Even though I promote spinal cord injury awareness each day while living with a disability and share my experiences weekly on my blog, September is when our country recognizes National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
The Trident Chapter, our local support group, celebrated National Spinal Cord Injury Month by inviting Ms. Wheelchair South Carolina, Julia Rodes, to speak at our meeting last week. She shared her perspective of how she meets new people and makes them feel more comfortable when talking with people with spinal cord injuries.
Julia is a recent USC graduate who uses a manual wheelchair as a mode of transportation. She never hesitated to ask someone to help her get across campus or find the accessible entrance to a building when needed. Julia’s outgoing personality allows her to be an advocate for herself and others with spinal cord injuries in the state.
My approach to making people feel at ease around me is similar to Julia’s. I enjoy meeting new people and sharing my story with them. When I feel comfortable when talking with someone, then they will feel the same.
My mom often reminds me that when I was younger, I used to say that “there are walking children and there are wheelchair children.” We are all the same; we just have different modes of mobility!