Local News

June 21, 2013

‘Her disability is no disability’

7-year-old finds a way to excel at many sports


Answering the question

When Lexi first started elementary school, Katie and Lexi often were asked questions. Not so much anymore.

And rarely is she picked on.

And never does it bother her.

“It happened (this year) once,” Lexi said. “This one little boy was with me in second grade, and every time I’d get out from PE he’d go, ‘Look at her. She only has one hand.’

“I didn’t really care ... because I’ve had people say it to me so many times it didn’t really bother me.”

Said her mother, “There were a lot of questions last year about it, but not this year. Plus, we started the school year off with my mom making a book about it. It’s kind of like a kids book. ... Growing up, that was the question we got from everyone on the playground: ‘What is wrong with her arm?’ That would drive her crazy after about a million times. It wasn’t that she cared about the question, but just answering it over and over. As she got older, there have been less and less questions.”

Katie Lyon said it’s easier to answer the question considering her mind was racing seven years ago about what could’ve happened to Lexi. Doctors told her there were complications, but kept it vague for a while. Finally, when they told her, it wasn’t so bad.

“The first thing I said was ‘What else?’” she said. “We’re not fighting for her life. We’re not going to be in and out of the hospital for however many years of her life. With her little arm, we’re not getting it back. We’ll just make the most of it.”

Katie Lyon said Lexi’s coaches, and most teammates, refuse to allow Lexi the opportunity to use her disability as an excuse. They are “good at accepting her for her.” And why not? She can pretty much do everything, and she doesn’t need any special help, either.

“There really haven’t been any limitations,” Katie Lyon said. “She had an infant prosthetic to help with crawling. At that point, she couldn’t say ‘No’ to it. She didn’t have any problems with that at all. When she was in preschool, we got her fitted for a myoelectric prosthetic. It’s top of the line. Basically, it has sensors inside and works off her muscles moving. So basically her brain controls her muscles moving and controls the opening and closing of the hand. I got that for her because I thought she may need it for small motor things at preschool and school. She hasn’t needed it, so she’s never really worn it.”

Some kids still look to Lexi’s “little arm” first before recognizing her athletic and motor skills. Some kids have a hard time believing the idea of a birth defect.

“Some kids just won’t let it go and they’ll just walk around staring at (her arm),” Katie Lyon said while laughing. “Especially the little ones. So some of them just won’t accept ‘I was born that way’ as an answer.

“So after saying ‘I was born that way’ a million times — which is her go-to phrase — she’ll just say ‘OK, a shark bit it off.’ And then they’ll (gasp).”

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