T Connects with Classmates Through Storytelling

Finding Similarities through Differences

Hudson Valley member T and his mom Sarah visited T’s K/1 classroom last month to read them a children’s book.  “Hiya Moriah” is a story about a friendly and mischievous little girl named Moriah who, like T, was born with CHARGE Syndrome. CHARGE Syndrome is a rare and medically complex genetic disorder. T also bravely shared photos of himself as a baby and toddler, showing some of the many medical challenges he has already overcome. These included included photos of him as a newborn with a cleft lip, as an infant wearing a helmet for plagiocephaly, being fed by feeding tube, wearing ankle braces, and using a walker. T’s classmates asked respectful questions, commented on what a cute baby he was, and expressed similarities and differences they noticed between Moriah, T, and themselves.The children were then each given a blank page to draw something that made them unique as a baby. One child drew his chest scar, remnant of heart surgery he had early in life. Another child drew himself as an infant in a NICU incubator, just like T and Moriah. Another drew a picture of her pregnant mother, who needed emergency surgery for a healthy delivery and one other classmate remembered breaking her leg and needing a leg cast as a toddler. It was a beautiful way for T to connect with his classmates to share about himself. The class learned a great lesson that even when others may look different or communicate differently than they do, there is always a way to find similarities and connection with others.