If I Could Speak! Joshua's Story
I love when my grammas are together. They
brag of me! Gramma Anna jokes, "Joshua is the best grand
kid I've got." She laughs, "He never argues with me."
Gramma Cherbear says, "I love to hear him laugh. I wish
I could laugh like that." I know they love me. I can tell
they are very proud of me.
I need to tell you, I really can't hear
them speak and I could not talk back if I wanted to. I am a child
with special needs. I was born almost 18 years ago. A part of
my brain did not grow. That makes me different from most children.
Maybe you have seen me or someone like me in your school. Perhaps
you have seen a family with a child like me in a restaurant or
at the mall. I sometimes let out a big yell when everything is
quiet. I cannot hear myself, and I get so excited! There isn't
anything wrong with my voice. I just don't have the part of my
brain that would tell me how to use it the right way.
I think like a very small child. I know
I look a little different. I did not learn to take steps until
I was nine. For many years I needed someone to help me walk.
I have a crooked spine. I can walk short distances by myself
now. I can sit up in a regular chair now too, and eat at the
table, just like you!
I love to play on the floor. I can be very
still for hours. I have a little sister in preschool and my brother
is a toddler. Sometimes they crawl over me. They kiss me too!
I don't get very excited about the kisses but I love to play
'Keep Away Bumble Ball' with them. I watch closely if they are
playing with something I would like to have. I am bigger than
they are and I don't want to hurt them. So, I wait, and I wait,
and I wait. I can be very patient! When they leave to play with
something else, I crawl to it as fast as lightening. Off to my
room I go.
I love playing by myself in my room. I
have a big jungle gym there. It has a slipper slide and places
to crawl into. I can stand up high and touch the ceiling. When
I see light coming through the window, I like to hold up something
that has holes and look through it. This will keep me busy for
a very long time. My bed looks like a little car. Dad bolted
it to the floor. He knew I would try to play with it.
My other sister is twelve. She is a little
bigger than me because I am small for my age. She helps take
care of me. When we were small, her friends loved to dress me
up. They pretended I was the baby of the family. I loved the
attention. I did not always like hugs. God gave me to the Hug
family, so I didn't have a choice. Now, I give the biggest bear
hugs of all.
My needs are many and I learn very slowly.
I cannot feed or dress myself. I cannot learn to talk with my
hands like some people do. Those who care for me learn Joshua
language. I have signals to tell them when I hurt, or if I am
hungry or thirsty. In many ways, I am a teacher. I teach people
how to love with God's love. I show them how to have real joy
in the worst of times. I teach them how to care about others.
You might be wondering why I am not complaining?
Why do my family and friends love me so much, just the way I
am? I have wondered what I would say to you, if I could speak!
Would I tell you not to be sad for me? Would I say, "God
made me for a reason"? I think I would tell you, not to
When people ask Gramma Cherbear about me,
she says, "Don't feel sad about Joshua. He is great! When
I get finished telling you about him, you will wish you had a
child just like him in your family." My family feels special
because God chose them for me. God knew I would need many caring
people around me. It makes everyone happy when I am well. God
often reminds people to pray for me. When people pray, God brings
them closer to Him.
My mom has always said, "Joshua plays
with the angels." They make me laugh so hard. When I play
with the angels, I can see and hear them with my heart. God sends
angels to protect me, and angels make me happy.
Whenever you see someone like me, if you
laugh at them or are afraid, God has sent me to you. He wants
you to know of my mission here on earth. He wants you to love
all people. I also came to teach you to be thankful for all of
your blessings. When you see my unsteady, crooked body walking
or you look into my face, don't be afraid. If I make noise, and
everyone else is quiet, don't be alarmed. Please don't stare.
Laugh with me, not at me! Be patient with me and help my family.
They would love to tell you about me. You can ask them many questions.
Remember, they are very proud I belong to them.
God wants us to rest in His love. He cares
for all of us. I can show you how to fully rely on God. The Bible
says God's Holy Spirit prays for us when we do not know how to
pray. Loving people who are different from us will bring blessings
to them. God will also bless us when we pray for others! He wants
us to love with His Great Love! You are special to God and so
am I. Remember, God loves you and He loves me too!