Friday, June 13, 2008

Para-dig-um (Paradigm)

There was a little boy at the physical therapy clinic today who had a broken finger. His grandmother was telling us how it happened.

I'll call the little boy Sam.

Sam is in the fist grade and has cerebral palsy. He needs a wheelchair or walker to get around. He's sweet and adorable, and communicates pretty well. Like a lot of CP kids, he's pretty small and his grandmother will often just hold him to go into places.

Two days ago she needed to go visit someone in the hospital. On the way out she stopped by some vending machines to get a drink. She placed Sam in the best chair for him--a high-backed chair with arms that was marked, "volunteer." She figured it wasn't a big deal since she was just buying a coke.

Well, the "volunteer" came over, chatted with Sam and then asked to have her chair back. Grandmother calls out, "I'll be over in a second to get him." I guess the volunteer didn't understand the situation because she reached out, grabbed Sam's hand and gave a good yank to "help" him out of the chair. Sam went crashing to the floor head first and broke a finger in the process.

Perhaps the role of volunteers is to create more hospital patients? Kidding!

I guess I'm just completely surprised that this person didn't realize that this child was disabled. When I saw him he had decent head control, but not great. He lowers his head from time to time. He has DAFO's on his feet. I can't believe she didn't notice any of these things.

Either way, I bet she's a lot less likely to make assumptions.