School Memories

22 Mar

I don’t remember much from when I was a young child, but I do know I enjoyed school. I was a sociable little thing, into singing, acting, dancing, reading, painting, drawing and all things arty.  Capable in all the subjects, but P.E.  I only have vague memories of participating in P.E. lessons, and none of them are great.  Having short and painful legs meant that I couldn’t run and jump about in all the activities we were being asked to do. Mum has also told me about a sports day at preparatory school which I took part in, where I was treated differently and it upset her.  The teacher was no doubt trying to make things easier for me, to ‘give me a fair chance’, but being treated differently isn’t something I wanted, nor something my parents wanted for me.  I was to start the race half way along the track.  This hurt my parents, to see that their daughter was being singled out – her disability being highlighted.  Luckily (perhaps not the best choice of word!) I didn’t take part in a sports day after that year, so there was no more isolation.  The reason for not participating any more, was surgery. Lots of it.

I will explain more about the surgery I had when I was a younger in another post, as I’m trying not to go off track here.

Unfortunately, having surgery at an age where much of school is about socialising was quite difficult, and I suspect would have been even more so if I hadn’t been such a strong minded and determined child.  Luckily for me, I had many friends at school, who were extremely accommodating when I was in a wheelchair, or using a walking aid – they were really helpful, and of course, they got to push a wheelchair around!  However, I do remember feeling a little left out as my class mates played ‘bull dog’ or ‘stuck in the mud’ in the playground, whilst I had to sit and watch from afar in the wheelchair.  It didn’t happen too often though, and I was quite content chatting away to the member of staff on playground duty – so not a terrible experience in all honesty!

An embarrassing school memory I have was shortly after having surgery on both legs.  The embarrassing situation being at break-time, when Mum would come into school to take me to the toilet.  At 7 years old, this isn’t something you want your friends to know about! Your Mum, taking you to the toilet when you’re seven? SEVEN?! haha! This happened again when I was about 10 – even more awkward! I hated it, but had to just get on with it – brush it off when the topic of conversation arose with friends!

All in all though, having periods of time when I attended school in a wheelchair didn’t affect my enjoyment of school too much.  I attended a small, private school, which had some truly excellent staff.  My coat peg was lowered, hand rails fitted for all steps around the school to make it easier for me, there was always an offer of help getting around – and when there were outdoor P.E. lessons, I got to sit in on classes with younger children and help look after them, which suited me just fine!  I am just so pleased my parents took the attitude that they did – that I was going to continue schooling in the way everyone else did , whether I had two legs completely in plaster cast or not!  Being able to continue with life as normally as possible, meant I didn’t think too much about the physical limitations I had and I didn’t really view myself as ‘disabled’, just ‘different’.  I was the really small one in the class, but the small and smiley one! 😀


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