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"young adult"

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How to Get More Disabled Young People to Work

by 

  • October 7, 2013


As of August of this year, the unemployment rate of disabled people was twice that of nondisabled people (14% to 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Senator Tom Harkin, a champion for his disabled constituents, wants to change that with an initiative to increase the representation of young disabled people in the workplace, mirroring a push on the part of the federal government to equalize hiring practices. Is he going to be successful, and what might stand in his way?
One of the first problems he’ll need to overcome is the idea that being disabled means you can’t work or don’t want to work, a common misconception. When most people think of “disability,” they imagine an impairment that prohibits someone from engaging in activities of daily life, barring that person from the workplace; in fact, people may file for disability benefits or “go on disability” when they’re injured at work, underscoring the idea that disability means you can’t work.
via Care 2

 http://www.care2.com/causes/how-to-get-more-disabled-young-people-to-work.html#ixzz2j4iSzYps

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Digital education shouldn’t bypass disabled


By Kyle Shachmut

 |   
  SEPTEMBER 09, 2013


The Braille terminal is one type of aid for visually impaired computer users.
ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE
The Braille terminal is one type of aid for visually impaired computer users.

AS STUDENTS return to school this fall, most will find a plethora of new technologies and virtual environments, on which their institutions have been spending millions of dollars to bring into the classroom. Yet many of these resources will be needlessly discriminatory. What would happen if an institution constructed a new state-of-the-art building but neglected to make it accessible to the disabled? People would rightly be outraged. Yet even as new technology-rich environments revolutionize the classroom, few make provision for people who are blind, dyslexic, or otherwise print-disabled.
Just like buildings, digital resources can be made accessible to all through good design and planning. Electronic resources should be inherently accessible; for most people, the zeroes and ones that make up digital content are translated for display on screens, but the same information can be transmitted audibly or connected to an accessory that puts it into Braille. Mainstream touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone are fully accessible to blind users right out of the box.
Read the full article at Boston Globe 
(http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/09/08/classroom-technology-must-accessible-those-with-disabilities/svRyLPnmnBSNCDUuQaUEVJ/story.html)

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Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education:


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Cover: Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Washington, D.C. 20202

September 2011
More and more high school students with disabilities are planning to continue their education in postsecondary schools, including vocational and career schools, two- and four- year colleges, and universities. As a student with a disability, you need to be well informed about your rights and responsibilities as well as the responsibilities postsecondary schools have toward you. Being well informed will help ensure you have a full opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the postsecondary education experience without confusion or delay.

The information in this pamphlet, provided by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U. S. Department of Education, explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. This pamphlet also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

OCR enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Practically every school district and postsecondary school in the United States is subject to one or both of these laws, which have similar requirements.*/

Although Section 504 and Title II apply to both school districts and postsecondary schools, the responsibilities of postsecondary schools differ significantly from those of school districts.

Moreover, you will have responsibilities as a postsecondary student that you do not have as a high school student. OCR strongly encourages you to know your responsibilities and those of postsecondary schools under Section 504 and Title II. Doing so will improve your opportunity to succeed as you enter postsecondary education.

The following questions and answers provide more specific information to help you succeed.


Read more at ED.gov 

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Students With Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities, Washington, D.C., 2011.

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Drawing cartoons empowers teen with mental disorders


Zack Hix, 18, is the creator of the Good Boy Roy cartoon characters. Zack was diagnosed with a range of mental disorders, and his family believes his drawings provide an important outlet. Zack Hix, 18, is the creator of the Good Boy Roy cartoon characters. Zack was diagnosed with a range of mental disorders, and his family believes his drawings provide an important outlet.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Zack Hix is the creator of the cartoon characters in Good Boy Roy
  • He is diagnosed with a laundry list of mental health disorders
  • Art has always been his avenue for self-expression
  • His family wants to turn his artwork into a career so he can support himself

By Matthew Casey, Special to CNN
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon August 19, 2013

Editor's note: This story is part of CNN's American Journey series, showing how people are turning passions into jobs. Share your story with CNN iReport, and you could be featured in a CNN story.
(CNN) -- On the surface, Zack Hix is like many 18-year-olds.
The Simpsonville, South Carolina, teen's favorite foods are cheeseburgers and pizza. He listens to rock and punk music. He loves to race mountain bikes, play video games, watch Georgia Bulldogs football with his dad and -- perhaps most importantly -- draw.
But Zack also suffers from a laundry list of mental health issues, including both intermittent explosive- and obsessive-compulsive disorders, which make him different from other kids his age and threaten to inhibit his ability to function as an independent adult.
Zack is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, in addition to the IED and OCD. He also has Tourette syndrome and tics that are the result of a Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection in the fifth grade.
Read the full article at CNN

