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Thread: Kids Think Wheelchairs Are Freaking Cool

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  1. #1

    Kids Think Wheelchairs Are Freaking Cool

    Wrote a post on my website, Quadomated, that I thought might strike home with many of you.

    Kids Think Wheelchairs Are Freaking Cool

    Couldn’t decide what to name this post… “How Parents Make Their Kids Scared of People in Wheelchairs” or “Kids Think Wheelchairs Are Freaking Cool!”. Since I always try to take the positive road I figured I’d go with the latter even though the first title would probably be the best way to describe this behavior.

    Let me start by painting a picture of what happens to me at least 95% of the time when a young kid is checking out my wheels. Little kid is walking through the aisle of some random store (let’s say Armani since I’m a highroller and it seems the uppity parents are the worse about this) and the little guy spots my wheelchair and his eyes instantly light up. I can read it across his face… “Holy crap! That dude is riding around the store in a frikken racecar.” Little kid is so amazed he actually starts smiling, laughing, pointing across the store, and walking over to meet this supercool guy in a race car. Two seconds later the self-conscience mommy/daddy reaches down, grabs the little buggers arm, and whips him away, across the store, avoiding eye contact the entire time and muttering sorry underneath their breath.

    SORRY YOU FRIKKEN SHOULD BE! Not only are you depriving your little one from like the coolest thing in the world (yeah… someone so awesome they can actually drive a race car inside!!!) you’re also reinforcing a deep rooted fear and uneasiness for people in wheelchairs/with disabilities. I mean think about it… What is so dang wrong with the cute little kid smiling/laughing/acting curious about something there little minds are trying to figure out? They’re probably thinking about how they got in trouble the last time they ran their motor buggy inside, and how much bigger and cooler that guy’s motor buggy is. They might even want to beep the horn or crawl underneath it to check out shocks/wheels. BIG FREAKING DEAL! Even better, they might ask a question that you were all wondering and you could both grow, become better kiddies/people, and more comfortable/accepting of people in wheelchairs from this little encounter.

    NOW THAT WOULD BE COOL! Wait, there’s an idea, let’s reinforce acceptance with our children when they’re so young and impressionable by showing them that curiosity and people in wheelchairs are an okay thing!

    As another picture, and to end this on a positive note, let me explain a time when the parents and their little kid did it so totally right. I can remember it just like it was yesterday, even though it happened over 5 years ago, because it touched my heart so closely. It was way back during the early times, when I was still at Craig Hospital recovering from this crazy injury, and on a field trip to watch a Colorado Rockies game. You see, this was a fragile time in my life when the injury was still new and I wasn’t yet comfortable in my own skin/with this disability. We were walking through the concession area and as you could imagine many people were staring. I can’t say that I exactly blame them because I still looked like a hot mess, but it wasn’t the easiest thing and I was starting to feel down about the people that were staring and the ones that kept jerking their kids away. It wasn’t until midway through the game that I was rolling around to catch some air, get a change of scenery (i.e. check out the hot ladies) that I had this truly wonderful encounter.

    I see this little 3-4-year-old waddling next to his parents really checking out the dude in a wheelchair. He looked up at his mom and asked her, “Mommy, why is that guy in that funny chair?”. And instead of jerking her kid away or telling him not to stare she said, “Why don’t you go over and ask him?” And the little guy walked right directly over to me and said, “What happened to you… Why are you in that chair?” And he and his parents looked at me and really wanted to know, and treated me just like I was any other human they wanted to ask a question. And one question led to many more, and we talked for several minutes. It was really an amazing, refreshing thing and I have no doubt that this little boy will be a wonderful, accepting, compassionate person towards people in wheelchairs for the rest of his life.

    Moral of the story… It’s okay to be curious, it’s okay to wonder what happened, it’s even okay if your little kid doesn’t know how to contain his curiosity. Just don’t be the parent that rips your away and makes them scared of people in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives.

    Oh, one more thing… If you’re curious, just ask!
    I am the Quad in Quadomated. Come read about Life and Technology through the Eyes of a Quad

  2. #2
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    Awesome post!

  3. #3
    Senior Member IsMaisin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Just outside Fort Bragg, NC USA
    Great post, it is funny how everyone is afraid to ask about the chair, but if you have a service dog lots of people will come up and ask.
    Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Florida Keys
    Most people have one arm that is longer than the other. This is the result of parents dragging them by the arm away from speaking with people with disabilities.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Rochester, NY
    lol!! i put lights on my wheels in winter as i'm often knocked into by the deaf kids on campus when they dont pay attention while signing. so i was in wegmans and this toddler, had to have been about a year old, was in the cart watching me. as i got closer his eyes got bigger and his smile grew and he kept leaning back as if he couldnt handle the joy of BIG WHEELS WITH LIGHTS. he leaned back so far that he toppled over and his mom(who was looking at stuff on the shelf) noticed what he was staring at and she smiled and said "she has big wheels, huh? you love big wheels!" and she kissed him and went on with her shopping.

    another time i was at the mall with my friend eating lunch. i felt my chair move all of a sudden and i look down to see two small hands and two BIG blue eyes staring up at me and this smile of sheer joy. the mom came and said "oh wow! you found a really big wheel, huh?" and apologized and said he was totally into wheels. i said no problem and that her child was adorable she pulled her kid away and was saying "lets go find some more wheels!" but the poor kid was soooo forlorn to be taken away from the jackpot of big wheels lol
    "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"

  6. #6
    When my niece, and nephew were 3 & 5. They were both very fascinated with my wheelchairs. In fact they often fought over with each other who was going to ride on my lap, or whose turn it was to ride on my lap. My brother and sister-in-law would never pull them away from my wheelchairs when they were looking at them because they knew that they were curious about them. When I got my power chair. My niece and nephew loved pushing the horn button. Sometimes it was too much for me to handle with the noise. But, I would always smile when I watched them having fun with the horn button. One thing I never would let them do was operate the controller.

    I knew that would result in a crash, or taking out a section of my mom's wall in her house.

    I love how little kids are very curious about wheelchairs. And I am always willing to show them how a wheelchair works.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    silver state
    Good post. I think parents are getting better. Since disabled kids are usually in the same class as the regular student, so parents are interacting with disabled kids and their parents. My nephew is in a class with a few disabled kids, he plays with a little girl with down syndrome. Where there is inclusion I think there is less fear and ignorance.
    A dolla makes me holla, honey boo boo! - borrowed from Honey boo boo child

  8. #8
    Great story! Lmao, Foolish Old!

  9. #9
    Great story, Chassmain!

    I love it when parents give their kids the opportunity to approach and talk about the wheelchair, mono ski, handcycle etc.
    Adaptive Sports
    Non-commercial adaptive sports user community

  10. #10
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Florida Keys

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

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