Nick Vujicic – Attitude is altitude – Comprehension

Click ‘play’ to listen to the text ‘Attitude is altitude’.

Watch the video summary here.

Passage 1:

Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and legs – but he doesn’t let the details stop him. The brave 26-year-old – who is mainly a torso – plays football and golf, swims and surfs, despite having no limbs.

1. How do you describe Nick’s physical condition/state?

Nick is a torso. / Nick has no arms and legs.

2. ‘but he doesn’t let the details stop him.’ What does this line mean?

It means ‘he doesn’t allow his disability to challenge him’.

3. What does the phrase ‘the details’ mean?

It means Nick’s disability. / It means the fact that Nick was a torso.

4. What does ‘torso’ mean?

‘torso’ means the main part of the body, not including head, arms and legs.

5. What does ‘despite’ mean in the above lines?

‘Despite’ means ‘without being affected by’.

6. Where was Nick born?

Nick was born in Melbourne, Australia.

Passage 2:

Nick has a small foot on his left hip which helps him balance and enables him to kick.

1. What does Nick call his small foot?

Nick calls his small foot ‘chicken drumstick’.

2. Why does he call it ‘chicken drumstick’?

He calls it so because it looks like chicken drumstick.

3. What does ‘enable’ mean?

‘Enable’ means ‘to make something possible’.

4. What does ‘pick up’ mean here?

‘Pick up’ means ‘to lift something or someone up’.

5. Use ‘pick up’ in your own sentence.

He picked up the letter and read it.

The phone rang and I picked it up.

Mummy, can you pick me up?

6. How many feet does Nick have?

Nick has one small foot.

Passage 3:

Water sports aren’t Nick’s only thing – he also plays golf with a club tucked under his chin, and is a huge fan of the English Premier League.

1. What does ‘tucked’ mean here?

‘Tucked’ means ‘kept’.

2. What is the antonym of ‘huge’?

‘little’ / ‘small’.

3. What does ‘fan’ mean here?

‘Fan’ means ‘a person who admires somebody or something’.

4. What is English Premier League?

English Premier League is a professional association of football league.

5. What does ‘club’ mean here?

‘Club’ / ‘Golf club’ means ‘a long metal stick with a piece of metal or wood at one end, used for hitting the ball in golf’.

Passage 4:

His parents decided not to send him to a special school – a decision he said was very hard for him, but which may have been the best decision they could have made for him.

1. What is a ‘special school’ according to the passage?

According to the passage, ‘a special school’ is a school for disabled people’.

2. Why was the decision hard for the speaker?

The decision was hard for the speaker because as a torso, he would be teased and bullied by others.

3. How did the decision turn out to be the best?

The decision turned out to be the best because he became independent by studying at a mainstream school.

4. ‘His parents decided not to send him to a special school.’ Where did they send him instead?

They sent him to a mainstream school.

Passage 5:

When Nick was born, his father was so shocked that he left the hospital room to vomit.

1. Why do you think Nick’s father vomited when he was born?

…because he could not digest the fact that his son was born as a torso.

2. How can you say that Nick’s mother was shocked at the birth of a torso?

She was so shocked that she could not hold him until he was four months old.

Passage 6:

‘My mother was a nurse and she did everything right during pregnancy but she still blamed herself,’ he said.

1. Who is the speaker?

Nick Vujicic is the speaker.

2. What was the mother of the speaker?

The speaker’s mother was a nurse.

3. Why did she blame herself?

She blamed herself because she had a baby without arms and legs even though she took great care during her pregnancy.

Passage 7:

‘It was so hard for them but right from start, they did their best to make me independent.’

1. Who said these words?

Nick Vujicic said these words.

2. What does ‘it’ refer to?

‘It’ refers to ‘Nick being born without arms and legs’.

3. Who are ‘they’?

‘They’ are Nick’s parents.

Passage 8:

‘I also got really into football and skateboarding.’

1. What is ‘skateboarding’?

‘Skateboarding’ is the sport or activity of riding on a skateboard.

2. What is the meaning of the phrasal verb ‘got into’ here?

‘Here’ got into’ means ‘became involved’.

Example sentences with the word ‘bully’ (verb):

Don’t be bullied by people who shout at you.

