University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Making Choices

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Making Choices

Adult pushing child in wheelchair

Learning to make good choices is part of growing up

We all make choices every day. Some choices are little, like what to eat. Some choices are very important, like where to live. It is important to know how to make good choices. It is also important to know how to deal with it when a choice does not turn out right.

Most people learn to make choices from their parents. Parents tell us about safety and how to act. When children grow up, their parents don't tell them what to do anymore. We make our own choices. When you learn by making your own choices and seeing what happens, that is called trial-and-error.

Sometimes things turn out the way you wanted. Sometimes a choice does not turn out right. An example is when you go out to party and have fun, but you drink too much and feel sick.


Tom and Dave made bad choices. They needed surgery for pressure ulcers

Sometimes a choice about taking care of yourself seems all right, but it does not turn out right. You could get a pressure ulcer (which is what a doctor or nurse calls a pressure sore or bedsore).

Tom was going to go back to the rehab hospital for help. He thought it would be okay to stop doing pressure reliefs for a few weeks because he was going to the hospital. When he got to the hospital, he had a pressure ulcer because he stopped doing pressure reliefs. His choice to stop doing pressure reliefs did not turn out right.

Dave wanted to go back to his job after he got a pressure ulcer. He also wanted to do fun things he enjoyed. He decided that having a muscle flap surgery would be faster than staying home in bed while his ulcers healed. (This is where muscle is transplanted from another part of your body to fill the gap left by a pressure ulcer.) Dave chose surgery each time he got a bad pressure ulcer. Now, he has had so many surgeries, he might not be able to have any more. He might have to have his leg amputated if he gets another pressure ulcer. Dave's choice to have surgeries instead of resting at home seemed like a good idea at the time. In the long run, it did not turn out the way he wanted.