The dictionary defines a phenomenon as something that can be percieved by the senses, something unusual or inspiring. The word carries a slightly different connotation for me.
My younger sister, Tracie, is autistic.
She is 17, has brown hair, brown eyes, and tan skin most of the year. She is also about 5'3" and 110 lbs.
Her body functions just like an average person's body. The systems are all the same: muscular, endocrine, digestive, skeletal, etc. The only difference between my sister and the average person is the structure of her brain. All of the other frameworks that make up the human physique are normal.
Every day with Tracie is like a clockwork. Since she's autistic her environment needs to be static. Every morning she has to wake up at the same time, eat the same foods at the same times, and participate in the same activities at the same times. Her schedule is invariant. Any deviation would cause confusion for her and she would get upset. Said confusion might even cause seizures. Every day and every event in her life is a framework fixed in an invariant cycle. Therefore her lifestyle is a clockwork.
I believe that the things that my sister is capable of doing with her mental disability make her a walking phenomena. When she was younger the doctors told my parents that there was nothing that could be done for her mild to severe autism. They said that we would always have to feed her, help her walk, and never know what she wanted; the claimed that she would never gain any independence. Now she can feed herself without any assitance at all. Tracie can walk independently, load the dishwasher, even put DVDs in the DVD player and hit the play button. She can ask when she wants something and even convey her feelings with simple verbal communication. Though her world is completely uniform, she manages to make progress in her communication and motor skills. She is a phenomenon.