I know there aren't many of us here, but I'd like to start a thread about what it is like growing up with SCI. For me, it was hard. REALLY hard. I know there are people who are raising a kid with SCI who will read this. Perhaps those of us who have lived it can help.

First of all, I was 8 when I became a t4/5 para. Prior to my injury, I was a very shy kid and I didn't have many friends. After my accident, I was Miss Popular. Despite my popularity, I sat inside and cried while my friends ran around during recess. Sometimes I did go outside with them, but it was even harder to be out there hearing their screams of delight and laughter while they they got dizzy on the merry-go-round or played tag. My school purchased a spare wheelchair, and they forced me to race my classmates, even though I protested vehemently. Everyone seemed to think THEY knew what was best for me. In 6th grade, all the girls got to be a cheerleader for at least one basketball game. All the girls except me. When I entered the 7th grade, my popularity when down the toilet. Suddenly, no one liked me. I was just too different. My former friends ignored me or made fun of me. I went from being the most popular girl in school to NO friends. By the 10th grade, people started to take an interest in being my friend, but by then my self-esteem was nothing, and I couldn't even make eye contact with anyone.

There's so much more, but these are my initial thoughts. I'm not complaining or whining. I'm just hoping that this information, and hopefully more from others, can help someone who is raising a kid with SCI. I think that today's society is different from when I grew up - like adults listen to kids more - but some things don't change. I also realize that some of what I went through was because of my personality. Looking back, I can think of two things that I think would have made a big difference in my life. First, I wish the adults in my life listened to what I needed and wanted, not what they thought I needed. Second, maybe something like a companion dog would have helped. I think a dog would have given me companionship, some confidence, and something for my peers to think was *cool* about me.

Hope others have things to add.
Shannon