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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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STARTING SCHOOL

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MY DAUGHTER LOST HER LEG TO CANCER LAST JULY, AND IS NOW WALKING WITH A PROST. SHE WAS TO START KINDERGARDEN, BUT WE HELD OUT FOR HEALTH REASONS. SHE WILL START FIRST GRADE NEXT FALL. MY QUESTION IS DO WE LET ALL THE KIDS KNOW THIS IS HOW SHE IS FROM THE START OR DO WE NOT MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT, AND JUST LET THINGS HAPPEN?

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Hi Heathern

I wouldn't make a big issue out of it, but I would speak to her teacher and see if they can help by ensuring they have some appropriate toys and books in their classroom. If they haven't any appropriate resources, here are a few links to books and toys they may find useful:

Lets Go! Books with Positive Images - Children & Young People with Mobility Difficulties

Amputeddy

Ethnic Dolls and Disability Accessories

Amputee Dolls

You could also ask her teacher what she would do if a child started to 'pick on' your daughter - they've probably got strategies in place, but if not, asking the question will make them think of them.

Take care

Lizzie :)

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If I had been able to add anything here, it would have been exactly what Lizzie said. That sounds to me like excellent advice.

I do hope your daughter settles in well at school, and makes lots of new friends, who accept her as just another classmate.

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Hi Heather. I had my foot removed (good word that :lol: ) when I was 5 and just starting school. Everyone lknew about it and it made me a celebraty for a while. Treat it as normal and so will the others.

Best of luck I hope it goes well.

Cat

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Hi, i cannot add anymore than what has already been said. Kids do have a natural ability to accept easily.

Your daughter will have loads of fun and make lots of new friends.

Good luck

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All the suggestions so far are great, I think it’s important to be open about the amputation but always focus on the positive. I live in Canada where they have the War amps child amputee program, as part of that program they teach kids how to do presentations to their class about safety and amputation. Perhaps if your daughter is up to it she could explain her leg at “show and tell” Or if there is a group in your area for young amputees perhaps a volunteer could come to the class and the both of them could talk about it. Kids are naturally curious and they are going to stare and ask all sorts of questions. I’m now a Junior councillor with the CHAMP program and some of the things we tell kids is if they see another child staring offer to answer their questions or show them how your leg/arm works. If they are not comfortable with answering questions or don’t have the time, just give the other child a smile. We also suggest families practice answering questions people might ask, as well as how to deal with bullies.

There were a few issues with children being jealous of any extra attention I might get from teachers and the like. I was having a revision almost every year in elementary so the teachers had to make some minor accommodations for me. (And I’ll admit to being a teacher’s pet) I think the hospital sent some one to talk to my class about why I was in hospital so long, but I honestly can’t remember.

As long as she is happy and confident the kids will treat her the same as any one else. She’ll just be the friend with the “ cool leg”

I wish you two all the best in the schooling adventure.

(I don’t know if this will be any use to you but the CHAMP web page is www.waramps.ca They have some other little tidbits about school and child amputees you might find helpful. But I’m sure you’re swamped with information already.)

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I suggest that you don't make a big deal of it but I would suggest you go to school talk to the teacher before the first day of school introduce your daughter to the teacher. I also say have your daughter do a show and tell the first day (you should be there for this to help her). I found out my kids were being picked on by their classmates about your mommy with one leg. So I started going to their schools and giving talks to the classes and it helped the kids to understand. I've had some very positive responses since then from kids that have seen me since the talks and they have thanked me for it. One said it has helped him deal with his mom who might end up loosing her leg. That made me feel good that I had touched someones life in a positive way.

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I found out my kids were being picked on by their classmates about your mommy with one leg. So I started going to their schools and giving talks to the classes and it helped the kids to understand. I've had some very positive responses since then from kids that have seen me since the talks and they have thanked me for it. One said it has helped him deal with his mom who might end up loosing her leg. That made me feel good that I had touched someones life in a positive way.

I think that's wonderful, Brenda! :D

My son had the same problem when he was at Primary School (in the UK) and I offered to do that too, but interestingly enough the teacher (who was a lovely lady) wouldn't accept my offer. Perhaps it was a 'cultural thing'...I don't know...? :wub:

Lizzie :)

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Hi heather, I lost my leg when I was eight. And If I were you I'd make it an issue, just for now. When she gets older she'll learn how to deal with it herself. We had a local athletic amputee put on a speech for the whole school so they could ask questions and understand why I had a prothesis. I was never teased, or talked about behind my back. If kids had questions I'd tell em to ask, better to ask than stare. If the other kids don't understand and there too afraid to ask, they find other ways of dealing with it.

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Guest bearlover

Growing up with a heavy metal brace up to my hip. As a child I know how cruel children can be. Weaing a prosthetic now I also know that children are courious and painfully honest. I'm a TA in a kindergarten class. I woul tell the children that your daughter has a "specila leg that helps her walk" This is what I tell my kindergaten class. Let them ask the questions. And ask the teacher if she is able, to explain what your daughter has. I also have a Ampu Teddy. The teddy bears leg comes off like a prosthetic. And it can explain what a prosthetic is or "specila leg" But kids are cruel. I experienced it most of my school years. And I see it in the school I work. If this happens then you may need to explain to the children as simply as possible why your daughter has a little special leg. That she likes the same things, has a favorite color, likes the same toys ........ But just has a leg that is a little different so she can walk and play. Name calling can lead to insecurity and internal scaring. Trust me!

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