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Patricia Jensvold wrote the following to highlight the perspective of a special needs child.

Hello God, it is me, Mark. Remember me? I talk to you just about every night. Most people don’t understand me when I talk, but I know you do.

Today I heard my kindergarten teacher tell my Mommy that I need to go to a speech therapist. She even said I should go to a special needs class at another school.

What is special needs? Is it a big building? Will there be monsters there?

God, does that mean I will have to leave home? Will I ever see my friends again? Can I take my Andy doll with me? Will my Mommy and Daddy go with me, or will they be glad to get rid of me? Maybe everyone will be happy if I go away.

My brothers call me a pest. Today when Eric came home he yelled at me because I played with his Matchbox farm. He seemed to think I was going to try to steal his tractors. Then Karl yelled because I broke his GI Joe. 

God, you know I was just trying to have fun by myself when everyone else was too busy. No one seems to have time for me.

Every afternoon when I come home from kindergarten, Mommy is busy in the kitchen and Daddy tells me it is too cold or too muddy to go outside with him.

Today I found Mommy’s lipstick. I was just trying to experiment and see what I would look like. I thought it would make me pretty like Mommy, but instead of being happy, she was angry because I got a little on the floor. I could not help it if I stepped on it and then it got on her new bedspread. It was Mommy that stepped on the other piece and squished it all over her new carpet.

Will Mommy be happy to get rid of me? What about Daddy?

I love Daddy and I like to sit on his lap. But when I try to rub noses with him or get some kisses from him he hollers for me to stay out of his face. I just wish he would put the paper down so I wouldn’t have to throw something at him to get his attention.

I don’t know why he gets so mad, because I just throw little things at his paper.

I do not want to hurt anybody.

I didn’t want to hurt David, but when he called me a baby and would not play with me, I hit him. Then he told Mommy that I was a pest on the school bus. That made her mad all over again. Just now Daddy got mad because he found that empty cookie sack under my bed.

Everybody’s mad at me.

God, it is so good to know that you love me, and you won’t get mad at me. Will you go to special needs with me? 

Patricia Jensvold

Born and educated in rural Iowa, Pat Jensvold attended Iowa State Teachers College and taught lower elementary grades.

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