This year, just one day into class, Hayden got to teach the kids what makes him unique and what makes him just like everyone else in 4th grade.
Show and Tell
While he as been in the same school since Kindergarten, many kids still do not know Hayden and why he is in a wheelchair. I have always felt that the sooner we do the show and tell, the less nervous kids are about the differences and they come to an understanding that helps ease any of their fears or anxiety about having him in their class.
Hayden gets to have everyone touch his g-tube, extensions, braces and all his medical equipment.
Hayden loves many activities, he loves to ride horses at hippotherapy, he loves to ride the school bus, basketball, football, to race his wheelchair, play ice hockey, to go swimming, go surfing, to play t-ball, kickball, go to camp, play swords, rock climb, fly airplanes, ride in police cars, and go to friend’s birthday parties and play dates.
At the end of the presentation, one sweet girl raised her hand and said, Hayden, will you come to my birthday party...
Lastly, we opened up to Q&A and had many questions. Some of my favorite highlights ever:
- What is your favorite food? chocolate anything...
- Do you have a wheelchair that can get wet? his powerchair can't but we can get one at Morgan's Wonderland and every kid should go there
- Do you have to take a shower? yes, just like all of you, he has to take a shower or a bath too, wether he like it or not
- What do you like most about your disability? We answered all the special things you get to do and Hayden said his shunt....but the true answer is having unique opportunities of meeting some of the most talented, selfless, generous, caring, service oriented, devoted, faithful, kind, all around best people humanity has to offer. We are a part of a group in society rarely anyone ever wants to be a part of, yet as we embrace it, we have found it to be the most inclusive place and are grateful to call it our "Tribe".
We wanted to give a handout for the kids to take back to their parents for discussion so here is what we attached:
This is what I learned about my friend Hayden Trigg with Spina Bifida:
What is Spina Bifida?
It is when you are born with part of your skeleton, your spine not fully forming causing lots of problems and lots of surgeries.
Things that make Hayden unique:
- He has freckles and spiky hair
- He has been on TV many times
- He has a tree house from Make-A-Wish
- He was the poster child for Seton Hospitals for 5 years and Dell when it opened
- He has had 24 surgeries
- Hayden has lots of things to help him get around (wheelchairs, walkers, standers, AFOs).
- Hayden uses a tube that feeds his belly and he has a tube in his brain.
Things that make Hayden like Me:
- He has a little brother
- He has a big sister
- He plays t-ball
- He likes bowling
- He likes basketball
- He likes flag football
- He likes swimming
- He likes air hockey
- His favorite food is chocolate
- He loves ice cream and McDonald’s milk shakes
The only true disability is a bad attitude. We are all differently-abled.
This is a great article should you find the time to read it:
“As you sit down to discuss topics like manners, school etiquette and homework policies, please add disability awareness and being open to friendships with children who have disabilities…Children learn by example, and they are always observing what their parents are doing. Too often as I am out and about, parents yell at their child for being too close to my wheelchair or acting as if I’m going to run over their child. No one in a wheelchair purposely sets out to run down children. These behaviors teach children that people who use wheelchairs are to be alone and avoided. It says that people who use wheelchairs are scary. Please stop doing this. If your child is in our way, we will go around them like anyone else. Let them talk and ask people with disabilities questions. Show them it’s completely normal to interact with someone who has a disability.”