Not so different

Commonly seen at the cafeteria accompanied by Maria G. Arroyo, Orthopaedic Handicap Instructional Aide, and Lora Pfister, Instructional Aide, TaoSheng Lin, also known as Jack, born in GuangZhou, China, lives with a disability called Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a congenital disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination. Having lived in America for five years, Jack recalls his past where he overcame his disadvantages and time in a day care program.

“When I was born, as a result of my doctor’s poor performance, my brain lost oxygen. Before I was even [one] year old, I’ve been on a continuous acupuncture treatment on a daily basis. Also, my condition was so bad as a child, [there was a] point where I didn’t have the strength to sit. At that time, it was painful and hard for me. Everyday I had to be acupunctured by needles all over my body. Also, my therapists had to stretch my muscles. Truthfully, these treatments were not the most painful experiences [I had]. It was around when I was six years old [when] I went to this type of childcare place, but it’s a little different. At that time, my parents decided to let me receive training. [My parents] let me [take] control of taking care of myself, so they sent me to a private school. However, the teachers in China are not [as] patient as the teachers in America. Before I arrived at the place, there were already some people there. Most of them were the same as me—most had some physical problems but there were mostly people with mental health issues. At that time, including me, there were only around 10 teachers for around five or six of us. We lived there and [we were not allowed] to go home and we didn’t have the privilege to ask to go home. I remembered that every day, I had to write 200 Chinese characters and if we didn’t finish, we couldn’t eat dinner. Also, you can’t go against whatever your teachers says. Whatever they say, it’s what you are. That is something I will never forget.”
Over a period of time, Jack overcame his medical disadvantage and began to look at situations in a more positive manner. His upbringing may have shaped him, but “without the support from people around him” such as Arroyo and Pfister, Jack would not be the person that he is today.

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