Competitive spellers are all a bit different from the rest of us. But Tanu Shivaswamy pushes the envelope into another ZIP code: Tanu cannot speak. And she is the current spelling bee champ at Richardson ISD’s Canyon Creek Elementary. The fifth-grader’s movements are awkward, a legacy of cerebral palsy. But her thinking is fluid. And she can sign with her hands, letter by letter. At the school spelling bee a couple of weeks ago, Tanu’s district-supplied translator gave voice to those signs, word by word:
There has been a lot of controversy over here in the US lately over a recent Wall Street Journal article which lauds Chinese mothers over their Western counterparts. The author presents her case that the Chinese raise such stereotypically successful kids, due to the strict upbringing enforced by Chinese mothers. It has caused an outrage over here in the US, but I wasn't outraged, I was bemused.
Life as a special needs parent means letting go of all things neat and orderly. (RT @autismarmymom: My sophomore freelance effort: Embracing the Chaos of #specialneeds #parenting http://bit.ly/eSfHrP #autism #downersgrove #humor)
Just the mention a friendâ€™s birthday party invitation brings the little mite out in beads of sweat, making sure we understand that heâ€™s not going to the party under any circumstances â€œsend them a text now and tell them Iâ€™m not going, do it, do it now before itâ€™s too lateâ€ is what weâ€™ll get.
The music starts and the song sounds like any other pretty ballad: A woman's soprano voice floats over a soft instrumental. The sound goes on for a few measures, but then it changes.Suddenly, you're listening to a rap song, but it has a different sound. The performer stammers a bit, then shouts a few times; his speaking is slightly impaired, so making out all the lyrics is difficult. Two lines, though, are loud and clear, and he sings them again and again: 'This is my life. This is my song.'
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