Friday, 8 February 2013
'WHEELS ON FIRE......'
Recently there was excitement in the Hawley household. Jess’s wheelchair had finally arrived!
Jessica was getting too big for her buggy style pushchair and so before Christmas we were in the wheelchair services department hoping that they would be able to provide another set of wheels. The wheels we thought would be offered are a bigger version of the buggy she had at the moment, but Emma was not really happy with that option as the buggies did not provide much support for Jess’s back. As Jessica is pump fed whilst sitting in her buggy at nursery (or whilst out and about) it was important that she is able to sit as upright as possible, also she was much happier sitting upright as she liked to look around.
The people in wheelchair services were very helpful. As anticipated they did bring out a bigger ‘buggy style’ pushchair but Emma stuck to her guns and explained that this was not what she wanted as she did not think it was suitable. A small wheelchair was then brought in for her to try and the difference was amazing. Jess sat in it quite happily, able to look at her surroundings. She no longer slouched back. A few modifications would have to be made to suite Jess’s height and width and also small wheels fitted as she would not be propelling herself but the technician agreed that this was going to be the best for her and said that they would give us a call once the modifications had been made. Emma & I were really excited about it. This seemed to take the wheelchair technician a bit by surprise as he said that some people did not like their children to be in wheelchairs as they had a bit of a stigma attached to them.
Surprisingly we have had a few people who upon hearing about Jess’s wheelchair have assumed that we had given up on her being able to walk. Had we used the term pushchair then I doubt we would have got this reaction. Giving up is NOT an option as far as this family is concerned.
It would appear then that nothing heralds your arrival into the world of disability than that of a wheelchair. It is a nationally recognised symbol for disabled and yet there are a lot of disabled people who are not wheelchair users but we do not see signs portraying crutches or a stick.
I heard a story recently about someone whose child, like Jessica qualified for a blue badge. This child was able to sit comfortably in a pushchair. The Mother had parked in a marked disabled bay and had correctly displayed the blue badge as required, but then had to suffer insults from a couple going past who saw the child in a pushchair and assumed that the badge was being misused. They knew nothing of this child’s medical history or the fact that vital equipment had to be carried around; the child was prone to fits and had sometimes to be resuscitated. No, they just saw the child in a pushchair so therefore he could not be the badge holder. The Mother later remarked that she sometimes wished that her child was in a wheelchair because then people might treat her better and take her son’s condition seriously.
It’s funny but since using the wheelchair we have noticed that some people do behave differently when they see it. For a start whilst going around a busy shopping centre recently we noticed that people stood to one side to allow us to get through the crowded shops, something that hardly happened when pushing the buggy. When using the lifts people were far more considerate of the wheelchair coming on and would make room or even give up their place in the queue, again something that would not happen very often when Jess was in the buggy. I think for me though the best thing was how many people paused a second to smile at Jess whilst passing or even say hello to her if we were in a shop. The reason for that I think was due to the fact that at last she was at a level where she could see people and her surroundings and she responded by giving everyone a beaming smile.
Staying on the subject of wheels Jess gave her Mummy a wonderful Birthday present last week by pushing for the first time her baby walker. We had been trying to get her to push it for a while but she just did not like it when it started to move forwards. On the off chance I put her in front of it and you can see the results. Her Mummy was thrilled and so was I.
Now last year Hubby made Jess a truck/walker that was specifically designed so that it would not tip up or run away with her as the wheels were adjustable. It was also the right height for her. Although she would stand in front of it and clearly liked it, so far she had not shown any inclination to push it and walk by herself. Today Jess (as usual) took me completely by surprise and pulled herself up in front of the truck and then without any hesitation started to push it towards me laughing all the way! I grabbed my pocket camcorder, which I always have with me for moments just like this and hoped that she would oblige by doing it again. You can see the result for yourself.
Because I am a Nanny that is never satisfied I then decided to stretch Jess’s new found confidence a bit more. We have used walking reigns on her before but she has never actually walked with them as such, they just stopped her from falling over when she was learning to stand. I now thought it was time to try again. Excuse the dodgy singing but this is what comes of helping out at an SEN nursery where conductive education is used...'we know a song about that Billy'.
My other Daughter gets married in August and Jess, along with her Sister Natalie are to be two of the Bridesmaids. Jess walking down the aisle has always been something we have dreamt about but now it is starting to become a possibility. Watch this space!!