Most teenagers are working hard at fitting in. They are searching for some sense of being “normal.” Too tall, too short, too thin, too anything you can imagine. Any of these seemingly regular characteristics can create a sense of being unusual in these formative years. Imagine the challenges of living in a wheelchair. Your Teen asked Ashley Spicer, a teenage girl with Spina Bifida, to share her challenges as a teenager with a disability.
My Disability Experience: I Have Spina Bifida
My name is Ashley Spicer, and I am 14 years old. I have a mom, sister, and three dogs. I am a student at Vermilion High School.
I am a regular teenager just like everyone else, except I have Spina Bifida.
I get along with everyone, and I have a lot of friends I can count on to be there for me. I can do everything that other people can do, just in a different way.
Sometimes, I have trouble because of my wheelchair. I hate being in a wheelchair, mostly when it keeps me from hanging out with my friends. When I make plans with my friends, I have to think about whether I can get in. Most of their homes have stairs, and many fun places don’t have ramps for my wheelchair. Restrooms can be hard because I go to the restroom a different way than other people do. And transportation is also hard. I have to have a car with a ramp on it, and they are hard to find.
I have had many surgeries. Doctors put these metal rods in my back to keep my back straight. One time, the metal rods broke, so I needed another surgery to put them back together. Every time my back hurts, I am afraid that I will need another surgery.