childhood perception why can’t we have these discussions?

I can’t remember when I first realized I was “different” but it was definately around the time I entered mainstream school, you see the kids I grew up with in the neighbourhood had grown up around my family so to them I was just a part of the gang.

But, in school things were different. I was seen as different only made worse by the developmentally challenged class (dc class), that was held within the same four walls of the building we all called school. A lot of the kids in dc class were considered non verbal and had other complex learning challenges. To my peers although I was in mainstream classes with them they wrongfully and ignorantly assumed that I lacked some sort of intelligance. Childhood preceptions are interesting thing. I can not tell you how many times out in public I have heard an innocent child ask their parent why I am in a wheelchair, the two classic responses: 1 a car accident or 2 we don’t talk about that and rush them away in a hurry.
Why is the canned response a car accident? Do people really think that every person on the planet who is in a wheelchair in one because of some terrible accident? Why is this something that we don’t talk about? This is where these perceptions come from, I get that people don’t know how to address this stuff but aren’t we doing a disservice by giving sometimes wrong information?

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One Response to childhood perception why can’t we have these discussions?

  1. I have been asked many times if I was in an accident in my lifetime. Fortunately for me, I was in an accident however, the accident was not the cause of cp. I have had cp for most of my life: as a baby, a child, an adolescent, young adult and now adult. I always tell them that I am in a constant state of change, even the cp has changed (I do them them it is cerebral palsy). Though the diagnosis has not changed, the severity and the way I walk has changed. So, when people ask me if I was in an accident, I say “yes”. I’d like to them think that rather than cp is some kind of disease that is contagious – and to women I’d want them to think that I was in an accident than thinking if, in the future, our kids will end up walking like me. (Believe me, people still think this stupidity.)

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