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On My Mind |

My Special Daughter

Richard L. Holloway, PhD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(10):898. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.165.
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Although the calendar says she is 11 years old, in thoughts and words Kendall is 3. She curls her long legs beneath her and sucks her thumb, her waist-length hair pulled into whatever elegant style suits her and her mom that day. Certain T-shirts she will wear; others have the wrong picture on them or an objectionable texture, a violation of her skin's enigmatic sensitivities. Brushing her hair can be agonizing because she is so sensitive to the smallest tug on her follicles.

She watches Barney and Teletubbies and still loves Baby Songs. For her, viewing these shows is a contact sport: she dances with the characters and imitates their moves with extraordinary vigor. These characters are her friends, her daily companions before and after school, in between visits from therapists who work with her on a regular basis. For those who worry about children watching too much television, don't worry about Kendall—for her, television is an aerobic activity. But she would have trouble telling you about what she's watching, even though she memorizes each detail on the screen after a single viewing. “A dog!” she’ll say, and with 2 children in the frame, no dog, you wonder what on earth she's talking about. Then the dog makes its entrance into the scene on her perfectly timed cue. She whoops with delight.

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