Oftentimes, when you have a disability others will put limitations on you, telling you, even in a nice way, what you can’t do. My response to that has always been, “You can’t tell me that. “ And then I’m determined to prove them wrong.”I’ll show you!” It’s actually been very motivational for me, and at times, just the nudge I need! The following story illustrates this point, and the power of having a positive perception of yourself.
“Who’s handicapped?,” asked Ellie, with a puzzled look on her face. Her dad, who had just pulled into a disabled parking space, paused for a minute. “Indeed,” he thought, as his heart swelled with love for his young daughter. “Who is handicapped? Certainly not Ellie!”
Ellie is a smart, energetic, 8-year-old girl with a self-assured quiet confidence. She likes to run, ride her bike, swim, and recently perfected her one-handed cartwheel technique. She’s not much different from most girls her age except for one thing – Ellie wears a prosthetic leg.
Children born with a limb deficiency in China are usually placed in an orphanage, and such was the case for Ellie. Fortunately, she was adopted by a loving and caring couple from the U.S., and doesn’t remember her early life in China.
Ellie’s parents don’t treat her differently than they do her siblings. They all have varied interests and are allowed to participate in the activities of their choice. As I mentioned above, Ellie enjoys running and riding her bike. She also loves to do cartwheels – and is very good at them!
Although she certainly knows that she is different than other children, she doesn’t see her limb difference as a handicap. It’s that perception and attitude that lets Ellie be who she is, which is a normal 8-year-old girl. “I’m just me,” is what she would probably say to someone who asks why she is missing a leg. “This is who I am.”
by Karen Hughes, 4/25/2012