Finding out about my visible difference

Why find out more?

Finding out more about your visible difference may help you to understand and handle it better. It also means, when people ask you questions or you want to talk to someone about it, you’ll have the right words to use. Here are some examples of some young people finding out more:

Alex was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. He had an operation when he was younger and this left a scar on his top lip. He wears braces on his teeth and wears a hearing aid. His doctor gave him a booklet which explains all about his cleft palate and lip. It’s helped him understand more about what happened to him, why he needs braces and why he can’t hear so well.

Mari has vitiligo. She has white patches where there is no colour in her skin. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not contagious, but new patches can appear. Before Mari knew more about what it was, she’d get embarrassed if people asked about it. She used to say she’d spilled toothpaste on herself. Now she’s spoken to people, she understands about vitiligo she feels more confident about answering questions.

How to find out more – be a detective

  • You’re about to start a very important case… it’s all about YOU!
  • Choose your SPECIAL INVESTIGATION AREAS
  • Build up your case by ‘interviewing’ your WITNESSES
  • Maybe you want a DEPUTY (a parent, carer or friend) to help and to be your sidekick? Or you can do it by yourself – it’s up to you!

YOU ARE VERY CLEVER! YOU WILL SOLVE THE CASE!

 


 

Get a SPECIAL NOTEPAD to put everything in. In your notepad, write:

 

My name is: _________________________________________

 

My Deputy’s name is: _________________________________

 

Now think about who you might ask questions of – these people will be your witnesses. Here is a list of people you may like to choose to interview (in a friendly way, of course).

  • Parent or carer – This is a good place to start – your mum or dad or carer (and other family members) will probably have some information
  • Doctor / GP – you have probably met this person before – for lots of reasons – they deal with all types of accidents, conditions and illnesses.
  • Specialist doctor / consultant – these are doctors who know all about a particular part of the body or a certain condition. You might need to see several specialists to talk about different things. Sometimes this person is called a ‘Consultant’, or they might be called after the name of the area they work in, like ‘Dermatologist’ (skin doctor) or ‘Surgeon’.
  • Nurse – nurses see lots of people and could give you more information
  • Changing Faces – you could talk to a person who works for Changing Faces about your situation and how you are doing. Although we can’t tell you about medical things or what treatments to have, we can help you to think about it all and what to ask
  • Other people with the same condition – sometimes it’s good to talk to someone who has been through similar things to us. You might meet them at hospital – or through a support group

Write all the people you think might be good to talk to in your notepad:

 

My Witnesses are: _________________________________

 

Ask your mum or dad or carer to help you make any appointments.

Finding out: part 1

Now think about your condition, mark or scar…

In your notepad, write:

 

What is my visible difference called? __________________________

Write the name of your condition, mark or scar here. Or if there isn’t a special name, write the words usually used to describe it. Or you might like to draw a picture.

 

How did I get my visible difference? ___________________________

 

Choose from this list and write it down:

  • I was born with it
  • It developed after I was born
  • I had an accident
  • I had surgery or treatment
  • I was ill

Add any other notes or pictures underneath

Finding out: part 2

 

How does my visible difference affect me? __________________________

Think about the area of your body that is affected by your visible difference – is it a different shape, size or colour? Does it feel different? Is it harder to do things with that part or your body?

In your notepad, describe your visible difference. You can use words – but try to stick to the facts – for example, it is red or bumpy or smaller than the other one. You might like to draw a body shape and write notes to describe your visible difference or colour it in. Or you could cut out pictures from magazines or print them off from the internet.

It’s up to you how you do it, as long as you know what it means and it helps you to describe your visible difference.

Finding out: part 3

 

How might my condition affect me when I am older? ______________________

It might seem a bit of a scary question, but it could help you to know what is going to happen as you grow up. Your parents or carers might know some of the answers to these questions, so ask them first. Then you might need to speak to a doctor or a specialist too. Ask your parents or carers to help you with making an appointment.

Think about these questions:

  • Will my visible difference change as I grow up?
  • Will my visible difference affect me more when I am older? Or will it affect me less?
  • You might want to add some questions of your own. How might it change? How might it affect you more or less? What will happen?

You may find it helps think about questions with your family or friends.

Write all your questions in your notepad. Then, when you speak to your witnesses, write down your findings.

Talk to someone

Knowing more about yourself can help you feel more confident, but there can be a lot to think about. Finding things out is not always easy – and it all takes time and energy.

Remember, it’s good to talk things through – talk to a parent or a carer or Changing Faces to help you to work through it all, especially if you are feeling worried or confused by any of the information you discover.

You might like to also look at Finding out about treatments

Finding out about treatments

Read

Looking and feeling different

Read

More people are using Changing Faces services than ever before. We want to be here for everyone affected by with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different.

We’ve made all our services, factsheets and information free for everyone. It takes time and money to do this, but we think it is really important.

That’s why I hope you’ll understand why we need to ask for your help. If you’ve found our website or services helpful, and your circumstances allow, then please consider donating. Every penny counts and you can give at www.changingfaces.org.uk/donate Thank you.