When I was growing up, I was taught things by my family that they believed where good intentions on their part, but were biased based upon the stereotypes going on in society. Back then, wheelchair meant that the person was crippled. Parents had an over burden to raise the child, in the wheelchair, until there death. Many thought that they would never amount to anything. They thought that they would have to put them in a nursing home or an institution. A lot of the mothers blamed themselves for their children living their lives in a wheelchair. For the parents who did stick this out to see the other side, I give them a whole lot of credit.
Wheelchair bound and it was all about the fear of the chair were a couple of other things that I was taught that I didn’t like at all. Wheelchair bound sounded to me that someone had to be restrained in the wheelchair. I always thought there was a better way and was determined to find it. I respect all life, always.
In junior high school, I was educating myself about those who were differently abled than me. I was becoming friends with those in wheelchairs. That’s when they taught me that the chairs were for the independence. That’s when I was no longer afraid of the chair and I saw them in a different light. The users are my friends with a personality, who are themselves.
Throughout my years, when I was working on my own challenges, I joined groups for those with disabilities, where some of them were ran by users in wheelchairs. I have since went to college and got a BA in psychology and did a lot more with my life. All during this time, I’ve been involved in the changes in the wheelchair community. Many of my friends, who are wheelchair users, became successful lawyers or engineers. Many are writers. Some of them workout. Some are fantastic athletes!
Parents, today, are educated on how to empower their children in the wheelchair so that they do for themselves. After the parents are through their grieving, they focus on their child’s strengths and that the chair is their tool to get around. They teach them how to do for themselves, because in doing for yourself, you are not a burden on society.
Remember, all of you are awesome. I have seen people without the use of their arms and legs play murder ball with a clubbing device attached to their helmet, while also powering the chair! The ADA is setting up places where all you wheelchair users can work because you can. Your world is more accessible to you now and you have the power.
I believe in not the too far future, the robotic wheelchair is going to have you up, standing and walking with just hand or mouth controls with back and head alignment with safety belts.
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