Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month: Day 1: Staring

Having CP and using a wheelchair, people are going to stare.  I haven't always known how to respond to it, especially when parents reprimand their kids to look away.  But thinking about this made me remember a few years ago when I was hanging out with a sweet 4-year-old I'll call Hailey.

She wanted to push my wheelchair (like sit in it and push) but she was so small that I compromised.  She sat on my lap and pushed with my help.  While we were doing laps in the hallway, another gentleman was also in the hall. who was an amputee.  Though Hailey was not curious about my disability any longer, she immediately noticed this man.  She said, "Why does he only have one leg?"

I told her, "Because some people have two legs and some people only have one."

That was a fine enough answer for her.  In fact, she later went home, and apparently was "playing wheelchair" with a stroller and her doll.

2 comments:

  1. I love that you let Hailey try out your wheelchair because that showed her that disability isn't anything to be afraid of, and your explanation of the amputee was perfect! Some people are so freaked out when kids ask disability-related questions, but they don't realize that "shushing" them only serves to reinforce the prejudice and fear of what's different.

    I love that kids tend to be so matter-of-fact and accepting of disability. My mom is a teacher and I've experienced this with her students too -- they were curious at first, but once I explained, they just nodded and went on with their day.

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  2. It's true! In my experience, adults are so much more fearful and hold so many more prejudices than children do. (I unfortunately have a post scheduled to go up tomorrow that talks about this very thing.) I've found that letting kids get close and touch my chair really takes away any fear for them. Every kid is different, but I think an honest explanation goes a long way. (So excited to see you here!)

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