Forcefully Labelled

School started again, and I was assigned an SNA. SPECIAL NEEDS ASSISTANT?… WHAT?! I was definitely not categorised as someone with special needs. I did not like the fact they used this term; as being assigned one, I felt I was now to be associated with this word.

I got on very well with my assistant however. We gelled nicely. She didn’t treat me as if there was something wrong with me. I had also been introduced to a new gadget; called a Segway earlier that summer. It was my new mode of transport for getting around, as I could now only walk short distances with aid.

The Segway was a great way of attracting attention. It was rare to see one of these gadgets first hand. It was great for catching the boys’ attention, which I enjoyed.

The Segway had its downsides also. It wasn’t able to travel by plane, as the batteries may explode (so I was told). These were the times I’d dread. For the likes of going on holidays, in the airport; I had to use a wheelchair to get through fast. The one mode of transport I detested, I would protest when it was considered. I would cry every time the word had been mentioned, or when I saw a wheelchair being brought towards me. I associated old people with wheelchairs; not 16-year-old children. I didn’t want to be labelled as a helpless person unable to walk around.

Most 16 year olds would worry about spots on their face; or boys/girls. Not about whether or not they would need a wheelchair to get around or whether it would ever be possible for them ever to walk again. I matured far beyond my age through these experiences, I felt more like 16 going on 40 regarding my maturity and all that I had been through, so early on in my life.

It angered me, how young people would worry over the smallest problems in life; and here was me, not complaining, not moaning or whining over an issue that could potentially change my standard of living. I knew I could have had things a lot worse, but all those young teenagers, taking life for granted, thinking their world was over after a minor issue arose in their life.

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