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Messi draws disabled children to sport

Posted Friday, Aug. 09, 2013

Valentino is a fan of the River Plate soccer club who dreams of dodging down the field like Argentine star Lionel Messi. Adrian wants to score goals like his hero, former Boca Juniors standout Martin Palermo. Eugenia and Sofia just want to have fun with the ball.
All four must use joysticks to get around in motorized wheelchairs, but they're still getting a taste of their dreams. They're among the 50 or so youngsters who recently began playing Powerchair Football in Buenos Aires.
The sport, which began in France in 1978 and now has active leagues in the United States, has finally reached football-mad Argentina, providing an enjoyable outlet for quadriplegics and others who can't walk because of multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, paralysis or spinal cord injuries.
Read more at Star Telegram 

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/09/5068969/ap-photos-golazo-disabled-kids.html#storylink=cpy

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Autism-Friendly Performance: OKLAHOMA!


What is an Autism-Friendly Performance?

Autism-Friendly Performances are designed and intended for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At these performances the theater environment will be altered, providing a safe, sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for these families. Autism-Friendly Performances are recommended for those families bringing a loved one have a developmental disability, and their teachers and advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some individuals with autism.

FAQs

Q: Is this performance only for families of children with autism or other sensory issues, or can anyone attend?A: Autism-Friendly Performances are intended primarily for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. In addition to altering the theater environment to cater to those with sensory issues, a main goal of this program is to provide a safe, judgment-free, comfortable experience for the entire family. We achieve this by recommending this performance for those families bringing loved ones who have a developmental disability, and their advocates who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some children with autism.
Read the full article at Boston Conservatory where showtimes, ticket pricing and full synopsis can be found. 

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When should we question if our child is getting the right treatment?


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The ‘invisible disability’ that is Tourette’s: one family’s story


The Globe and Mail

Last week, nearly 9,000 Twitter users came down with temporary Tourette syndrome.
As part of a campaign called Surrender Your Say, people opted to relinquish control of their Twitter accounts for 24 hours to raise awareness about the disorder. Participants could tweet as normal, but occasionally a bot – based on the real tics of a person with the disorder – would tweet out unexpected messages such as “Feet, don’t feet” or “Ah! Ah! Ah! Ummmmmm.”
Melissa Muskat, a lawyer with Goodmans in Toronto, was one of the people impacted by the disorder who watched the campaign by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Toronto for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. As the mother of a son with Tourette syndrome, she was pleased to see the innovative use of social media to inform people that the disorder is more complex than the popular notion of a disease that causes people to swear uncontrollably (a condition that actually affects less than one in 10 people with TS).
Read more at the Globe and Mail

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Parents create housing alternative for disabled adult children


Parents create housing alternative for disabled 

adult children




January 23, 2013|By Bonnie Miller Rubin, Chicago Tribune reporter


Baruch and Joyce Schur were out of options. They couldn't find anywhere for their physically and intellectually disabled 26-year-old son to live, at least nowhere that met their criteria or didn't have a yearslong waiting list.
The 55-year-old couple made plans to move out of the state. Uprooting themselves from their native Chicago, leaving friends and a family business, was the only way to give Josh a home — not an institution — that offered independence, a kosher kitchen and a sense of community before his parents became too elderly to care for him.
But then the Schurs took an even bolder step. They joined forces with five other families in similar circumstances to do what government could not: They created something better.
They become a nonprofit, raised their own money, bought their own property, hired a design team and a social services agency to staff a home. This month, six young men — with cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome — moved into a red brick Georgian on a lush block in the same Rogers Park neighborhood where they grew up.

Other parent-empowered groups are also rolling up their sleeves, joining this quiet crusade. A Glenview couple is working with Rush University Medical Center to construct housing for young adults with autism in the West Loop. In Wheaton, another family group collaborated with their church for a similar project.


In a previous era, children such as Josh Schur would have been institutionalized, their parents told to leave them in the hospital and forget about them. Today, because of medical advances and sweeping public policy changes, children with disabilities are not just surviving but thriving into adulthood. And no one knows what to do with them all.

