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Thread: Being the crip in class

  1. #1
    Senior Member Them Bones's Avatar
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    Being the crip in class

    I know a lot of us on this forum are in college. Say what you will about 'we are no different', but it can be pretty frickin wierd to be the kid in the wheelchair. I've been a student at this place for a couple years, so most of the kids in my major are pretty at-ease with me, but there are still those who have that, I don't know, atmosphere. Plus I am a math tutor in my school's math lab. At first there were people who wouldn't ask for my help, but the ones who did seemed to be put at ease very quickly. After a while I guess enough people started to get comfortable around the kid in the chair and I don't feel too out of place anymore. At least not as often.

    A few of us, including the engineering program director took a field trip yesterday to Raytheon. We carpooled and I was a driver. It was pretty cool because when there are just a few guys shooting the shit there is less pressure and all those questions that people have can get asked and answered. They always seem to boil down to driving and sex.

    Then when we get to Raytheon, and we find out they aren't entirely accessible, and a couple of these guys who a year ago barely made eye contact with me, are hoisting me up a flight of stairs, and talking shit about dropping me, in a wierd way, I truly felt included. And that felt good.

    I am very interested in hearing about other's experiences in college or school.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Robynbird569's Avatar
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    I had fears when my daughter, who is in a wheelchair, started school. I was afraid of how the other children would have treated her. I didnt want anyone to pity her, stare at her, or leave her out of things. But I soon found out that the children have welcomed her with open arms. She is in first grade right now and she has many friends. Her best friend goes with my daughter to her swim therapy and helps encourage her. She is constantly invited to parties and play dates. So my fears have been put to rest with her school mates.
    The real problem has been the adults at school. There was an incident where my daughter was asked what happened to her when they were having lunch. My daughter went ahead and shared the story with her friends, and the counselor was very upset by it. She called me and asked me to tell my daughter to not ever tell that story again, she was to make up a lie about what happened. I was totally shocked that she would want me to do that. I just told her that I dont want my daughter to lie and she is not going to be told to lie about it. I dont want her to be confused and then think that she should be ashamed of her situation. I did talk to her when she got home about sharing the accident, but I will not have her lie.
    After that incident I have had problems with how they want to change her para pros involvment with my daughter and what they expect and dont expect from her. It gets to be a headache because they just wont leave anything alone, but by the time I get done with them they are the ones with the headache.
    Since i got her I.P.P. to where I am comfortable, I have not had any problems for a while. I do have "spys" at the school to let me know if they try anything with out my knowledge.
    So, I guess, because of her handicap everyday may be met with a challange of some sort or another, the outcome will depend on how you handle it. I will see to it that she remains strong to make it work for her.

  3. #3
    I think for the most part our feelings of seperation are within our selves. As a society we are taught not to stare, ask or even sometimes interactive with a whole portion of our greater community. It's my belief that the aprehensiveness one might experience is due in part to this upbringing. Chairs and disability are so foreign, scary and filled with uncertainty to the abled-bodied population. It is up to us to break down the cognitive and emotional barriers many people bring with them. Once people realize who you are as a person they generally warm up. Yes, those moments you talk about are awkward but once this passes the feeling of inclusion is there. The key is to stay within yourself, don't get caught up in others karma (that awkward feeling) and put yourself out there. The ones that go out on a limb to get to know you, bonus. The others, OB LA DI OB LA DA. What school are you at?

    On another Note, Contact your U.S. Representative, Richard Neal 2nd district and ask him to co-sponsor the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act (H.R. 1554). You can obtain info on legislation from carecure, google or PM me and I'll give you a summary.

  4. #4
    At first, going back to high school after my SCI, I was petrified. I was sure that I would be left out of so many things. It turned out that High School has been the most awesome thing that could have happened to me post SCI. At fist everyone had the usual questions and apprehensions but it took about 5 minutes for them to get over it. By the end of the first couple months of school 1/2 of the school knew how to get me up & down stairs and break my chair down to put in a car. Not only did people not exclude me, but most of them went out of their way to include me in all of the stupid, fun, crazy things that go on in high school.

    After being back for 2 + years now, everyone pretty much treats me normally; they still all wanna ride on my lap though lol.
    Don't think of yourself as an ugly person, just a beautiful monkey.
    Always remember: if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

  5. #5
    When I was in college I was the first wheelchair user many of my instructors had ever encountered. (Yes, it's been a while.) Some quickly discovered I was no different than any of their other students when it came to learnings. Only one that was a problem was one jerk who kept tripping over me.

    A few quarters after I having one instructor I was approached by him one day and he asked be about working with another handicapped student. He had a guy in his class with cerebral palsy and speech difficulties. A tutor went to class with him to write and take notes so there was really no problem.

    My only really bad experience was my first day using my chair when some total ignorant middle aged females leaving the parking garage at the same time I was said "I think it is so nice they make things so people like that can go to school".

  6. #6
    I was just sixteen, and going back to school was not really that hard. The hardest part was being in public, like a mall or someplace. I felt I was always being stared at. I just kind of opened my eyes one day and realized it wasn't really so. Sure some people look, kids might stare. I look at everyone else, why shouldnt they look at me? Kids are curious, and thats okay too. Took about a year, but I got over it easy enough.
    Rick Brauer or just call me - Mr B

    http://www.riseadventures.org

  7. #7
    Being in a small community made it very easy to go back to school. The accident was quite publisized, so everyone knew who we, Josh and I, were. The high school isn't that wheelchair friendly, but everywhere was we could still get everywhere. And the students were all really good about it. They'd either offer to help or kind of keep to themselves. I'm at our local college now, and nobody acts differently towards me at all. If I need something, I'm not really afraid to ask, and they're all willing to help. They also have a really good service for students with disabilities.

  8. #8
    Senior Member justadildo's Avatar
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    .....robyn, what could be so bad about how your daughter was injured, that they'd want her to lie???......that staff member would have lost their job if it was my last accomplishment in life....as parents the first thing we teach our kids is not to cheat, steal, or LIE....and to tell a 1st grader that "this" you lie about but nothing else is insane....i would have been livid beyond description...that person should'nt even be allowed to work with our children.....

  9. #9
    Senior Member Them Bones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justadildo
    .....robyn, what could be so bad about how your daughter was injured, that they'd want her to lie???......that staff member would have lost their job if it was my last accomplishment in life....as parents the first thing we teach our kids is not to cheat, steal, or LIE....and to tell a 1st grader that "this" you lie about but nothing else is insane....i would have been livid beyond description...that person should'nt even be allowed to work with our children.....
    word!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Them Bones's Avatar
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    So who likes to show off occasionally?

    There was this time when I didn't feel like going to the end of the curb, so I popped a wheelie, held it and rolled off, landing in a wheelie. Probably something 90% of us have all done. I look up and across the street is this kid with a skateboard with his jaw in a pile by his feet. He finally manages to say "Duuuuuude.... that was siiiiiiiiick!"

    Or the other day I didn't feel like waiting for the elevator so I went out the upper exit and rolled down the steep sidewalk to the parking lot. And as you know, the best way to go down steep hills is in a wheelie.

    Sometimes I like stares

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