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Different by Design: Meet Anna

In this edition of Different by Design, we meet Anna, a music lover from Germany. We asked Anna to share her thoughts and feelings on living with Dysmelia, a congenital limb difference which meant she was born without a right hand. Here's what she had to say...

How do you feel about having a limb difference?

"As a kid I hated it. I always walked around covering my arm with long-sleeve shirts. It also was the reason I was behind in a lot of things. I remember how all my classmates were able to tie their shoes by second grade and I was still struggling. It was very frustrating to me that it always took me so much longer than other kids to learn certain things. This actually stopped when I began to realize that I got quite good at playing the piano. This really gave my self-confidence a boost."

 Have you ever tried using a prosthetic?

"I got my first prosthetic when I was a child. I used it for things like PE at school, but prosthetics at the time were very limited. I felt like I could do things better without it and eventually stopped using it.

In 2017 I got really interested in them again and got one that could do a lot more things than the one I had as a child. This one I used for e.g. getting dressed. And sometimes I tried to write with it (the results were not good at all, but I loved the process)."

What made you want to try using a prosthetic again?

"I realized that aging will eventually affect my hand in a way that is different to people with two hands, and I really wanted it to try and learn to play the cello!

I also have a tool on my steering wheel which enables me to properly steer the wheel with one hand. It makes me really good at parking."

 How do you adapt to life with a limb difference?

"Most of time I don't really notice all the things I do to adapt, because I have been doing it for my whole life. Usually, I only realize the things I do differently when I talk to my friends and they point specific things out to me.

One thing I do know without anyone pointing it out: I don’t know if other countries have it too, but in Germany it’s possible to buy potatoes in a jar. They are already peeled and cooked, so you basically just heat them up. None of my friends buy it or even knew it existed, but I love it. Because peeling potatoes is my worst nightmare!"

And finally... what advice would you give to new parents of children with a limb difference?

"Please do not try to change them. Listen to what they want and what they need.

In my opinion, the most important thing to make your child understand is, that they are loved exactly the way they are."

Want to share your story of having a limb difference? Get in touch!
You can find Anna on Instagram here.

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