Teen With Special Needs Inspires Kids With Disabilities - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Teen With Special Needs Inspires Kids With Disabilities

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Sidney Snow's journey hasn't been easy but as FOX 29's Karen Hepp shows you in the face of adversity Sidney makes others smile.

Sidney Snow barely survived her birth, a delivery so traumatic it deserves the term devastating.

For the bright and loving little girl there would be consequences. First came a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Later, hearing loss both profound and progressive. Challenges her Mom Ali Snow knew would set her daughter apart for a lifetime.

"My biggest prayer was let her be able to read because I don't care if she's in a wheel chair, but if that child can read. She can do a world of things," Ali said.

Seems the Good Lord was listening. Now 15, Sidney Snow is an insatiable reader who found in the flow of words and ideas insulation from the hardships headed her way.

"You just take on a different perspective and that can help you take on life a different way," Sidney said.

From that perspective has come resilience - toughness in the face of cruelty. The constant muscle contractions associated with cerebral palsy altered Sidney's movement.

The hearing loss affects her speech. Over the years, neither has gone unnoticed by classmates.

"I know I am not any of those things that they are saying about me. I just try to be the bigger person," Sidney said.

Not just in words, but deeds. Within her high school Sidney seeks out those whose shoes she's walked in - kids with disabilities even greater than her own.

"I just walk in there and I might have had a bad morning and I see the smiles on their faces and it's just wow everything is just so superficial right now there's so much more in life," Sidney said.

"I look at those kids and they have much less than I do and I look at myself and go wow I am so blessed I can walk I can talk and I can express my feelings to others," Sidney said.

Her Mom calls it compassion born of suffering that quietly continues nearly halfway through her sophomore year. You see, when Sidney goes to class, this is what she hears.

"It's like Charlie Brown talk wah-wah -wah and every now and then you hear something that you might understand," Sidney said.

Sidney is forced to compensate by reading lips - an imperfect and utterly exhausting process.

"I come home with headaches, migraine headaches," Sidney said. "I've never been one for curing cerebral palsy or deafness because that's made me who I am so I don't want to get rid of it."

Despite it all, Sidney Snow makes mostly A's and she takes pleasure in the companionship of a Horse named Tommy - a rare teen whose drawn power from what most perceive as weakness.

Comfortable in her own skin, secure in her faith. Call it strength. Sidney's strength.

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