As horrible and acerbic as it is, it’s true—kids almost always look down upon kids who are different from them. Think back to elementary school when you thought that boy who couldn’t make eye contact with your teacher was weird, or that girl who was playing pretend with the maple tree was crazy. As much as it kills to me admit it, in elementary school I probably thought that those kids were weird too, and I did not associate with them.
When I was seven, my mom informed me that she would be having another baby. My younger sister, who is now eleven, is the sweetest, most amazing girl in the world that I am so lucky to call my best friend. However, watching her grow up as “that girl who always talked to herself” or “that girl who makes no sense” has been incredibly hard. When Becca was around five, she was diagnosed with some developmental issues, those which have similar effects to Asperger’s or Autism, and a severe speech problem, which makes it very hard for people to understand her. Six years ago, I did a lot of research on children with developmental issues. My first thought was naturally that my lovable, adorable sister would have a great deal of trouble making friends, since elementary school kids don’t know better than to treat those who are different from themselves poorly. After learning more about children who are different I found that there are so many resources so help them reach their full potential, especially if they find their issues at a young age like Becca. After years of intensive speech therapy, Becca’s peers can now mostly understand her when she speaks, and have grown to accept and laud her thrilling imagination. I also learned from research, and from watching my sister grow, that children who often have social setbacks, excel in certain areas academically. My eleven-year-old sister, a fifth grader, has incredible math skills for someone of her age. She also has this unbelievable ability to remember facts about anything. If you were to ask her any random question about the CBS show Survivor the NBC show American Ninja Warriors, or even ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, I can assure you that she’ll know the answer. Being completely honest, the question I initially “googled” regarding this topic was “do kids with social problems ever make friends?” Twelve year old, concerned me was merely worried about my sister and had never looked into this before, but as a continued to read more about the shortcomings children with developmental issues experience, I consequently became much more aware of their strengths.
I would likely say that my research on kids with developmental issues will never be one hundred percent complete. This is probably because there are still so many questions about these issues that professionals have yet to answer. For the most part, however, I felt very satisfied with the research I had done about this when I learned that children like my sister have strengths than most children, just as they also have weaknesses. While her weaknesses might seem detrimental, everyone has weaknesses that can hinder them, but they also have strengths that push them to excel.