By Miles Thompson-Kendall

    My name is Miles and I’m 16 years old. I have lived in the Inner West for most of my life and am currently doing VCE at Footscray High School. In 2013, I was in a car crash that gave me an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). In this article, and possibly later articles as well, I would like to share my view of what it’s like being a teenager in my community, and the difficulties that come with my ABI.

    Brain injuries come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all give different effects. Because I got my ABI as a 7-year-old, I’ve had a lot of time to rehabilitate and learn tactics for doing tasks that used to be easy. 

    One of my symptoms for my ABI is a left-sided hemiplegia (which means the left side of my body isn’t as responsive as my right side and is harder to control). My hand takes more effort to open, and my elbow takes more effort to bend, and the arm behaves erratically sometimes. My left leg and foot need assistance from an external biomechanical device called an AFO (Ankle Foot Orthotic). 

    However, because I’ve been affected for a long time, I am very accustomed to the changes, and I can live my life as normal as I can. I’m able to ride a local bus to and from school, I’m able to ride a scooter, and my bike has been modified so that both wheels are attached to the right handbrake.

    Life with a troublesome hand is very hard, for example. I have a modified fork with a thick handle to assist me with eating, as a regular fork is hard to grip. I’ve learnt many unique ways to do many things, such as making my bed and folding clothes. It may look a little silly if you see it for the first time, but these methods get the job done.

    Some of the most important things in my life are working hard in school and keeping in touch with my friends. My hobbies include playing video games (believe it or not, I use a regular controller, and just hold it differently), building with Lego (while using this, I think it’s the closest to normal), and art (the only thing I use my left hand for while drawing is holding the paper). Next time, maybe I’ll share about my more humorous and creative side.

    Remember, if you see anyone walking with a limp or doing something in a questionable way, they may have something like me, so make sure to treat them with kindness. They are trying their hardest, in their own way. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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