Hear me!

There are a few rules when you use a wheelchair –safety rules that are important.

  • Always buckle up when you get in.
  • Always lock the brakes before you get out of the chair.

Ok, so I’m thinking there are probably more than just those two, but those are the main ones for Chloe really. And they are the important ones for this blog post.

Recently at church camp, Chloe and I were headed to the cafeteria for dinner. Chloe got in her wheelchair in our room, grabbed her ipad, and was ready to go.

The threshold in our room was not the best example of an accessible threshold, but usually with a handful of tries, I could attempt to finally get enough umph to heft Chloe’s chair over it.

So as we left our room, I gave Chloe’s wheelchair a shove, attempting to clear the threshold. Unfortunately, one of the back wheels got hung up on the threshold bringing the chair to an abrupt and sudden stop. More unfortunately, Chloe , who had forgotten to buckle up, went tumbling forward onto the sidewalk … well, except for her right leg which got stuck on the footplate of her chair. She sorta crashed onto her knee right there on the sidewalk.

Let me assure you that it sounds more dramatic than it actually was. I mean, I can guarantee you that any onlooker who witnessed a child go flying out of a wheelchair would probably be quite concerned, gasp, and feel terrible panic. But in reality it really wasn’t any worse than if a typical kid had tripped on the threshold and skinned her knee. So, really, don’t be overly concerned here ….

Anyway, once we got her foot unstuck, she finished tumbling to the sidewalk. In one quick motion she was on her bottom, grabbed her ipad, and opened an app. It was an app with a collection of social stories. She — quick as lightning– opened up a social story about a boy and scanned to the page she was interested in. She pointed to it, showing it to me.

“I fell down,” the page said. And the picture, sure enough, showed a little boy who had fallen right on his belly in the grass – sprawled there very much like I had just seen Chloe do.

Ahhh, I see. She needed the social story to help her talk about and process what just happened to her. Clever.

She went to the next page, showed it to me, and rubbed her knee. The page said, “I hurt my knee.” Wow. This social story (which, by the way … where did it even come from??) was very much the same situation that Chloe just found herself in. So glad she found a little boy who could relate.

Then she showed me the next page and waited on me to read it out loud. It read, “I feel sad.” Once the words came out of my mouth, she began to wail and shed real-life tears and rub her knee.

She waited to cry until she had said to me, “I fell down. I hurt my knee. I feel sad.”

The tears flowed over her scraped knee and shin. She was really playing it up now. She was able to relate, communicate, be heard, and express her emotion. And now she was just a-blubberin’on the sidewalk.

My girl is fascinating. She amazes me. She’s smart. She’s clever. She’s resourceful.

And she really never misses a beat.

Photo source: http://pearlsofpromiseministries.com
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