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Being in a wheelchair

Dear sam

i have been in a wheelchair since I was 11 because I was knocked by a car and lost both of my legs and have to have someone from the hospital to watch over me at night and at school

this makes people stare even more and it's quite embarrasing when when I have one of my seizures and the ambulance comes because everyone stares out of the windows at me going into the ambulance

how do I stop them staring?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Having a visible disability can mean having to cope with different reactions from people you meet. Most people may not mean to stare or make you feel uncomfortable, but that doesn't change how you feel about it or make it easier. It might help to explain to people what it's like when people stare, so they know how it affects you. Having confidence in yourself and coming to terms with the challenges you face can also help you to overcome them.

Since your car accident I can tell that a lot has changed for you. Losing your legs and needing lots of care is a huge change. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that some very private things are now very public. When we have medical problems we usually get to keep those details personal and deal with them in private. With a disability like yours that choice is taken away from you and people might see you when you are most vulnerable, such as when you have a seizure. Learning to cope with that is just one of the many challenges you're having to face.

​If it's people you see all of the time, like people at school, then it might help to explain what it's like to be disabled and have people stare. Most people will usually want you to feel comfortable so helping them to understand might make it easier. If anyone ever deliberately makes you feel uncomfortable or says things to hurt you then this is bullying and is never okay. If you're ever worried or would like to talk about how you feel, Childline counsellors are always here for you.

Finding a way to cope with the changes to your life and the way things are now is another challenge for you. Learning to accept yourself and the situation you're in is not easy when you may still be recovering from your accident - mentally as well as physically. As time goes on it can get easier to feel confident in yourself but it might take some time. One thing to remember is that you are still you - all the good things that make you the person you are still exist. Your disability doesn't have to be your identity. There's a lot more to who you are than your wheelchair, be sure to show people that - when you're ready to.

I hope this has helped. Well done for being brave enough to send this letter.

Take care,

Sam

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