I talk so much on other threads about my granddaughters, sisters Katie and Kendra, and have had such positive interaction with other people that I thought I'd move it over to here. It's way too easy to hijack a thread talking about our amazing little people and I'm guiltier than most - I think because the girls live across the street, I see them daily, and am very involved in their lives. 8 (almost 9) year old Katie has mild, high functioning autism. Not that you'd know it when you spend time with her. Her social skills are a little behind, she has trouble with Hyperaccusis, making eye contact consistently, and has spacial issues...she's not always sure where her body is in space and it doesn't help that she was born missing a rib and with asymetrical hips. But she is a joy. She has been in dance class since she was three years old (she looked just exactly like Tinkerbell when she was that age) and it's been so good for her. We live in a community of just over 600 people so everyone knows her, the other kids love her, and she's just like everyone else. She hasn't had any meltdowns in so long I can't even remember the last one! Kendra just turned 3 and she was born with Spina Bifida. She was fitted for her first wheelchair at the ripe old age of 9 months old and by a year old we were sometimes running to keep up - all the while trying to protect our toes in case she turned suddenly. She's not talking yet - she has lots of seizures and so there's a constant interruption in the flow of information which delays learning some things. Imagine that someone put a quarter on a countertop in a kitchen you'd never seen before, and asked you to pick up that quarter. Then they hit the light switch and flipped it on and off as fast as they could. You'd have trouble finding the countertop, let alone the quarter, because every time you tried to focus the information going to your brain changed. Eventually you'd get it, but it would take far longer than if you could just walk right over and grab the coin. That's Kendra's life. She has hydrocephalus but thus far hasn't needed shunts. She is absolutely adorable with long, curly dark hair and big blue eyes. This baby, who was supposed to be wheelchair bound for her life, is now pulling herself up to stand and take a few steps, and even climbed up on the couch by herself yesterday. She also takes a few steps holding our hands, saying, "Walk, walk" over and over again with every step. Katie and my grandson Evan, who lives two blocks down with his mom, are my chicken sitters when Ken and I are out of town, and we have to do that a lot with Ken's activities. They do a fabulous job - they have their "coop shoes", they check for eggs on the way to school, and after school they come over and clean the poop deck, gather the rest of the eggs, check food and water and replenish if needed, and make sure everything is locked up. They are amazing. Katie does more chicken sitting than Evan - he can take the chickens or leave them although he never slacks in the area of their care. Katie, on the other hand, loves all things chickens. She knows them all by name and even has her own chicken, Agatha, an Easter Egger who recently went broody and hatched just one chick. She wrote a children's brochure - a tri-fold, no less - about chickens and it's wonderful Kendra doesn't spend a lot of time with the chickens, although she loved seeing them when they were chicks and still living in the brooder in the house. We have the issues of her being heavy to carry everywhere and chicken poop in the yard isn't conducive to a happy wheelchair experience.....babies' chairs don't have the metal outer hand wheel for pushing the chair, she has to use the tires. 'Nuff said? We've tried little gloves so her hands don't get gross, but she won't leave them on and she can't understand explanations as to why she should use them yet. So what's your story? If you have a special needs little one in your life, are they interested in the chickens? Can they help with any of the chores, or even just give a radiant smile when they see a new chick? Have you come up with a clever way to make the coop and/or run accessible for them? I'd love it if you'd join us here for sharing ideas, stories, triumphs and setbacks. Maybe you are trying to enjoy raising chickens and have found a way to cope with allergies...any little thing might help someone else. The usual BYC admonitions apply...if you can't say something nicely, we'd prefer you not say it. We go through enough taking care of these special little people and don't need anyone questioning why we let them be born, (Yes, we hear that!) or that we aren't doing all we can for our kids. Can't wait to get the conversation rolling!