Driven: Special needs boy writes book to raise awareness about kids with disabilities


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A special needs boy bullied at school is using his pain to empower kids just like him to dream beyond their limitations.  

For Justin Douglas, going to school can be painful.  

Amanda DeVoe: “How are the kids at school towards you?” 

Justin: Not nice.  

Amanda: Why are they not nice? 

Justin: “Cause I’m different.” 

His mother Cynterrya Burnett said she knew Justin was different when he was about six months old.  

“We had a broken baby is what I tell everybody. He would cry every day I would never know what was wrong. He cried, I cried because I couldn’t help him,” said Burnett. 

After going to several doctors and running numerous tests, Cynterrya found out Justin had a number of challenges. 

“He’s autistic and has cerebral palsy and then he has a dislocated hip. He had a tumor on his brain, he has seizures,” she said.  

Cynterrya says Justin’s challenges, often taking a toll on her as a mom.  

“It’s just like I went into a depression mode because it was like what is wrong, I’m his mom. I don’t know what I can do,” she said.  

Through the pain of the bullying, Justin approached his mom about writing a book to empower children who have challenges just like him.  

The book, called ‘Dis-Is-Able,’ has special needs children dressed as a superheroes on every page, with Justin gracing the covering as Iron Man.  

While sometimes shy, Justin still makes it clear that he is able to do anything he sets his mind to.   

Writing the book came together quickly, Justin telling his mom about his different experiences, as well as those of his friends, who also have special needs.  

“He went on and was telling me about different things that happened. As he would tell me, he would just get up in the middle of the night and as he would tell me I would write it down instantly,” she said.  

Cynterra hopes as more kids read the book, they see beyond the disabilities, and find the beauty in them.  

“Even though you’re disabled, you are able. Put on your cape. What you can’t do, show the people the e things that you can do.  If I can’t do something, you may can and maybe you can teach me. Show them your abilities and not your disabilities,” she said.  

Justin of course agrees and hopes to change the hearts and minds of his bullies.  

Amanda: “If you could talk to them right now, what would you say?” 

Justin: “I am able!” 

Justin and his mom want to continue to get the books in the hands of kids who have specials needs and eventually work with nonprofit organizations that help these children thrive. 

Click here to buy his book. 

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