Finding Similarities through Differences
Member T and his mom, Sarah, visited T’s classroom to read the children’s book, “Hiya Moriah” to his classmates. It is a story about a friendly and mischievous little girl named Moriah who, like T, was born with CHARGE syndrome, a rare and medically complex genetic disorder.
T also shared photos of himself as a baby and toddler, showing some of the many medical challenges he has overcome. These 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. Following the reading, the children were each given a blank page to draw something that made them unique as a baby. One child drew his chest scar, a remnant of heart surgery he had early in life. Like T and Moriah, a child drew himself as an infant in a NICU incubator. 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 cast as a toddler.
It was a beautiful way for T to connect with his classmates and share about himself. His classmates learned that even when others look different or communicate differently—there is always a way to find similarities and connections with others.