Taken from “I have experience…” website:

For Parents Of Children Who Have Poland’s Syndrome!

So, I lived most of my life without any explanation from doctors regarding my physical condition, until my sister decided to have a baby. A doctor recommended a geneticist to my sister and her husband after they listed their respective family histories of medical conditions. I wasn’t present at this meeting, but my sister described my physical abnormality in detail: the right side of my chest is “sucked in” and none of the fingers on my right hand are fully developed. The geneticist consulted other physicians before returning with a large book. She wrote “Poland Sequence” on her business card and gave it to my sister, which she later gave to me. My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few months later; I was 30 years old at the time.

Anyway, it’s pity I found out so late or else the proper interventions would have been made to ensure that I develop into a mentally healthy person. So, I’m taking a moment to list some recommendations for parents of children who have Poland’s Syndrome…

* Don’t subject your child to surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary and beneficial.

* Teach your child to accept and respect his/herself, and others. This goes for everyone! I learned how to do this at church and at Sunday school, but it’s better for kids to learn this sort of stuff from their parents. Keep in mind that kids learn first and foremost from what their parents say and do.

* Send your kid to a private school from day one, if finances permit. I’m a product of both urban public education and private education. There are differences…

—- Parents who are willing to invest money in their child’s education are more involved in the lives of the children. In contrast, you’re child is more likely to encounter peers who’s parents aren’t evolved for a variety of different reasons. As such, public school teachers and counselors have a harder time dealing with disruptive students, including bullies.

—- Private schools, especially schools associated with different organized religions, include morality in the curriculum. I attended a Catholic college preparatory high school and “being Christian” was a part of the school culture. The staff and a majority of students didn’t tolerate bullying.

—- Open a line of communication with school administrators, counselors, and you’re child’s teachers. This applies in both private and public education. The latter has come a long way in terms to how it deals with bullying.

* Teach your child to be assertive, how to express his or her displeasures, and how to fight his or her own battles.

…I recall an incident during my senior year of high school, when I literally give a kid a hard kick in the rear after he made a blatant gesture in reference to my right hand. He turned around and I was prepared to give him a left hook before a teacher intervened. I didn’t get suspended, nor was the incident ever reported. The teacher knew exactly why I got physical. Moreover, the kid left me alone after that. I really don’t want to condone violence and I prefer to avoid fights, but sometimes a clenched fist is the only thing certain people understand.

Bullies prey on those who don’t know how to defend themselves. I spent my middle school years getting bullied by other kids for my right hand because I wanted others to fight my battles for me. Consequently, some of what was said and done remains vividly in my memory. These memories won’t go away. High school was a clean slate, so I decided to reinvent myself.

In retrospect, I wrote a lot more than intended and I hope this helps others. I could probably write a whole book on the subject, but that remains to be seen.