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Welcome and thank you for visiting Special Child, an online publication dedicated to parents of children with special needs. Please take a moment to sign our Guestbook so that we may keep you apprised of upcoming features. Your name and address will be held confidential.

As you may know, this site was developed by Lisa Baker, a mother of a child with special needs named Allison, and her brother/associate Troy Weiss.

Lisa shares her story:

"I had everything going for me. I had a beautiful, intelligent 3 year old daughter, I was in a Senior Management position at work and I had a loving good-natured husband. There was only one thing missing from my life, another child. My second child would be my last. She or he would make our family complete.

"During my second ultrasound, I was told that I was having a girl. My mind went wild. I fantasized about my girls having tea parties together, playing dolls, sharing clothes, and being best friends. I was ecstatic. My first born, Julia, was perfect in every way - how I wanted to have another Julia!

"On February 12, 1996, my due date, I went into labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, named Allison Nicole. But, something was different about her and I sensed it right away, even though she looked so normal. She didn't want to eat and her eyes didn't open. She cried constantly and nothing soothed her. They gave her apgars of 8 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes and sent us home in less than 24 hours. As time went on, my feelings toward her strangeness became stronger. She not only wasn't gaining weight, she was losing it. Her crying spells became worse. She slept five hours and cried the other nineteen. I insisted that her pediatrician hospitalize her even though he kept trying to tell me that she was okay and was just going to be a thin child. Later, he blamed me for her 'failure to thrive' claiming that it was because I wasn't bonding with her. Needless to say, he didn't stay her pediatrician for long.

"At four months of age, she was hospitalized at UCLA. It was there that they told me that my beautiful little girl didn't have just a feeding problem. They said she had a severe neurological problem and that she was most likely blind. I've never had a thousand pounds of bricks dropped on my chest, but I'm pretty sure I know how it feels. I was devastated. After seventeen days total in the hospital, I left her. I cried and screamed all the way home. 'How could this be happening to me? She isn't mine! They switched her at birth with my healthy baby!' I told my husband that I was going to die. By 4 o'clock the next morning, I was in my car on the way back to the hospital. When I got to the hospital I cried, 'Forgive me Allison. I love you.' I never left her again.

"After another eight days, she was discharged with a feeding tube and no diagnosis. Services started right away. The Foundation for the Jr. Blind came to my house three times a week, an occupational therapist came to my house twice a week, and I began receiving respite hours so that I could take a short break from her a couple times a week.

"I started seeing a social worker right away. I was very angry. But as time passed and Allison stopped crying so much, I really started to enjoy her. In addition to this, I continued to search for a diagnosis. I took her to eight different neurologists, two different geneticists, an endocrinologist, and many other specialists. At nineteen months, I realized that it didn't matter what she had. We loved her just the way she was.

"Allison continues to develop at her own pace. Her progress is very slow, but it's still progress. She is no longer visually impaired. She is no longer miserable. She is a happy, healthy little girl and...she's mine! I wouldn't give her up for the world."

As a result of Allison's situation, Lisa became very interested in the resources available on the Internet. She spent hours in front of the computer on a daily basis, looking for other parents like her. Unfortunately, most of the enjoyable sites were geared towards the "normal" child. Parent magazines weren't mentioning the "special child." The sites that did offer communication between parents of children with special needs were dry, and humor was virtually non-existent. As a result, Lisa thought about creating a web site for parents that would serve as a form of support as well as entertainment.

At the same time, her brother, Troy, was looking for a new challenge. Lisa presented the idea to him and he was immediately enthralled. His enthusiasm was just what they needed to make it happen.

Troy shares his story:

"I was working for a company that didn't care about people. It was difficult for me to sell their product when I knew that their profits were based on taking advantage of people who were desperate for financial assistance. When Lisa presented the idea of a special needs web site to me, I thought it would be rewarding to the parents as well as myself. It would give me a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that my efforts would be helping people in need, not hurting them.

"In addition to my personal feelings, designing and maintaining a web site was also very appealing. Prior to my recent sales position, I had a long career in drafting and design, so this would be of particular interest to me. Last, but not least, it would bring me closer to my sister and her family, Allison in particular. To me, it sounded like a win-win situation."

After several lengthy discussions and a tremendous amount of research and hard work, Special Child was born. Our mission statement is as follows: To provide educational resources and emotional support to parents and care-givers of children, adolescents, and young adults with disabilities.

Again, thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to providing a place for you to sit back, relax, and take some well-deserved time for yourself.

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