“When people make fun of them, I just think you guys do not know the struggles we have to go through with having special needs kids.”


Elena Melchor

Brenda Valerio graduating from middle school.

Interview Audio

In 2017, Brenda left LA to go live in Bakersfield. Along with her, she took many memories and the good and bad times she had spent with her family and relatives in LA.

Growing up, Brenda had always stayed indoors since her parents couldn’t take her out. The reason for this was she has some special needs brothers who needed more care.

Her brothers have taught her different things and influenced the way she sees things. She describes them as a blessing. But growing up was different for her than other kids.

During most kids; childhoods, they run around and make a mess 24/7. Not Brenda. Of course she loved playing around but she had no one to play with and most of the time she couldn’t have fun because if she made a mess, she might throw something on the ground that would make her brothers trip.

Things started to change when her aunt would to take her out along with her cousins, whom she was already close to since they grew up together. Every single week her aunt would take her out to the park or somewhere else away from home. This led to good memories with her relatives. She also has good memories of her family in which she speaks of in the interview…




LESLY VALERIO: Tell me about yourself.
BRENDA VALERIO: Ok.. m y name is Brenda. I have 2 brothers and a little sister and i am in high school. I am in my freshman year and I am 14 years old. And i guess I like studying. I like math…and yeah.
LV: What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
BV: I am grateful for my family.I am grateful for having food. I am grateful for a lot of different things that not a lot of people have and I’m grateful for everything that I have.
LV: Can you describe one of your happiest memories?
BV: One of my happiest memories I think is when we like, it’s hard to describe but one of my favorite my memories is like gathering with my family during like Christmas, or Thanksgiving when we are all eating and we all talk about our life and what we have been doing and what we have been up to and we just talk and make each other laugh.We eat so like probably my favorite memories is family gatherings.
LV: Um can you tell me about one of your most difficult memories?
BV: One of my most difficult memories is probably first grade when I got bullies. I got bullied. I don’t remember very much but that was probably one of my hardest time because that was the first time I experienced bullying. Thankfully, I moved to a different school and that was way better than my last school. But that was one of my most difficult time in my life because that was the first time I ever experienced bullying.
LV: Can you describe to me how you got bullied?
BV: I do not really remember because that was a long time ago but I remember I felt picked on by this one guy. My parents were always there for me they were always cheered me up.I remember they transferred me to another school that was closer to where I lived and I made lots of new friends and stuff and I was able to get past the bullying.
LV: Can you remember a time in your life where you felt alone?
BV: When I felt alone…When I most felt alone was during my teen years because I would get stressed out really easily and thought that nobody understood me and I thought nobody understands the amount of stress it is to try to be the best at this and that. That was one of the most times I felt lonely. But now that I am older I have learned from that. I learned how to control my stress.  And now I am not so lonely because like my parents are there for me to support me and stuff.
LV: Did you ever try to change yourself?
BV: (inaudible) I never really tried to change myself. I mostly tried to change like my mindset. So like I turned to change how…My expectations. I have really high expectations about myself. If I do not do good I bring myself down but I am trying to improve that and be like OK if I did this its OK you do not have to try to get 100 percent. Its fine to get 90 percent or 85 percent on a grade or something.It’s okay to get a “B” or like a do not worry about it.
 LV: Can you tell me about the advice that your parents have given you?
BV: Advice that my parents have given me is try not to overwork yourself. Like if I am doing am assignment I have to know what I am doing and stuff. Like try not to do lots of work at once, to take my time on things, or not to rush on things, or to wait last minute to do something. They told me to try to take everything one step at a time and do not rush things and be calm and relax.
LV: What is your favorite memory about us?
BV: Our favorite memory was probably when we went to the beach because we would just be running around in the sand and be running everywhere and we would be getting in the water or like in the ocean we would be splashing each other. We would be getting wet. We were chasing each other and that is when we were little kids so we would be running and our parents would be like,¨Come over here do not be going over there. Do not be doing this and that.” But we were little kids so were would just go everywhere and we would ask for different things and be like, ̈Can we have this? Can we have that?¨
