Emilie Smith

Respect me:
I ask nothing more than this
      though I look and sound much different.

Listen to me:
even though my jumbled speech is hard to understand
      my words are thought out and important.

Help me:
I need to be heard but only when I ask.
      Every day I try to do more and more for myself.

Understand me:
Know that Iím a grown lady,
      my feelings reflect my maturity.
      Give me time and space to overcome the challenges in my life,
      unlike a child who needs comfort during hardships
      I need to come to grips with lifeís disappointments
      in my own way.

Do not protect me:
I need to know everything about life,
      good and bad.

Do not forget me:
To be master of my destiny will be my greatest reward.
      As you go through life you will see many faces like mine,
      because of me you will know that all you have to do is smile,
      and in that understanding smile they will know,
      they are accepted.


This poem was written Emilie Smith.

Emilie was born with cerebral palsy 58 years ago. Although her speech is difficult her feelings are made quite clear in the poems she writes like the one youíve just read. She uses a liberator (small computer) to communicate. In it she keeps a daily journal, write speeches, stories and poetry and it allows her to give a voice to her ideas. She is always busy learning more about communication devices as well as being a mentor to a high school student. Emilie also gives lectures to university students/interns and she reads books to children in her spare time.

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