Let Us Be Honest With One Another: to the Child With Disability

Red crayon. Daddy credit card. Remote control.
Wavy flower. Sit mower. Snake.
Bean chair. Medicine. Poop.

Fairy tales are a standard means of instruction for children. But then there might not be anyone who is in your life to tell you such stories, meaning that your fairy tale might involve someone tucking you into bed at night, or perhaps someone who loves you, a form of privilege so rarely identified. Another strategy is required: let me tell you a fairy tale, the kind I’ve made up on the spot for all three of my children at night. From the outset, I declare that this little tale is for all those who are able to read it or to hear it. I write a fairy tale as personal dream, one in which you can save yourself. I write this tale after having suffered some as a child, but surely not the most of all; I write to you to acknowledge that you are there. In the writing that you see (or hear) before you, and in all other writing, you are not alone.

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Barnacles. Cloud. Gate.
Weebles. Child Care and Learning Centre. Big Park.
Scary vacuum. Poppy. Sidewalk chalk.

My daughter Zee and I, years ago, used to sit in the bed and read long stories until she became old enough to read them to me. I pretended to fall asleep sitting up; she read to the end, impeccably, orderly. (As I recall, Bartholomew and the Oobleck is a long book.) As I sat on the bed, my eyes closed, did I ever think that things could be different?