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Teens use ‘Teddy’ to help teach kids about disability

Think about how many steps you take in a day. Try to count the number of times you reach for something on a table or in a cabinet. How often do you hold your cellphone with one hand while using the other to multitask? Do you use your arms and legs when you lift yourself into a pickup truck or SUV?

Most people cannot imagine what life would be like if they lost an arm or a leg. Many returning service members do not imagine it; they live it. Amputations are a type of disability that can occur suddenly and be extremely difficult to adapt to in daily life. Disability benefits help financially and provide for the resources they need emotionally and mentally.

The veterans are not the only ones who need to adapt to the major life change. Many of these wounded veterans have families with young children. How do they cope with their parents’ injuries?

A group of teenagers led by the wife of a veteran set out to help teach these children about their parents’ disability in a language they understand. The group decided to create teddy bears that look just like their parents.

Every detail is right. The clothes they wear match the branch of the military in which their parents served. The bears’ physical statures mimic that of their parents. If their leg was amputated, so was the bear’s.

The wife leading the group said that the big factor here is to teach the children that the injury didn’t change who mom or dad is on the inside. Their parent may not look the same as they did when they left, but they are still the parent who loves them every bit as much as they did before.

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