Driven: Boy with special needs writes book to raise awareness about children with disabilities
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A boy with special needs bullied at school uses his pain to allow children like him to dream beyond their limits.
For Justin Douglas, going to school can be painful.
Amanda DeVoe: “How are the kids at school towards you?”
Justin: Not nice.
Amanda: Why aren’t they nice?
Justin: “Because I’m different.”
His mother Cynterrya Burnett said she knew Justin was different when he was around six months old.
“We had a broken baby, that’s what I tell everyone. He was crying every day, I would never know what was wrong. He cried, I cried because I couldn’t help him, ”Burnett said.
After seeing several doctors and performing numerous tests, Cynterrya discovered that Justin had a number of challenges.
“He’s autistic and has cerebral palsy, then he has a dislocated hip. He had a brain tumor, he’s having seizures, ”she said.
Cynterrya says Justin’s challenges often take their toll as a mother.
“It’s like I’m going into a depressive mood because it’s like what’s wrong with me, I’m his mother. I don’t know what I can do, ”she said.
Through the pain of bullying, Justin asked his mother to write a book to empower children with challenges like him.
The book, titled “Dis-Is-Able,” features children with special needs disguised as superheroes on every page, with Justin gracing the cover as Iron Man.
Although sometimes shy, Justin always makes it clear that he is capable of doing whatever he wants.
The writing of the book was done quickly, Justin telling his mom about his different experiences, as well as those of his friends, who also have special needs.
“He continued and was telling me about different things that happened. Like he was telling me, he would get up just in the middle of the night and like he would tell me, I would write it down instantly, ”she said.
Cynterra hopes that as more and more children read the book, they will see beyond disabilities and find beauty in themselves.
“Even if you are disabled, you can do it. Put on your cape. What you can’t do, show people what you can do. If I can’t do something, you can and maybe you can teach me. Show them your abilities and not your handicaps, ”she said.
Justin of course agrees and hopes to change the hearts and minds of his bullies.
Amanda: “If you could talk to them now, what would you say?”
Justin: “I can do it!”
Justin and his mother want to continue putting the books in the hands of children with special needs and eventually work with nonprofits that help these children thrive.
Click here to buy his book.