My Primary school years as a young boy were joyous and I looked forward to attending school every day. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and considered myself to be popular amongst my year group. I was also fortunate enough to go to secondary school with the majority of friends that I had already made.
Looking back now, I realise that young people are much more accepting of the person you are. They won’t pre-judge or discriminate against your character, but will simply accept the person you are.
From my primary school days, I am able to retain most memories.
I particularly remember Sports Days. I recall getting worked up and upset before the day of the event at the thought of having to take part in all of the different races in front of all the other children and parents watching.
Every year, I was given the choice whether or not I wanted to take part, and despite the nerves, I always said yes. I believe you should never let your disability get the better of yourself and I believe I still don’t today. I knew I would stand out as being different, but that didn’t matter because I had all of my friends behind me, supporting me. I was told, all I had to do was try my best (despite always coming last)… and for those that know me now, I HATE LOSING!
I remember hearing my friends chant my name, which really spurred me on through the races, despite my struggles. When I crossed the finish line, I would feel an immediate sense of pride and achievement, knowing that I had finished the race, not just from me but from everybody else watching too.
In my opinion, my disability would have been obvious in the way that I held myself. When running, I would clasp my left hand into my right for support, which I believe takes my mind away from what’s physically happening with my leg.
This technique is one I still use today, on a day-to-day basis, as I believe it helps improve my walking. (Pictured below are two examples).
The same scenario of pride and achievement is also relevant at Christmas with the annual school nativity. I remember my year 1 and year 2 teachers, Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Lester were extremely good at making me feel relaxed with the part that I had to play.
I remember one year, I had one small line to say and I would worry about it for days-on-end. Most years, I would be cast as either a reindeer, one of the three wise men or as a shepherd. I never played a pivotal role and definitely didn’t want too!
I have always been scared of what people think about me from a young age. I know at times, individuals will pre-judge if they see me walking on a bad day or they over-hear me stuttering in conversation. At the moment, this knocks my confidence and bothers me. However, in the future, I hope this will disappear.
I strongly think that people do not feel sorry for you, but they will feel a sense of pride for you if you are seen to be trying your best. Hearing my friends supporting me through thick and thin has helped strengthen me to be the person I am today. Therefore, the lesson that should be learned is to try, as hard as it may be, to be proud of yourself and the person you are.