School visit.

So this morning I went to the primary school that both my daughters went to, and I talked ( twice ) in the assembly to the kids from the Upper School and the Lower.  The Head introduced it as a chat about ‘ life in a wheelchair ‘ which was about right.

The kids listened in fascination to the tale of my crash, and the serious injuries i sustained, and my explanation of paralysis and how it affects a person.

The ‘ best bit’ was when, after 5 minutes or so, I turned side on to them and, with a child and an adult teacher  stood next to me ( for height reference ) I took the iBot from low down on 4 wheels to upright balancing on just 2. THAT got a pretty big response…..  and i went from being the same height as the child, to taller than the adult.

I asked if anyone knew anybody in a wheelchair, and a lot of them did, mostly a grandparent. I talked about the fact that people in wheelchairs are still people, but they are often limited to just being sat down…. and how it would be a lovely thing if they were to smile or talk, or ask if they could be of any assistance to someone in a chair.

The older kids asked me quite relevant questions,  though the Lower School questions were a bit more random. I mentioned that dogs seemed to find the iBot quite fascinating, and then got told by at least 10 kids what pets they had…..

One little boy put his hand up and said ‘ My dad got lost at the airport ‘.  I said ‘ was he in a wheelchair ?’  He said ‘ no ‘. I enquiried as to whether he’d been found yet, and was told that he had…

So there you go then…

At the end I once again put the iBot into 2 wheel mode, to leave, but hadn’t realised how little room there was behind me. When it goes from 4 to 2 wheels it kicks back about a foot before going forward a foot again. The thing was that behind me were patio doors…. and i crashed back into them… thankfully (!) they weren’t locked so they sprang open rather than got obliterated by me, which might have been slightly awkward? Even more thankfully, there wasn’t a step down that I’m sure I’d have toppled off backwards, no doubt     spelling the end of the iBot, if not myself as well…

Thanks to Jem and Morwenna for the invite to speak to the children. I think it might be the first of many times that I do this kind of thing. I hope I made a good impression.

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