by Theresa Paterra
Theresa Paterra was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ever since she started middle school and taking care of her little sister, she has wanted to be a teacher. But her other dream was to be a parent, which was difficult due to her medical condition. So she put her college education on hold to try to have children. Success came a year later when she had her daughter, Shenan. But complications left her daughter with multiple disabilities.
As the years went by, Paterra taught herself how to manage a physically and intellectually challenged child. She watched as her daughter struggled through school and saw how normal children treated her. Paterra instilled in Shenan the value of perseverance and taught her that anyone is a winner as long as they give 100%. Paterra currently works as an elementary instructional assistant and a personal care assistant in a local school district. She takes care of a variety of children, including those in regular classes and those in full-time special education classes, and she continues to see how some students still do not accept disabled children, even in this age of inclusion in education.
Paterras experiences inspired her to write Dizzy Daisy, the story of a sparrow that cant fly. She wrote it to express the importance of awareness and acceptance of those who are disabled.(2012, paperback, 30 pages)