There are 1 million to 1.5 million Americans with autism alone, 80 percent of whom are under the age of 22, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Illinois, about 22,500 people with disabilities are waiting for services, the Department of Human Services reports.
"The statistics are frightening," said Tony Paulauski of the Arc of Illinois, an advocacy organization. "What's going to happen to all these folks? We are bracing ourselves for a demographic wave ... and we are totally unprepared."
These young adults were born into a very different world than earlier generations. Parents started seeing their offspring for what they could do — not just what they couldn't.
They pushed clinicians for more physical, occupational and speech therapy and lawmakers toward mainstreaming policies. No longer hidden away, these youngsters were now woven into society, participating in school plays, soccer and Boy Scouts.

Then, at age 22, most publicly funded services end. As the kids get older, the journey gets lonelier. Some 80 percent of young adults with autism ages 19 to 30 still live at home, according to a 2008 Easter Seals study.


"People see how futile the situation is," Paulauski said. "And as government continues to shrink, it becomes even more important that families look at other sustainable models."

Read the whole story at Chicago Tribune

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A mother helps son in his struggle with schizophrenia



By May 25 2013 



HOUSTON — The mother drives her son everywhere because he is not well enough to drive. He sits next to her, and at the red lights she looks over and studies him: how quiet he is, how stiffly he sits, hands in his lap, fingers fidgeting slightly, a tic that occasionally blooms into a full fluttering motion he makes with his hand, as if clearing invisible webs from his face. He is 19 years old, 6 feet tall, 250 pounds. His eyes are more steady than bright at this particular moment; his mouth is not set in a smile or a frown but some line in between.
“How’re you doing, sweetie?” Naomi Haskell asks.
“Fine,” Spencer says.

It has been 10 years since he began thinking his classmates were whispering about him, four years since he started feeling angry all the time, and two years since he first told a doctor he was hearing imaginary voices. It has been 20 months since he was told he had a form of schizophrenia, and 15 months since he swallowed three bottles of Benadryl and laid down to die, after which he had gotten better, and worse and, for a while, better again, or so Naomi had thought until an hour ago, when they were in the therapist’s office and Spencer said that his head was feeling “cloudy.”
“Wait —” she said, interrupting. “You described it as a cloudy feeling?”
Cloudy was the big, flying red flag that she had learned to dread. It might simply be a side effect of one of his five medications. But it could also be the quiet beginning of her firstborn son falling apart again, of hallucinations, or a dive into depression, or some other dimension of his illness that Naomi has yet to fathom.
“Yeah,” Spencer said. “Cloudy. It feels like these winds are blowing inside my head.”
A light turns red, and she glances over again.
“You’re feeling okay, baby?” she asks.
“Yeah,” he says, staring straight ahead.
This is what it is like to be the mother of a son with a severe mental illness — an hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute vigil. At a time of increasing public concern about the role mental illness might have played in mass shootings in places like Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., Naomi’s worry on a Tuesday in Texas is different. It’s about keeping her son well.
“Dear Friends and Family . . .” she had written last year, explaining her son’s illness and his suicide attempt. “I don’t believe I have fully processed the horror of my child suffering a level of torment so deep that it caused him to want to end his life. I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I think about it too much.”
So what Naomi is thinking about now is helping Spencer make it until Friday, when he has another therapy appointment, and when the effect of a new medication he has just started taking might become clear.


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School said 'hi' — special needs student took it from there



