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Local professor and retired school teacher write book on specially-abled children

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TOPPENISH, Wash— Karen Nicksich says raising a child with special needs had its moments of heartbreak.

“When Rachel was growing up, she was really tired of always being labeled, and she kept telling me she was tired of being judged and not accepted for who she is, and Rachel has a lot of amazing gifts, but a lot of people didn't see that,” said Nicksich.

Her daughter, Rachel Nicksich, has ectodermal dysplasia, a disorder where one has abnormal skin, teeth, hair, and nails.

Rachel asked her mom to write a book on people who have special needs to educate the public.

“I wanted to let people know that its ok to be different than the average Joe or average person, because I like being who I am, and it’s ok to have a disability or disorder,” said Rachel.

Karen teamed up with Heritage University Assistant Professor Miguel Juarez on a book that follows ten families with special needs children .

Juarez recalls the journey of putting the book together.

“The struggles from the moms and dads, the children themselves, being accepted as they are in the community - and at times, you almost wanna cry. I mean finding out my kid don't have any friends, or have a party, but only a couple friends came to my kid’s party,” said Juarez.

Karen says her wish is for these stories to open people's eyes to children with special needs, and she hopes people will be more open-minded, accepting, and not so quick to judge.

“I wanted this to be an opportunity for people to start talking in a positive way about children that are specially-abled, and to start a conversation, because right now, there’s a lot of negativity in the world,” said Nicksich.

Earth Angels will be released on Wednesday, February 14th, where there’ll be a book signing at the Columbia Basin College library at 1:00 P.M.

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