Heartbreaking moment!  

Thursday, 5 February 2009

What do you say to your child when he asks you when he’ll be able to walk?

How do you explain to an eleven year old wheelchair user that he won’t ever be able to play football with his friends or for his favourite club?

Then what do you say when he asks what’s the point in doing all the exercises then?

We’ve just been doing Deion’s physiotherapy exercises, about half an hour into the stretches; Deion asked me when they were going to start working.

I told him they were already working, its these exercises that make it easy for him to sit up straight, to take his weight a little when we transfer him from his wheelchair or equipment, it’s the exercises that make him comfortable, not tight, pain free. I told him the exercises are building his muscles to make him strong, strong so he could stand up and use a walking frame.

Of course, Deion wasn’t impressed; he wanted to know when he was going to be walking by himself.

Certainly a heartbreaking moment.

I wondered for a moment if perhaps we’ve done Deion an injustice, we’ve been so busy telling him that his disability won’t stop him doing anything, we’ve been so busy telling him he can achieve anything he wants; I guess he thought that the exercises were working towards far more than just building enough strength to do standing transfers, to sit up straight and use his left arm a bit more.

I have been told by professionals in the past, that I raise Deion’s hopes too high, but surely, to do any less would be encouraging him to settle.

Of course Deion works hard, and we push him as hard as he allows, he has a special walking frame which he can propel himself around in, he can pull himself to stand for a few seconds holding onto a bar, and if you are holding him up just right, he can take a few shaky steps.

I guess you never know if you’re doing the right thing, its not like there’s a manual that comes with being a parent!

But we teach the kids to be the best they can, and whatever that is, is fine, as long as they don’t sell themselves short. Surely aiming high is the way to go?

So I’ve told Deion that he has to work towards what he wants, if he gets a little closer, a little stronger each day, then who can tell where he will end up?

He is now contemplating what I said, and when he’s ready he’ll want to talk about it.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to say to Deion about all of this when he brings it up again, but I guess I’ll make it up as I go along as usual…because that’s life…and Deion will take it on board and make up his own mind anyway!


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