Ever been out and someone suddenly looks at you like they’ve just witnessed a real life miricale?
My Spastic Dysplasia ( CP) effects all four of my limbs but the most noticable effects are in both my legs which means that I can walk independently but use a wheelchair for long distances or when I’m having a bad day with my legs.
If you’re like me and use a wheelchair occasionally but can walk quite well at times then you’ll know that going out in public can be really funny with the type of reactions you get off strangers, strangers who don’t understand that having a disability doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t do anything for yourself! I’ll never forget the funniest yet most awakward moment I’ve ever had with regards to my disability.
I was about 15 years old and I’d travelled to Lourdes in France with a youth group I was part of, we had spent most of the day walking around looking at local shops and our last visit was to the holy waters. I had been in my wheelchair most of the day and decided I needed to strectch my legs as I stepped out of my chair and began to walk a group of women who were standing behind me looked over and shouted ‘its a miricale!’. At that exact moment I wanted the ground to swallow me up, how was I going to explain too these poor women that my recent walking abilities were not a miricale but instead just a natural occurence. While I stood there lost for words one of the carers in our group went over to explain that it wasn’t a miricale but in fact I could walk all the time. The poor women then came over with extremely red faces to apologise.
Although this story is quite funny there have been times that peoples look of disbelief as I get up to walk has really got to me. Its not the fact that they look that annoys me its how they seem to think that all disabilities are the same and they look at you like you’re trying to cheat or deceive someone because you only partly use the wheelchair.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is please don’t judge a book by its cover! Just because I can walk doesn’t mean I don’t need my chair for genuine reasons.