Five Experiences Every O.I. Child Should Have

5. Invincibility: Whether it's soaring high on a swing set or the freedom of doing flips underwater in a swimming pool - life doesn't always need to feel fraught with worries of fractures. By showing young kids that it's possible to grab life by the bull horns without feeling pain, it instills a spirit of joy and 'can do' attitude early on!

4. Rehabilitation: There are numerous life lessons that are taught when anyone is in rehab. Whether it's recuperating after an injury, exercises that stress patience & persistence, or just the mental focus of putting one foot in front of the other: the experience of rehab is humbling. For a child it's important to not only teach how to 'bounce back' after an injury or operation, but in doing so you are showing him or her the process necessary to come back after any other future set back.

3. Self-Advocacy: It doesn't matter that children are 'only minors' or that children have parents and other adults who will make the decisions. Start simple and small: are they the ones to choose what they want to wear in the mornings? Are they advocating for how much something hurts? Can they choose what color the cast is? Aside from the decision making skills or the self-awareness that this builds, it also helps children begin to realize that they can speak up about what their disability needs vs. the disability speaking for them.

2. Collaboration: This seems almost silly to include because it is virtually impossible to avoid doing. But I think, at times out of fear for safety, there is a hesitation among the grown-ups of children with O.I. to allow kids to work with others - of every ability. Since O.I. is such a rare condition it's important that kids learn how to step out of their comfort zone and collaborate on projects, team sports, at camp etc. Working together, regardless of how rare or common the differences people have is a valuable skill as adults.

Adaptation: Childhood presents itself as a period of exploring the world around, and learning what your body is capable of doing. In other words, for a young child with O.I. childhood is also a period rife with opportunities for adaptation; learning how to do so successfully and unsuccessfully inspires creativity, problem-solving skills, possibility, and what is so often the most difficult thing to do: to simply try


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