Our inner sun doesn’t acknowledge them anymore but somehow they pursue their vital challenge; to ascend innocently unaware of the stubborn ceiling. A jungle of life agonises underneath our feet while our steps start getting deeper on the dying land. The sudden arrival of the sun provokes a gentle breeze of hope as the dividing line between the dizzy present and the present past melts. As we start to fall our love-mad plants avoid the smash. successfully they reach the surface. the sun welcomes them. It’s time to grow more life. Words Words which sound like dogs, fiery tied-up dogs barking in the middle of the night awaking you, alarming your already restless soul so hungry for a good sleep. And then silence, unbearable emptiness, loud silence that awakes the now baby-like sleeping dogs while you long, you long to hear those words. But those words and the mouth that awakes them are fast asleep exhausted by the arduous task of bringing together night and day… Mystical glow A colossal shadow on its last metamorphic phase rests on the façade of a house hold. Seemingly hostile as the unknown tends to look, as the sometimes unwelcome night. It’s eyes still closed awaiting patiently some kind of acknowledgement from the one among the crowd that like a herd of soulless sheep passes it by hardly noticing it, unaware of its actual bi-dimensional limitation. And I, by magical coincidence locate its existence which shoots sharp but inoffensive arrows which strike my most vulnerable asset, my innocent but always alert conscience. A powerful and throbbing connection that will not subside for as long as curiosity sails the wildest rivers of my very existence. Sunday Another day with a borrowed sun the washing-line reveals its secrets. Police cars trying out brand new alarm-clocks. Trees cheer them up from the pavement watched by lions of stone bored by the history of time. Oblivious passers-by, men who dress like men drinking water from the gutter, scarecrows look envious at the washing-line. The Sun rises in a fruitless attempt to fly and I find last night’s bill on the kitchen table. Pharmacies are always shut when you need them most. Think twice The silence between thunders, the darkness between lightnings, the Sky looks like a balloon inflated to the limit. The pressure of your actions, a box full of gun powder, it’d take just one frightened spark to blow it all away. I know you don’t’ mean to be mean but words, words sometimes hurt. Even if they hurt in silence. Think twice about what you are going to say next. Because What made me leave the road to my already set destination. Why did I have to listen to your words and find them refreshingly revealing. How can I have found so much sense in your creed, your hired principles, your self-explanatory spiritual nakedness. Why did you have to play that instrument of remorseless torture. Your singular voice, which like the burden of a heavy rusty carriage pulled by fresh horses gave me an unsolicited gift to a more advanced stage of the road. Why did you show so much interest in my silent shouts. You made me feel so human, so hopelessly human.”