To the child that just got their first wheelchair: congratulations, you have now taken the first step that you need to succeed in life with cerebral palsy. It’s exciting, isn’t it? I remember when I got my first wheelchair: it was small, the footrest handles were hot pink and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever to be sitting in a wheelchair-something my physical therapist and teachers had been talking about for a while.
I remember going through the process of getting measurements, picking out the colors, and discussing what you’re going to need the wheelchair for. We went through all the ins and outs of how to use and maintain it.
I remember the first time I ever set my wheelchair as a young child I thought “how awesome!”, but I think that was the first time I realized that I was different from everybody else. I couldn’t comprehend it, I was nonchalant about it, saying that I can use this chair to get around.
Having a wheelchair has its pros and cons in life. or example: when you’re playing musical chairs with your friends, and the music stops, you never have to worry about having a seat because you are already sitting down, or when you have to do laps around the track in school you could just have someone push you around in your wheelchair, or if you have a power chair, then you’re able to do it yourself. Another fun pro about having a wheelchair is that you can go to Universal Studios and get on every ride first. I mostly love that about going on the Harry Potter rides, especially “The Forbidden Journey,” since that’s my favorite ride.
But my favorite thing about being in a wheelchair is the fact people always remember coming up to you wanting to know the story and wanting to know what caused you to be in the wheelchair. It’s a rewarding feeling to know that you taught someone about a disability that they probably have never heard of.
Now on to the negative side of having a condition and having to be on a wheelchair… the fact that some people may not treat us like a regular person or as an adult is the worst feeling in the world. I experienced discrimination as an adult, and going into society because people automatically stereotype you because of your appearance.
You have to prove yourself consistently when living with a condition such as Cerebral Palsy but other than that, it’s fantastic having a wheelchair since over time it becomes a part of you. But don’t let that define who you are because you are your own human being with your own story. You could be a champion regardless of how people may treat you in society, so just keep on going with the smile I know you have, especially that excited smile from the day you got your first wheelchair.