I Believe in Voice

Stacey - Pearl River, New York
Entered on June 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: disability
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I believe in voice. Not my singing voice because I don’t think anyone believes in my singing voice, but I believe in every person’s right to express him or herself. Each citizen of the United States of America is granted the opportunity to speak, petition and assemble under the first amendment to the Constitution. These privileges permit citizens to express how they feel with impunity so that each and every voice in the United States is heard. In our educational system students spend at least one period a day focusing on how to accurately convey their ideas. Students are also required to study a foreign language. Learning to communicate with others is an essential skill to the well being of every individual.

When my brother Adam was two years old, he was diagnosed with epilepsy and doctors found a fluid cyst on his right temporal lobe. My parents immediately flew to California where doctors completely removed his right temporal lobe. This part of the brain is primarily related to the senses and language. Under this condition, Adam is denied the ability to clearly express himself. When Adam is happy he will repeat phrases that remind him of things he enjoys. For example, Adam loves pressing garage door openers. This act may seem tedious to an average person, but it is intriguing to my brother. Once, in a selfish fit of frustration I counted the number of times in a two minute period that my brother repeated the phrase “press it,” referring to the garage door button. He said the phrase sixty-eight times before I exploded. Capable of expressing myself, I shouted at him, “Shut up! You’re so annoying!” At the time, my reaction didn’t faze me, but later that night I felt extremely guilty. Although hearing the phrase “press it” sixty-eight at times is not my cup of tea, it is Adam’s. When I became aggravated, I expressed myself through a high pitch scream. Adam doesn’t scream when he gets irritated. He doesn’t understand how to portray his emotions as an average person does. Instead he changes his body language and tone of voice. Usually he becomes whiney and presses his pointer finger and thumb together. My family and the people that work with Adam understand that he is bothered by something and doesn’t know how to handle the situation. He feels the same emotions I feel when he repeats, but holds his scream inside of him. Adam and other kids with similar communicative disorders are silenced around the world, and their opinions are rarely heard. Thankfully, most people have highly functioning right temporal lobes. I believe that if yours works, you should use it. Whether you feel strongly about the about the way someone treats your friend, or the way the president treats the nation, every opinion counts. Express yourself.