12 Things Every Girl With A Disability Needs To Hear
Health and Wellness

12 Things Every Girl With A Disability Needs To Hear

Advice for every little girl who gets around a little differently, from a high school senior in a wheelchair.

70
Emily Gellatly

The phases of growing up in today's society can be daunting for any girl to find her way through. Add in paralysis, a wheelchair, a full-body brace, and a bunch of medical conditions that seemingly nobody else has, and you have yourself the perfect recipe for a particularly tricky childhood and adolescence. I would know because I was born with spina bifida, and therefore all of those descriptions apply to me. There are many things that I wish every girl with a disability could hear. This is a list of the dozen that I feel are of paramount importance.

1.) Confidence is key!

This sounds kind of clichéd because it's so simple, but it's extremely important! If you are confident in yourself, it will attract positive energy. In middle school I was very self-conscious, but as I became more confident in myself and outgoing I explored my interests and found my niche.

2.) You can be ATHLETIC.

I used to think that adaptive sports were "weird" or "uncool," but wheelchair racing has opened up so many doors for me! I love being part of the track team! It's allowed me to make new friendships with my classmates and with other adaptive athletes. You should try a sport!

3.) You are beautiful. You can be a beauty queen!


Glamour isn't reserved for girls who can walk. You can rock an evening gown sitting down!

4.) Real friends are proud to be your friend.

These friends truly accept you and include you in activities automatically. If a restaurant isn't accessible, they will either go somewhere else or carry you in! Plus, when you have friends who appreciate you — wheelchair and all — some pretty epic Halloween costumes will happen!

5.) If you've got it, flaunt it!

That running blade is pretty badass if you ask me, and if you want a neon green wheelchair and zebra leg braces with neon pink crutches, go for it! What makes you unique is what makes you beautiful! Dr. Seuss was right when he said, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!"

6.) Make friends with other people who have disabilities.

There's something incredibly powerful about the words "I understand" and "I know exactly what you're talking about." When I was little, I thought it was important to only hang out with "normal" kids (what even is "normal" anyway?), but there's something super empowering about strutting/wheeling into Steak n' Shake in your wheelchair with your amputee BFF by your side!

7.) Stand up for yourself! Speak out!

If you don't like the way a teacher treats you or if you see an opportunity to educate someone on your disability, do it! It's not weird. It's not uncool. It's certainly not disrespectful. It's necessary. Shout it from the rooftops!

8.) Your goals ARE realistic!

Don't EVER let someone try to convince you that your goals are unrealistic. Don't ever apologize for your aspirations or change what you say you want to be based upon how you think the person you're talking to will react. I am a 4'6" tall girl with spina bifida and I want to be a surgeon. The first female chairman of a neurosurgery department in the U.S. is an incredible woman with spina bifida.

9.) You will find your niche.

Everyone goes through an awkward stage. For me that was in middle school. As I prepare to begin my senior year next week, I can honestly say that I've found a solid group of friends who truly appreciate me.

10.) Have a good sense of humor and be creative!

Joke about it! The inside jokes and photo opportunities that stem from an amputation, paralysis, or having a service dog with you everywhere you go are endless and hilarious.

11.) You are brave, but you can be mad.

It's likely that you are often called brave, courageous, inspirational, etc., but you're a human girl. You can be all of these things and have bad days. It's okay to be mad sometimes. It's not fair that you need to use a wheelchair, walk with crutches, or wear an uncomfortable prosthetic leg. Nobody is always in a positive mood. It's okay to feel like nobody understands what you're going through. You're in a unique situation. You can be a strong and beautiful force of nature who throws the occasional tantrum.

12. You're adaptive!

You'll be okay! It may seem like your disability complicates every milestone and phase of growing up. In some ways it does. You'll find a great group of friends. You'll survive high school even if it won't be the greatest four years of your life. You'll pave your own path toward your dreams. You'll figure it out. You've got this, girl! Go and obliterate that glass ceiling!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
HBO Max

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.

Odyssey

No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been couped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A California ER Doctor About COVID-19, And Y'all, Our Healthcare Workers Know What's Up

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments