Josh was born the Monday after Thanksgiving, weighing 7lbs.11oz. and measuring 21 inches long. His Apgar scores were 8 & 9. He was born at 10:58 p.m. and for the first several hours, everything looked and seemed fine. Then . . .


        "Dear Diary, People live their whole lives without knowing what a ventricular septal defect is. Not only can I say it; I can draw a diagram of Josh's.


        "There's been a complication. It's called RSV. Your son is gravely ill."


        "Please God, let him live until open heart surgery."


        "Dear Diary, People have stopped calling with congratulations. In fact, people have stopped calling us at all."


        "He did very well throughout surgery. In a few months, he'll be good as new."

        Perky Portrait Studio Photographer: "How old is your baby?"

    Mom (proudly) "He is six months old today."

    Nosy Portrait Studio Photographer: "Why can't he sit up?"


        Different perky Portrait Studio Photographer: "How old is your baby?"

    Mom (proudly) "Today is his first birthday!"

    Portrait Studio Photographer: "Why can't he stand up?"

    Mom (sadly) "But look how nicely he sits by himself."


        Pediatric neurologist: "Your son appears to be of normal intelligence. My diagnosis is Spastic diplegia."

    Mom (confused) "What?"

    Pediatric neurologist: "Cerebral palsy. I recommend physical therapy. Come back in six months."


Sixth Months Later


        Pediatric neurologist: "Well, he's beginning to walk, but now I'm concerned about his other developmental milestones. I recommend occupational and speech therapy. Come back in six months."


        Occupational Therapist #1: "Mom, Josh still isn't stacking these blocks. I asked you to work with him on stacking blocks."

    Mom (frustrated) "We trying to help him learn to eat with a spoon. We want him to sit at the table and eat dinner with us as a family."


        Occupational Therapist #2: "Mom, he needs to learn to do this inset puzzle. All the tests will require him to do an inset puzzle. Don't you want him to do well on the test?"

    Mom (angry) "He is two years old. We want him to learn to feed himself."


        Pediatric neurologist: "He's retarded. He'll need a small, special education classroom. Come back in a year."


        Early Childhood Staff Year #1: "Josh is having a hard time adjusting to our classroom routines. We are trying to teach him to point to a picture.


        Early Childhood Staff Year #2: "Josh is having a hard time adjusting to any changes in our classroom routines. We think he's literate. He is spelling for us."

    Private Speech Therapist: "Josh has severe oral apraxia. You need to begin to look for a communication device for him."


Josh Harris now . . .(9 ½ years)














Ice cream sandwiches






Connect 4



Card games






Monkey bars









Disney Channel






Super Nintendo/Nintendo 64



Sony Playstation















The Zoo



The Mall



People who smile and wave back



People who raise their voice



Michael Jordon






Josh is happy, friendly, routine-oriented, impatient, predictable, persistent, courageous, loving, demanding, easily excited, a busy kid and has a great sense of humor.


Josh has been receiving supports (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, assistive technology consultation and hearing itinerant services) in a regular education classroom since Kindergarten 9-95. He uses a DynaMyte (a small talking computer) to talk and a Mac laptop computer to write. He has been able to complete all grade level work through the second grade without any modifications to the curriculum. In August 1998, he will start 3rd grade with some curricular modifications. Josh's education label is Speech/Language Disability with a secondary label of hearing impairment and health impairment.


We learned that Josh has a mild-moderate high frequency hearing impairment so Josh wears hearing aids and uses a FM listening device in the classroom. The teacher wears a wireless microphone and her voice is sent via radio waves directly to Josh's ears through his hearing aids.

About a year ago, we learned that Josh has a tic disorder and several repetitive behaviors. He takes medication for these. On Sunday, July 12, 1998, Dr. Rubinstein confirmed that Josh has RTS.

We are very proud of Josh and his accomplishments. He has tremendous potential and we will continue to do "whatever it takes".

"Even if I knew the world was going to pieces tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree." Words of faith and hope from Martin Luther.



If you have any questions about Josh or any of the myraid strategies and techniques, please feel free to contact us at:






Querida16@AOL.COM (Shelley is 17 and loves to talk with brothers and sisters.)



We are currently working on a Web Page for Josh that will share details about communication, sensory-processing challenges, "couch-potato" tendencies, tics and repetitious behaviors, parent-professional partnerships (both medical and educational) and a few other topics. We will have short videos of Josh demonstrating various communication techniques as well as a bibliography compiled by Shelley that includes over 50 books written for children ages 4-12 that positively portray individuals with disabilities and great links to sites for kids who have brothers or sisters with special needs. As soon as the page is published, a link will become available. (7/98)