This past weekend my husband and I got into a bit of a disagreement. Bug was invited to a sleepover birthday party, and they decided the night before that they wanted to take the girls bowling as well. Obviously, this was not a good choice for her, as holding a bowling ball is 1) Too heavy and 2) Not good for her fingers 3) I'm not even sure the splints would fit in a ball without getting stuck! So, I called the Mom and told her I wasn't sure Bug would attend that part of the party and that maybe she could meet the girls after. She was okay with that but said she was welcome if she wanted to sit and visit with the other kids. I told her I'd leave it up to my daughter.
I asked my daughter and to my surprise she wanted to just sit and visit and be a part of the group even though she couldn't participate. As an adult, I couldn't see the fun in that and thought surely it would be upsetting, but she was fine with it. I decided that it was her choice, and to let her attend and watch. Well, my husband was not too happy with that, and thought it was a very bad idea, sure that it would be upsetting to her and a bad experience. I told him that I felt strongly that it was Bug's choice, and that she would have to make choices like this her whole life. It's up to her if she wants to miss out or if she wants to participate the best she can, even if it's just watching. We can't make that choice for her, and the sooner she gets used to making it the better. I feel like if she can find a way to make things work for her and accept her differences now it will be much easier as she grows up more. We shouldn't push our issues on her - if it doesn't depress or upset her then we should be happy for her. He gave in, and Bug went bowling.
I wondered how it would go during the 2 hours they were supposed to be out. I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was a bit nervous that she would decide it was upsetting and feel left out. So, I was shocked when I got a phone call from her all excited (almost to the point where I couldn't understand her) telling me she had gone bowling. I said "you what?" sure I had heard wrong, dread filling my chest. "I went Bowling" she happily replied. "I got to bowl the ball and everything!" She went on to tell me "they had a machine that rolled the ball for me so that I didn't have to hold the ball at all!!!"
She had a *wonderful* time - and we looked up online what she used to bowl. Apparently there is this assistive device that allows people who can't hold a bowling ball to bowl, and this particular bowling alley had one. I had no idea such a thing existed, I have never heard of it nor had my friend whose daughter had the party. If we hadn't let Bug make her own choice about attending the bowling part of the party she would have missed a lot of fun, we wouldn't have learned about this tool, and we wouldn't have opened this new door!
My point is this. We cannot stop living because of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. We shouldn't stop our children from living either. Nor should we dump our own personal issues and hang-ups on to them. Just because I wouldn't be comfortable at a party where I couldn't do the main activity doesn't mean my daughter wouldn't love it. :) Sometimes it's hard to step back and allow her to make those choices, knowing she just as easily could have gone and come home feeling sad. But, if you don't allow the choice, you never know what the outcome would have been. You also don't know what you might learn.
Once again it was someone who wasn't a Dr, wasn't a teacher, wasn't anything but a friend who taught us a unique way to do an activity that normally one with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome shouldn't be doing. There have been so many people like this who have touched and enriched my daughter's life, and I'm sure there will be many more. If you take the time to look around you, I suspect you will find people like this in your life too!
If you are interested in what Bug used to bowl, it is called a bowling ball ramp and looks similar to the picture on the right. The picture is from Access to Recreation and you can purchase this at their website by clicking here.
Obviously you will want to lift the ball for your child, as it does still need to get onto the ramp. :) But they can still feel like they are doing the bowling and aiming the ball themselves, which is awesome!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
adaptive ways to do activities