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What is your response to kids that ask about your chair?

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  • What is your response to kids that ask about your chair?

    I've was injured almost 5 years ago (T6 complete), and every time a small child (say 3-7 yr old) asks me why I'm in a wheelchair (which isn't that often) I go blank, and then fumble my way through an explaination of why my legs don't work that is probably over their heads. I'm hesitant to tell them I broke my back, or got hurt, etc. because I don't want them to think if they ever get injured they aren't going to be able to walk again. So, how do y'all explain it to a kid, on their level (short and sweet)?

  • #2
    "I didn't listen to my mommy."

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    • #3
      I usually say, "I didn't eat all the veggies off my plate."
      "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

      "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

      "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

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      • #4
        "I'm just lazy."

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        • #5
          Veggies and milk ... consume them. lol
          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

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          • #6
            "My legs don't work." I think anything more is too much to understand at that age. Last year I had an experience, the first time ever in 67 years of paralysis and wheelchair use. While shopping, a mother with her small son approached me and she asked if it was ok if she explained the wheelchair to him. She did so very short and to the point while he sweetly looked on. I don't have kids, but love it when parents take the time to explain curious things that a child might be anxious about.

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            • #7
              Since I did have an accident that has caused the eventual use of a chair. I do explain in great detail why I use a Powered chair; not necessarily the accident, unless I am asked. You would not believe just how intelligent, and inquisitive some kids even at an early age are! Talking over their heads, is anathema to me. They know when you are avoiding telling the truth, or BSing them. Be straightforward with them with parental permission of course.

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              • #8
                I am asked all the time from young children. I just say, i was hurt in a construction accident, I fell. I hurt my back and my legs don't work anymore. so I need a wheelchair. Mom or Dad is embarrassed. I say dont worry, kids ask me all the time. we either keep talking or go about our business.

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                • #9
                  Same as lynnifer, Mister why you in the wheelchair. Because I didn't eat my vegetables.

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                  • #10
                    I try to be factual. To be funny or sarcastic is not good with kids.
                    I refuse to tip toe through life, only to arrive safely at death.

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                    • #11
                      Because I do not have an SCI my explanation is different that some others who use chairs. I tell them I can walk but it's hard for me so I use the chair. I haven't had them ask me more details after that. I don't answer questions adults ask unless they are standing across from me in a white coat in the exam room.

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                      • #12
                        Depends on their age. If they are in the still believe in Santa Claus age I say "I was in a car accident and wasn't wearing a seat belt, so remember to always wear your seat belt like your parent's say". If they are above that age I tell them I was texting and driving and to never do that. That one usually elicits the kid(s) looking accusingly at their parents. If they are above 18 I ask them if they have ever heard about auto-erotic asphyxiation.

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                        • #13
                          A kid of about three, explained it to me. He came up and said "Nice stroller mister, I have one when I get too tired to walk." I've passed that wisdom on to any kid or adult that asks.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by t8burst View Post
                            Depends on their age. If they are in the still believe in Santa Claus age I say "I was in a car accident and wasn't wearing a seat belt, so remember to always wear your seat belt like your parent's say". If they are above that age I tell them I was texting and driving and to never do that. That one usually elicits the kid(s) looking accusingly at their parents. If they are above 18 I ask them if they have ever heard about auto-erotic asphyxiation.
                            Jesus Tom, you had me laughing on that one!

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                            • #15
                              I've got a 6 year old and often go to the playground with him, at least i did before i was on bedrest. then there are birthday parties, homeschool co-ops, playdates and so on so often not a day went by when some kid asked me about my chair. it's normal for kids to be curious--they ask questions about everything, like on sesame street "One of these things just isn't the same......"

                              although in my case it was "One of these dads just isn't the same."

                              in my case i tell them that I have an illness where the nerves in my body dont work,so my brain tells my legs to move and they're all like "NO, I don't want to!" that usually makes them laugh

                              I find they usually see that my 6 year old is at ease with the fact that I'm in a wheelchair and they kind of follow suit accordingly. occasionally I have a kid who asks more and more questions. The parents are often humiliated, they apologize for their child's natural curiosity about the world. they'll say things like "Don't bother him" One time, my son was playing with another boy at the library and as soon as the boy started talking to me, and asking questions about my chair his mother just whisked him away and said, I told you not to bother that man, now we're leaving." My son was sad, because he had been having a lot of fun playing with that kid. He has picked up on the fact that people sometimes look away or stare when they are around me.\

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