Super Kaitlyn

(Content Warning: This story contains references to criminal and fatal violence. Readers should use discretion. Please do not read if you may be triggered by an account of a 2019 shooting.)

Super Kaitlyn’s story is about the bravery people are capable of during terrifying circumstances. It’s also a story about another kind of bravery: the kind that people summon to get through every day. Here is her heroic story, as told by Super Mom Stephanie:

“Super Kaitlyn’s disability isn’t visible. You wouldn’t see it by looking at her. In fact, if you passed her and saw her smiling face, you would think she was like every other ten-year-old, going day to day with innocence and happiness. But it’s there…unseen…constantly haunting her. 

On August 3, 2019, Super Kaitlyn went to Walmart with her grandparents. They stood at the check-out, ready to leave so they could catch their movie. At that moment, a shooter entered. Her grandpa shoved her under the checkout conveyer belt, but she watched and heard everything, including seeing her grandfather shot and killed while shielding her and her grandma. Super Kaitlyn might have survived and walked out of Walmart…but she lives with the horror everyday. She is the bravest child I know.  

For weeks, we struggled just getting her out of the house to school, and then to restaurants. It’s a slow process. She still doesn’t sleep well, and she won’t go to any stores. She goes to therapy twice a week, but she grows frustrated with herself from time to time. Her diagnosis comes with things such as forgetfulness, hyper-awareness, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, restlessness, trouble concentrating, bed-wetting,  and self consciousness. She’s lost a lot of confidence since everything happened, and when I saw this program (TinySupeheroes), I knew it would help give her some confidence back and help her build up her self esteem.  She only ever worries about what people think of her because she thinks they see her acting differently. She panicked when her school’s electricity went out. She couldn’t sit through an art class. She couldn’t sit through “quiet” reading time in class. She can’t go to the store. She tells me about little things that other kids pick on her for. Her previous school almost suspended her when she had a panic attack; they told her she was just “scared to get in trouble”.  We changed schools. She’s working with her new school on figuring out her triggers, and they’re helping her succeed.

We try to be understanding of Super Kaitlyn’s concentration and her focus. We have our good days and our bad. It’s a long path we are just learning to navigate. Somehow, though, Super Kaitlyn moves through life with a smile. She pushes through her fears. I never thought I would deal with childhood PTSD, but she shows me just how strong and resilient children are. She’s my hero.”

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