As my son gets around in his wheelchair, I can see you looking.
I even catch you glancing at the cool spaceship braces he has on his legs and feet.
I understand your curiosity.
We have all found ourself in a situation where we see something we are not used to seeing, or may have never seen before and want to know more.
But what I would love, is for you to understand why he needs this seat with wheels and the braces.
I would love to be asked the questions, rather than stared at.
I have always been open about Oliver and update his public page whenever possible.
When I would update my personal page about Oliver, my family and friends would enquire about him more and more.
I knew that spina bifida was more than the medical textbooks said and a whole lot better than what research on Google could find for you.
We are all curious human beings and I admire that.
I am my son's voice while he learns to speak for himself.
Some families may not always be so welcome to sharing, but I always invite questions.
Oliver is unable to walk at the moment, and we found that mobility devices such as a customized Bumbo wheelchair or the Scooot 3-in-1 can provide this for him.
What are those braces he has on both his legs and feet?
While we work on building enough strength to bear his own weight, Oliver needs leg support so that his knees or ankles don't buckle under all the weight.
One of Oliver's doctors is actually a teaching doctor, and would occasionally have students in the office shadowing him for a clinic day.
With permission, he would always have them feel Oliver's shunt or show them his back scar and ask them what their thoughts on it was.
To see if they could make the diagnosis based on what they were presented with.
When we are more educated on something, we are less frightened by the “difference”.
My own personal advice for those not quite sure how to present your curiosity without offending, would be to just ask.
Asking about the braces on his feet, to me, is not an offensive question.
It is a simple answer and to what they are, and if I choose, I can share what purpose they serve and why we need them in the first place.
My family and friends are now more aware of things such as leg bracing and mobility devices for Oliver, and have sometimes led me to opportunities I knew nothing about before.
If you ever find yourself standing there and staring, go up and start a conversation!
Families such as mine, are usually eager to share our stories over staring back at you! Lol!
Would you like to be a Firefly Champion?