Highlighting Our Differences

Highlighting Our Differences

One of my friends that isn’t in the special needs community shared a picture with me of a little girl who has crutches, who’s mom decided to go all out and decorate her crutches for her holiday program at school. She knew I would love it and appreciate it. I immediately begged for the mom’s name and more pictures! What a great idea. And a way to bring fun attention to mobility aides right? Go mom go!

I was able to exchange a few messages with mom, Erica. She told me her daughter was 8 and just starting to become super aware of her crutches and her limitations. She is in the third grade and this year has been particularly hard because she doesn’t want to be different and needing crutches makes her sad. When she walks with her class, she can’t always keep up and Erica thought that the lights would be bright and cheerful as she made her way up to the front during the concert.

She wanted to make them fun for her, and boy did she!

crutches1

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit more about the challenges that Annabelle has faced in her short life. She has Cerebral Palsy, among other things. She was born at 30 weeks with Tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia(TEFEA). Generally speaking, this means that the tube the food goes down when you eat and the tube the air goes down when you breath aren’t connected properly. It requires surgery to repair shortly after birth. (It’s a doozy!) She also had Tetralogy of Fallot which is a congenital heart defect.

Even though she has these challenges she is an adorable little girl who loves to tell stories. Her favorite class is school is P.E. even though she can’t always keep up with her class mates. (Adorable, I die.)

I personally love that my connection to this little girl (and in turn, yours) was because her mom did something did something fun and unique to bring attention to Annabelle’s crutches. So often we are taught to hide our challenges and our perceived weaknesses and Annabelle’s mom chose to bring hers front and center. For a night, Annabelle had a holiday decoration no one else could. She was proud.

I am looking for other ways that parents have dressed up their child’s medical equipment for the holidays, I hope to have enough to share them with you in a future post. Please comment and let me know if you have a picture for me. Leave it to special needs parents to spread holiday cheer in every way we can!

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