Especially after a major, life-changing surgery like SDR, we face so much pressure (often self-inflicted pressure) to ditch all assistive devices and defy any CP-related limitation. But there’s nothing shameful about using the tools that help you live the kind of life you want to live. If using a wheelchair means that you get to enjoy yourself at an event instead of spending the day exhausted and focusing on staying upright, then by all means use that chair!


I spent so much of my life thinking that assistive devices were a sign of failure and defeat, and I’m finding that couldn’t be further from the truth. For me, using assistive devices when I need them is a sign of courage—a sign that I’m finally learning to listen to my body, to push myself when needed but also to set healthy boundaries. There is nothing—absolutely nothing—wrong with saying to yourself, “I want to have a good time at an event today. I don’t want to think about my balance or my energy or worry about keeping up with my family and friends, so I’ll take my chair.”


SDR was completely life-changing for me. After SDR, I used a wheelchair while out at Disney with my friends. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive. My friends and I had the best time together—partially because I honored my limitations and took measures to preserve my energy and ensure my safety. Similarly, I love to go on long walks, and I almost always take my hiking pole for them. I’ve found that these adventures are much more fun (and feasible!) when I have the support I need.


PSA: You are not inadequate because you use assistive devices when you need them. You are adapting, setting healthy boundaries, and choosing the tools you need within a given context to maximize your potential.