(BTW, I see that for posting an entry, under "Comment Screening" there is an option to select "Disabled." Let's see if this prevents links from being an issue.)
Edit: howtheduck posted the link to the infamous Caring Today interview where she appears to suggest that the afflicted should suffer in silence. What I had forgotten about this interview was that she also discusses Stephanie and Shannon:
CT: You've looked at special health conditions in other ways, too. Particularly, there's the relationship between April and Shannon. Why is it so important that there be a kid level to supporting others with special needs?So she's a little bit more specific about Stephanie's learning disability there, but somehow still a bit--convoluted?
LJ: Again, this is thanks to my family. My niece was born with a lot of physical concerns. She was born prematurely. She had an opening in her throat that went up into the back of her mouth, and it was not something they could fix easily. She was fed through a tube into her stomach, and then they did multiple surgeries on her mouth. The final surgeries were done when she was four years old, which left her with a speech impediment. So not only was she developmentally delayed, but also she couldn't speak very well. She was short. She had an unusual body. She was teased terribly at school.
Yet, now, as a young woman of 24, she's bright, intelligent and intuitive. She still has very serious learning problems when it comes to math and reading, but in terms of speech and her ability to relate to people, she's absolutely wonderful.
Through the character of Shannon, she's now doing public speaking. She [recently was in] Washington, where she talked to all kinds of people about disability and acceptance and the workplace. So she's gone a million miles with this character.
But if it hadn't been for Stephanie, the character [Shannon] would never have happened. I would never have had the permission to do it. Unless you know someone who can tell you his or her story, you really can't write about it.