A few months before Ryan Burke became the first student with Down syndrome to attend Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, his father made an emotional plea to his son's classmates.
"All we ask is that you say 'hi' to him. Just give him a chance," Kevin Burke recalled saying at a school assembly. "He'll take it from there."
Living up to his father's prediction — and demonstrating the success of a remarkable initiative Notre Dame hopes other Catholic schools will emulate — Ryan Burke, 19, graduates Saturday. His yearbook features pictures of him on the swim team, student council and marching band.
He also has something perhaps more precious — memories from four homecoming dances and two proms, as well as a cellphone filled with messages from friends he's made along the way.
The ceremony will mark a sweet victory for the Western Springs parents, who have been campaigning for Ryan's inclusion in normal classrooms since preschool. Kevin and Elaine Burke worked tirelessly to persuade Notre Dame's administration to become one of only a few Catholic high schools in the country with a structured program for students with severe special needs.
And Notre Dame officials say Ryan's example has left a permanent mark on the school, where students now don't think twice about seeing a classmate with special needs carrying the school banner at a football game or in line at the cafeteria.
Next year, the school expects 10 special needs students, with many more applicants than can be accommodated.
"He's a trailblazer," said Principal Dan Tully. "The families have been finding us, sometimes years before they go to high school."
From the time Ryan was a little boy, his parents wanted their active, social, special needs child to have the same access to experiences as his older brother and three sisters.
When he was 3, Elaine and Kevin Burke fought for him to attend LaGrange Public School District 105, which at the time didn't allow children with disabilities to be part of the preschool program.
The Burkes recall collecting hundreds of signatures from neighbors for their cause, then suing the district for violating Ryan's rights. A federal appeals court in Chicago agreed with the Burkes, but by then Ryan had already completed preschool at a nearby park district program.
A few years later the couple moved their family to nearby Western Springs, where they believed schools would offer Ryan an inclusive and quality education, said Kevin Burke, a personal injury attorney.
But as Ryan wrapped up eighth grade, his parents wanted him to have the option to choose a Catholic high school, as two of his siblings had done. The Burkes, who are Catholic, also felt strongly that Catholic students should learn acceptance and diversity in a high school population that mirrored real life.
"I wanted kids to practice what we preach," Elaine Burke said.
At the suggestion of their eldest daughter, Megan, who was earning a doctorate in special education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the Burkes visited Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, Tenn. The school's Hand in Hand program assists students with severe special needs while also allowing them real high school experiences.
Inspired, the Burkes called several Catholic high schools near their home, hoping to start a similar program. Most didn't return calls, and those that did told them it was impossible given financial constraints and declining enrollments, Kevin Burke said.
A family friend and longtime employee at Notre Dame Prep urged the Burkes to approach leaders at the 800-student boys school on West Dempster Street.
Unwilling to be rejected again, the Burkes made their pitch — then paid for plane tickets to Tennessee for Tully and the school's then-executive vice president to see in person how Hand in Hand operated.
"They were advocating for their child, which is exactly what so many parents of children with disabilities do," said Adrienne Parks, Hand in Hand coordinator. "They set a goal and figured out what they had to do to meet it."
Notre Dame Prep officials were convinced, and soon after received a private donation from Chicago Ald. Ed Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke — a co-founder of Special Olympics. The money allowed the effort to begin.
The Burke Scholars Program is named after the alderman and his wife, who are no relation to Kevin and Elaine Burke.
When Ryan put on the school uniform for his first day in 2009, his parents were thrilled.
"I was nervous. We got here early, so early … but he traipsed right in," Kevin Burke said.
In no time, the grueling traffic Kevin Burke endured to drop his son off every day became routine. And Ryan, in turn, learned his new schedule: specialized classes for math and English; inclusion for social studies, religion, physical education and everything else.

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Trichotillomania, Hair-Pulling Disorder, Caused Me To Leave School



HuffPost Live  
 Posted: 

Trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder that causes sufferers to compulsively pull out their own hair and can often lead to both noticeable hair loss and social anxiety, affects between two to five percent of Americans. One sufferer, Valerie Vanone, joined HuffPost Live recently to share her story of battling trichotillomania, which began at age 12 and eventually forced her to leave school in order to seek treatment.
Vanone, who began pulling out her eyelashes as a pre-teen before escalating to pulling hair directly from her scalp, didn't seek help until she was 24 years old, she told host Nancy Redd.
"My counseling department at school, I just walked in and told them what was going on," she told Redd. "They helped me quite a bit for about a year, and then I withdrew from classes because it was too hard to focus on stopping pulling and doing schoolwork at the same time."
Vanone was able to manage her trichotillomania by creating art, and is now an artist in Brooklyn. She wears a wig and pencils in her eyebrows to mask her condition, and has slowly grown more comfortable with herself.
"I think it's a very positive thing too, that I manage to stay up and out with my makeup done the way that it is," she said. "That's taken a long time actually for me to go out, enjoy myself, and not be worried, 'What do my eyebrows look like? Is my wig moving, or is somebody staring at me?' It takes time, but I mean, I'm there."
Joining Vanone and Redd in the conversation were Sandy Rosenblatt, a HuffPost blogger who also suffers from trichotillomania, Sarah Robertson, the founder of the Canadian Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Support Network, and Dr. Ali Mattu, a post-doctoral fellow who treats trichotillomania.

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Young Adults With Autism Can Thrive In High-Tech Jobs



