Outcomes Offered

■ Adjustment to change

■ Utilization of past abilities

■ Skill acquisition

■ Confidence

Can you imagine what it might be like to begin learning to walk at the age of twelve? Most of us learn to walk when we are so young that we forget how we did it. And Andrew was just like most of us.

He had been in the back seat of his mother's automobile one wet, winter afternoon when another car crashed into them. Andrew screamed with fear at the noise and violence of the collision. His mom's automobile was pushed off the road and onto the sidewalk.

I should point out that Andrew was no wimp. He raced motorbikes competitively and was used to falling and getting injured—but now he really hurt. His mom was hurt, too. It was the most frightening thing that had ever happened to him. He tried to get up to help his mom but he couldn't. He felt helpless and scared. His head hurt and he had pains down his right side.

Fortunately, the hospital tests didn't show any broken bones or anything serious, and the doctor said he could go home. However the pains didn't stop. Andrew found it was getting harder to move. He couldn't hold a cup without its falling from his hand. He didn't have the strength to pull the ring top on a drink can, or hold his pen at school. His legs felt so weak that he kept falling over. Walking became harder and harder, until he could barely walk at all. And he was terrified about getting back in an automobile.

This was not like Andrew. He was a boy's boy. He did martial arts training, rode his BMX bike with friends, and raced his motorbike. The bookcase in his bedroom was covered with trophies he had won. Now he couldn't do any of those things. He sat watching TV, playing X-Box, and feeling unhappy.

When we talked about motorbike riding, his eyes lit up. He rode a dirt bike. Muddy tracks and jumps were his favorites. We talked about what he did when he fell off his bike in a race. How did he get back on his feet? What helped to get back on the bike and finish?

Andrew had to learn to walk again. Maybe you don't remember what it was like when you first learned to walk, but perhaps you can imagine what it feels like for a little kid to get on his feet for the first time. Just standing up for the first time must be hard. Those little leg muscles are weak and not trained for standing yet. Just like that young child, you probably took many falls at first, but you weren't put off. Each time you fell, you got up and stood on your feet again, maybe a little wobbly at first, maybe needing to hang on to a supporting hand or table leg. Each time you got a little stronger until you were able to stand on your own two feet.

Then you began to put one foot in front of the other, stepping out for your first time. Again you probably had some falls, but again, each time, you got up and tried once more—getting stronger and stronger each time. Soon you were running and jumping and skipping and not thinking about how you have to move the muscles in your legs to walk over to a friend's home, kick a football, or ride a bike.

That's how it was for Andrew at the age of twelve. He had to learn to do it all over again. Knowing that he had done it once helped him feel the confidence to do it again. It wasn't easy. In fact, it was hard work at times. Fortunately, Andrew was no quitter. He knew how to get back on his bike and finish the race. He learned to walk again without falling, to ride a bike, and to kick a ball. Who would think that at the age of twelve years you might have to learn what you had already learned when you were around twelve months old?

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