January 22, 2008
A Different Kind of Normal
While poking around the Wondertime Magazine site yesterday (and NOT looking for mentions of my upcoming story, because that would be narcissistic and weird, right?), I came across the story that had originally attracted me to the magazine in the first place. "A Different Kind of Normal", by Charlotte Meryman, detailed the story of the Foard family, of parents Michelle and Jim and their son Jimmy, who suffers from an extremely rare chromosomal disorder called Alfi's syndrome. The story ran in four parts (which was a little maddening since at the time, Wondertime only ran four issues a year), and it's an excellent exploration of the issues that face special needs families, particularly ones where communication is an issue. It's not an exaggeration to say that Meryman's story had a pretty profound influence on how my own book turned out.
What I hadn't seen before, however, were the accompanying videos, which may have been produced after the series ran. Go watch the complete four webisodes. At one point you'll see Jimmy using a slightly older version of Schuyler's Big Box of Words.
The world is full of stories like Jimmy's and Schuyler's. They deserve to be heard.