Hello, my name is Corinna.  I live in Paint Rock, Texas, and was 5-years-old when I wrote this story in 2001. I love to learn, and people tell me that I'm very smart. I was born with something called Moebius Syndrome. It is a very rare condition, so you may not have heard about it before. I can't smile, I can't even blink, and I have the same look on my face no matter what is happening to me, even when I think that something is very, very funny or very, very sad. My insides know it, but my face hides it from everybody. 

When I was very little, I had to have a tube called a tracheotomy put into my neck to help me breathe. Then when I turned three I was able to breathe like you do, without any tubes, which really made me happy. I also have another way of getting foods, through a small button that was put into my tummy when I was a baby. I still do have that, but don't worry, it doesn't hurt and you can't even see it under my shirts. 

There are a few other differences about my appearance that you would notice if you got to meet me. My crossed eyes, for instance, which is why I wear glasses (though I bet you could figure that one out without my telling you). I was also born with something called club feet. Now that doesn't mean that my feet look like clubs, or belong to some type of club. It means that they turn in, making it hard for me to walk. 

There are five other students in my class. Because I have trouble using my hands, I can't do a lot of things that I would like to do. I also have a really hard time talking to people; they can't always understand what I'm saying. It really is frustrating when I can't say what I want when I want to. Just imagine what that would be like for you. Unfortunately, those aren't the only sad parts about my story. When I first went to school, everyone used to laugh at me. At least they don't laugh anymore, which is good. I think that they finally got used to the way I am. 

I really like to play teacher, and I wish that the other kids in my class would want to play with me. As you can tell, I have a really hard time making friends. That is something I'm working hard to change. I would love to be in charge of school, because then I would be able to help kids...and grown-ups...treat students who have some kind of difference with respect. Some people need to understand that we are all different in one way or another. In fact, my mom told me that there are not even two people exactly alike in the whole world.

Thanks for reading my story! Corinna

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004