• The Harlie Russell Team

Ordinary or Extraordinary?

When standing and walking become a physical goal requiring hours of therapy, it becomes an exhausting task. Harlie was beginning to refuse to do any sort of standing or walking at home since she viewed it as "physio." What I realised was I needed to change the way Harlie saw standing and walking. Instead of pushing the fact that she needs to learn how to do it, I needed to approach it as something that just happens during the day.

Getting up and walking around the house in the morning is something I don't even think about. It just happens. It is an ordinary, everyday task that most people take for granted. I don't celebrate each morning when I do it, so why should I make such a fuss about it with Harlie that would add unnecessary pressure?

It started small. Harlie would walk from her bedroom to the kitchen each morning in her walker. Whilst this is no small feat for Harlie, I made no big deal out of it. I made her feel like she was just strolling to the kitchen like me. After a few days, she was able to walk to the kitchen while telling me what was ahead of her for the day. It was great to see the change in her attitude towards walking.

One afternoon, Harlie insisted on helping me with dinner, but only if she could be in her walker. I was thrilled! Sure enough, Harlie walked into the kitchen and was able to stand for a considerable amount of time. I had never seen her so free. I believe she felt a change in her confidence as she no longer seemed scared to fall, or worried about her feet getting tangled as she took steps. She was just a little girl helping her mum in the kitchen.

There are so many of these moments I wished I'd had with Harlie over the last 7 years, but I have no doubt she will make up for this and more. Everyday I see Harlie get stronger and more confident with her abilities and I cannot wait to see what she will achieve tomorrow, or next week, or for the next 7 years. She has many miles to walk in those shoes.


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Brisbane QLD, Australia

©2017 BY THE HARLIE RUSSELL FOUNDATION LTD. Photo credits Linda Wiseman & Shaun Clifford