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Thread: Giving a speech on Tuesday to 1st graders about accepting people with disabilities

  1. #1

    Giving a speech on Tuesday to 1st graders about accepting people with disabilities

    Not sure what I'm going to say yet, I've gotta keep it simple, funny and entertaining for them. Gonna try to keep it really light as I'm sure at that age their attention span is not very great. Going to talk about how we are all just people and basically the same only instead of getting around on legs I get around on wheels. It should be interesting this is the same school I went to 52 years ago in a little town called Weston where I grew up. A friend of mine has children there in school.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  2. #2
    I wouldn't know how to start except kids are very inquisitive. Who picked the topic?
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    Curt, I do this a couple of times a year in the nearby elementary school. Occasionally one of the kids will start talking about a grandparent or someone they knew who used a wheelchair and was sick or may have been in a nursing home or even died. I usually respond by simply pointing out that people cannot walk for a lot of different reasons and need a wheelchair to get around and go from there. A friend of mine also does this on a regular basis. He wears a T-shirt that has "Just say hi" written on the front. He begins by talking about people who do not say anything to us because they think we are different. Overall this is a lot of fun and you get to debunk all the miss info they have received, often from their parents.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
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  4. #4
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I always thought that it isn't enough just to have a kid sit in a wheelchair - gotta duct tape their legs so they get the real deal. I always tell young kids to eat all of their veggies and drink their milk or they'll end up like me. lol

    I think that taking a frayed electrical cord would be a good visual aid to discuss 'how the power has been shut off.'

    Good luck! You're a great example who has done everything!
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  5. #5
    I went to schools for over thirty years with a demo team and was also a substitute teacher at our local primary and elementary school. For me, it was all about PMA- Positive Mental Attitude and personal responsibility. PMA became our secret code that continued into their high school years and beyond. I have gray haired people rolling down their car windows and shouting out "PMA Mr. Madsen" as I ride my handcycle on the country roads. Still makes me smile hearing it.

    PMA was the greeting we said to each otherin the morning meaning "I hope you do the best you can do today" PMA also meant taking personal responsibility for ones action. It made the day a lot easier if discipline was needed in any way.

    For you Curt, I would start by asking them if they see any difference with you and them. What that meant etc. Talk a bit about your accident and why you can't walk etc. There's always the blackboard, well whiteboard now a days lol. Talk about the similar things you have in common with them; riding bikes, tennis etc. Ask for questions. Be mindful they will want to talk so keep them on task reminding them if it's a question and not a story. Give 'em a high five and a smile. I'm sure you'll get a hug or two.

    It's not what happens to you; it's how you handle it. If you fall down and scrape your knee, it's okay to feel bad but not okay to mean. For me, Behavior was the prime motivator in any talk I did with kids that level. You're going to have a blast Curt. PMA!

  6. #6
    Thanks for the great advice everyone, my friend is taking me to lunch at the Weston Country Club too before which should be fun, my grand parents were members there, my family goes way back in that town. I'm looking forward to it. I just hope I don't get sad after as I always wanted kids of my own, somehow it just never worked out. Too late now I guess. I hope I can say some things that will stick with them to keep them real positive and not feeling sorry for people with disabilities for the rest of their lives. I just have to remember to keep it light as I can tend to be a fairly intense detail orientated type of person.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  7. #7
    I think my friend did who is a administrator at the Schools there is also going to be a man speaking who is a high level quad.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  8. #8
    Last time I did this. I got in the middle of the kids and said "Well, what would you like to know?" I answered every question honestly and as simply as I could. Take your bike. They'd love that.

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