The job hunt is complicated enough for most high school and college graduates — and even tougher for the growing number of young people on the autism spectrum. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, there's a natural landing place: the tech industry.
Amelia Schabel graduated from high school five years ago. She had good grades and enrolled in community college. But it was too stressful. After less than a month she was back at home, doing nothing.
"I did go to a community college for a semester, but that definitely was not for me," she says.
Schabel has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder on the "high functioning" end of the autism spectrum.
According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. For people like Schabel, attending college and interacting socially can be tough.
"I can look someone in the eye and talk to them," she says, "but if someone treats me in a way I don't think I deserve to be treated, I'm not going to react well. I may lash out, I may not speak to them, I may just glare."
Although symptoms and their severity vary widely, the majority of young adults with autism spectrum disorder won't make it to college and won't get a job after they graduate. This year alone, 50,000 adolescents with autism will turn 18.
A Tech Mecca For Young Adults With Autism
Gary Moore wants to make the transition into the workforce easier for young adults on the autism spectrum. Moore, along with his partner Dan Selic, founded the nonPareil Institute in Plano, Texas. It's a combination training program and software company for young adults on the autism spectrum.
Schabel, now 23, is one of more than 100 students at nonPareil, training in everything from software programing and digital design to 3-D modeling. She's studying visual art and working on a children's book. Two-dozen young adults with autism work as employees there.
Moore's son, Andrew, is a junior in high school and on the autism spectrum. Moore says he used to stay up at night worrying about what would happen to Andrew after graduation
"Although [Andrew] can't tie his shoes or buckle his belt to do a lot of things independently, he can do technology," Moore says. "He's a digital native."
For people like Andrew Moore and Amelia Schabel, high-tech jobs can be a perfect fit. Dr. Patricia Evans, a neurologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, says people on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum often have an amazing ability to hyper-focus on a task.
"They may really flourish at engineering-type tasks or computer design, where their interaction with people is somewhat limited," Evans says.

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Kiondre Davison, Mentally Disabled Teen, Held In Solitary For 25 Days At Colorado ‘Treatment' Facility


The Colorado Independent  |  By Susan GreenePosted:  

Fourteen-year-old Kiondre Davison had a habit of acting up in school and running away from home. Social services officials stepped in to help. They sent him to El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch, a teen treatment center that touts its “environment of safety and loving care.”
Kiondre – with an IQ of 62 and an array of developmental disabilities – bickered with staffers, fought with other kids and exhibited what the Pueblo-based center documented as a pattern of inappropriate behavior. Its form of treatment: forcing him to spend at least 25 consecutive days last year in one of its “reflections cottages” — spaces that, despite the pleasant name, Kiondre describes as “hell.”
“Reflection,” as practiced in many cases at El Pueblo, is a form of solitary confinement in a cement cell. For some teens at the center, state investigators have found, reflection means no school, outdoor exercise or interaction with other kids. Kiondre didn’t really understand why he was put into isolation or how long it would last. He says the three and a half weeks or more he spent locked in solitude, unable to watch TV, read a book or see his mom “seemed like five or six months.”
“I’m not so good with stuff like months and weeks. All I know is it was long, real long, and it felt like the worst thing ever. I mean, ever,” he says.
El Pueblo voluntarily has shut down its reflections cottages as Colorado’s Department of Human Services investigates how many kids besides Kiondre have been forced into isolation there. Following a complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado last month, state regulators issued a report on describing as well-founded ACLU allegations that:
  • Kids are locked and placed in solitary confinement in El Pueblo’s “reflections cottages”
  • Children have not been provided adequate education programs during their stays in “reflection”
  • And youth in El Pueblo “are not provided recreation, exercise or outdoor activity.”
El Pueblo President and CEO Sherri Baca touts reflection as a way to “provide a clinical intervention for the residents in crisis.”
“The Cottages are an important element in the continuum of care available to our kids,” she said in a prepared statement, noting that her center looks forward to working with Human Services officials in their evaluation of its program.

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Teenager with Lipodystrophy tells her story



LONDON, Feb. 1, 2010


Zara Hartshorn has been robbed of her childhood. Her mom took her out of school because the bullying was so bad. A bus driver laughed in her face recently when she tried to pay the child's fare. Strangers stare and point in the street. Kids call her "grandma," "monkey" and "baggy face."

Zara is 13 but has a rare genetic condition that makes her look much, much older than her years. She has the face of a grown woman, gaunt and wrinkled. But she's a frightened teen inside.
"It feels like people are looking down their noses at me and staring," she said at her home in northern England. "You know when you get that feeling you're being watched? I feel that everywhere I go."
Zara's mother, Tracey Pollard, feels her pain: She, too, was born with lipodystrophy.
Pollard, 41, noticed the tell-tale signs in Zara's face at birth. "I was grieving for a child that's got to go through the same things in life that I've had to go through," she said. "I was angry at myself for actually having Zara."
Lipodystrophy is a genetic disease. It is hereditary. It robs the body of the ability to produce fat cells beneath the skin.
"Fatty tissue doesn't grow right," Dr. Donald Kotler of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City said. "Normal fatty tissues shrink, making people look sort of old and wrinkled and abnormal."

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