LV: How has your life been different from what you have imagined?
BV: I thought my life was going to be easy. I thought I would have everything. I thought everything would be just fine. But definitely during life there are some things that hit you. There is some obstacles but it’s fine you can get over them .You need to learn how to get over them. Life isn’t just..Life isn’t easy. There is some things you have to go through but the things you have to go through, you learn from them.
LV: Can you tell me about one of your obstacles?
BV: One of my obstacles was probably starting school. Every single year because its hard because when you are younger you don’t think about school and stuff as much but then you start getting older you start knowing that you have to do this and have to do that and definitely a bunch of work are like a bunch of obstacles for me. I have to this i have to do that and that my schedule is full of things now that I’m in high school but I’m trying to be more organized and stuff.
LV: How has having your brothers impacted you?
BV: Having my brothers has definitely taught me a bunch of things. Like having patience.They taught me how to have patience with them and taught me how to love everybody no matter from where you are from, no matter who you are, just to always respect everybody and then also when I had…my brothers came into my life there were times when I felt alone because my parents would be always concerned for my brothers and making sure they had the medication and stuff and I didn’t really have anybody to be around much but deep down I knew that they cared for me just that they had to give a little more attention to my brothers because anything can happen but now I have a little sister I can be with I could play with and yeah. They taught me how to respect everybody and love everybody no matter what and to basically just love anybody who is with me and taught me patience and take my time and stuff.
LV: Can you describe to me about how you feel when people make fun of autism or those type of things that shouldn’t be joked about?
BV: Special needs kids?
LV: Yeah.
BV: It definitely….Whenever they make fun of them I think they don’t know..they don’t… they need to know…they don’t really know about them. So if I hear somebody say, “Oh look at that kid, he has autism,¨ or like they joke about it I think…they don’t know about the struggles about having a brother like that. Especially two. I feel like they need to understand more about what we go through. Cause my parents are concerned about my brothers. Every single week they make sure they have their medications and they’re careful with objects and stuff because my brothers can fall on things and they make sure there is nothing on there is nothing on their way where they can trip and stuff and when people make fun of them they don’t know the struggles about what parents have to go through and and as siblings too because we as siblings we don’t really like you.. don’t know how to describe it….but we as siblings we care for our brothers no matter what and when people make fun of them, we look back at the tings we have to go through looking at our parents making sure they’re fine. When people make fun of them I just think you guys do not know the struggles we have to go through and about other relative have to go through with having special needs kids.
LV: What’s your favorite memory about your brothers?
BV: My favorite memory about my brothers is when we go out. Like outside or out to parks or in family gathering because they get to be free and don’t have to be inside of the house and stuff, they get to be outside and get to be running around in the grass or in the dirt or they get to be out at look at the [inaudible]. My brother likes to watch the trucks go by and cars go by. My other brother just likes to go around the house. Yeah those are probably my favorite memories when we go out.
 LV: Can you tell me your funniest memories with your siblings?
BV: Our funniest memories is probably when we do gather. When we go outside. Because my brothers would be joking around and stuff and they’ll be with us and we will make each other. They will start laughing and then we start laughing. My brothers could do something funny and we all start laughing out.
LV: Can you describe me one?
BV:  Describe you a memory..was probably like..when was it… probably when we do Thanksgiving. Like thanksgiving, I don’t remember when but I don’t remember what happened but it was on Thanksgiving and we all were there and my brothers would be making a mess everywhere and like around food and we [inaudible] were like ̈Stop don’t do this, don’t do that,¨ and then I remember my brother would make a mess or try to climb on top of the couch and just to try to reach the food and and try to play around with our food too. And we were like no…Umm those were probably like the funniest memories. They would try to cause trouble and we would try to stop them…
LV: Thank you.  
BV: Your welcome.