Personal Experience: How Other People See Prosthetics

Marina

Some people think that I get “special privileges” for being physically disabled.

Back in high school, several exemplary students were chosen and given the opportunity to meet with UC advisors. These students were told that they were on the right track to go to a UC. There was one parent who went and complained to the principle. Her son was not chosen. That parent specifically referred to me and said that I was chosen simply because of my disability. The principle had to defend me and tell the parent that I was chosen because I had all of the qualifications.

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Misconception: Physically disabled people are also intellectually disabled.

When I was in preschool, I was automatically put into special education classes. However, after the first year, they removed me and placed me into a regular class.

The smallest compliments mean the most to me, allow me to feel more comfortable around others in public, and encourage me to inspire others.

One time I was at a water theme park. I went without my prosthetic legs on, so I was much shorter. A lot of people stared at me. However, one person approached me and told me that she is proud of me for going out in public like that. She said that one of her relatives is disabled and is too embarassed to leave the house.

There was another time where I was walking at the beach without my prosthetic legs. An older man approached me and complimented me for being an amputee in public, and also informed me that he was a veteran.

 

I got new prosthetic legs recently, so I am using crutches and the legs are not yet cosmetically covered. I am currently a gym member at CSUN. A couple of months ago, a guy approached me as I was working out. He told me that he had been seeing me a lot at the gym recently. He told me that I am truly his inspiration and motivation.

marina5

Staring at me for a long period of time makes me uncomfortable. The reason I learned to be comfortable with who I am no matter what is because I had the best support system growing up: my mom and dad.

Ever since I was a young child, I have been stared at. Until now, I still sometimes get stared at. It bothers me sometimes, but I learn to ignore it for the most part. The reason I learned to ignore it is because of my mom. I owe her the credit. When I was younger, she would always ask people why they are staring. This would make them stop. She would also always remind me that I am not different, and that I am just special.

Personally, I prefer that people would just ask me what my disability is rather than stare. However, this depends on the individual. Some disabled people are not comfortable with being asked questions.

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. One of the first times I went out after my amputation, there were some older guys sitting nearby who were finishing up their coffees. I thought one of them was staring, as he seemed to be looking directly at me. When he and his buddies got up to leave I realized “He isn’t staring, he is blind!” Had I said anything, it would have just been embarrassing for everybody. If I see a child “staring” I will engage them. They’re just curious. Usually that’s what most people are, curious. You can often tell. Some people will be rude, some will try and give you advice even though they don’t have a clue, and some people really get it and are genuinely understanding or have really useful information based on experience. Few will remember us once the moment has passed.

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  2. I have been an amputee for over 22 years. Don’t have a cover on it and wear shorts all summer. Kids are the ones I adore because they come right out and ask why I have a bionic leg . It was a result of a motorcycle accident. I prefer they ask instead of stare but not going to hide it. It is a part of me and as far as I can tell no chance of it growing back

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