So today we had another first (of sorts). This time it involved her manual wheelchair. Today when I picked her up from school she asked me to remove her armrests because she wanted to propel herself and see how far she could go. Although it was slow going, and she needed to adjust her steering quite often, she made it all the way to the car. What impressed me about this was a couple of things: – 1) her own personal drive and determination to do this (especially at the end of the day. 2) her improved trunk strength which is evident at the moment 3) the confidence she displayed by her desire to even try going down the long ramped walkway to the car park independently as long as I was close by to help if she needed it 4) the hand and arm strength demonstrated to control the speed of the chair on the downward slope 5) the problem-solving ability she used in trying a few different hand positions and methods to control her speed and steering on the downward slope and working out the strategy that seemed to work best for her and that she felt safest with. 6) her determination to see the challenge that she gave herself through to the end and achieve her goal – which she did!
For me, I am glad that I happened to have the time to indulge Mikayla in this impromptu exploration of new-found strength, confidence and skill. It is not always possible!……. and sometimes the demands of life can be so hectic that opportunities such as this can be lost! I am thankful that today I was tuned in so to speak, and could afford the additional half hour that it took to get to the car from the classroom.
I was overjoyed at her effort! Mikayla on the other hand, although she had a smile brimming from ear to ear at making it independently, simply took it in her stride (as she tends to do, downplaying the whole thing and indicating that I am completely over the top). When I asked her what she thought about it, she simply said, “well it was a lot of effort and I feel a bit tired now!”
Does the fact that she decided to give that a go today, and succeeded, mean that this will happen from now on? No. (not at this stage anyway) Does it mean that she knows she “can” do this, and might apply the skills she tried out in some other circumstance? Maybe….. Hopefully!
I’m not sure she if she will want to do it again. That remains to be seen. But, knowing Mikayla, I think she will tuck that little achievement away, and might just pull it out somewhere, sometime when I least expect it most probably!
Who knows the next thing she will set her mind to, what it will be that she wants “to have a go at” …………. But one thing is for sure, I hope, that whenever and whatever it is, I will be in a position to support her in giving it her best….because who knows what might come of it 🙂