He was bullied rather than persuaded into going with them.

3. What is the meaning of the phrasal verb ‘insist on’?

‘Insist on’ means ‘to continue doing something even though other people think it is not good for you.’ / ‘to demand something’.

Example sentences with the word ‘insist on’:

I declined, but she insisted on following me for several hundred yards.

I don’t know why you insist on talking about it.

Passage 9:

‘I was deeply depressed when I was eight years old,’ he said, ‘I went to mym crying and told her  I wanted to kill myself,’ I felt cold and bitter.’

1. Why was he depressed?

He was depressed because of his disability.

2. What does ‘feel cold and bitter’ mean here?

It means ‘feel uncomfortable and upset’.

Passage 10:

‘I hated God for doing this to me and was terrifed of what would happen when my parents weren’t there to look after me.’

1. Why did the speaker hate God?

The speaker hated God for making him a torso.

2. Who took care of the speaker?

His parents took care of him.

3. What is the meaning of the phrasal verb ‘look after’?

‘Look after’ means ‘take care of someone’.

Example sentences with the phrasal verb ‘look after’:

Don’t worry. I’ll look after the kids tomorrow.

Who’s going to look after the children while you’re away?

Passage 11:

At age ten, NIck tried to drown himself in the bath but luckily the attempt was unsuccessful. ‘I felt there was no purpose when you lack purpose and strength. It is hard to hold on,’ he said. 

1. What does ‘drown’ mean?

‘Drown’ means ‘to die from being under water for too long, or to kill someone in this way’.

Many people drowned when the boat overturned.

Depressed, Peter tried to drown himself.

2. What does ‘purpose’ mean?

‘Purpose’ means ‘the intention, aim or function of something.

3. What does ‘lack’ mean?

‘Lack’ means ‘to have none or not enough of something’.

Example sentences with the word ‘lack’ (verb):

Some houses still lack basic amenities such as bathrooms.

He lacks confidence.

He apparently lacked the desire to learn.

His life seemed to lack direction.

4. What does ‘hold on’ mean here?

‘Hold on’ means ‘to survive in a difficult situation’.

We had to hold on until help arrived.

Passage 12:

‘I realised why God had made us like this – to give hope to others. It was so inspirational to me that I decided to use my life to encourage other people and give them the courage that the article had given me.

1. According to the speaker, why had God had made him like that?

According to the speaker, God had made him like that, to give hope to others.

2. What made the speaker realise God had made him as a torso?

He read a newspaper article about a disabled man who had achieved great things. This made him realise God had made him as a torso

Passage 13:

‘I decided to be thankful for what I do have, not get angry about what I don’t.’

1. Who is the speaker?

The speaker is Nick Vujicic.

2. What does the speaker not have?

The speaker does not have arms and legs.

3. Write a synonym for the word ‘thankful’.


4. What attitude of the speaker do you find in the passage?

I find the speaker’s positive attitude.

Passage 14:

‘The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions. They are not there to run us over,’ said Nick. In 1990, Nick won the Australian Young Citizen of the year award for his bravery and perseverance.

1. What does ‘strengthen’ mean?

‘Strengthen’ means ‘to make strong’.

2. What does the phrasal verb ‘run over’ mean here?

‘Run over’ means ‘to knock or hit’.

3. What does the word ‘convictions’ mean here?

Here, the word ‘convictions’ means ‘strong beliefs’.

4. What is the antonym of ‘bravery’?

‘cowardice’ or ‘timidity’.

5. What does the word ‘perseverance’ mean?

‘Perseverance’ means ‘the quality of continuing to try to achieve a particular aim despite difficulties’.

Synonyms: diligence, determination, persistence, tenacity

Antonyms: laziness, lethargy

6. How do challenges help us?

Challenges make our convictions strong.

Passage 15:

‘And once I was in a car and a gril at traffic lights was looking at me interestingly. She could only see my head so I decided to do a 360-degree spin in the car seat to freak her out. Her face was like wooooah what going on? She sped off really quickly.’

1. Why was the girl looking at him interestingly?

The girl was looking interestingly because of her youth and attraction for the opposite sex.

2. What did Nick do to freak her out?

Nick Vujicic did a 360-degree spin to freak her out.

3. What was the reaction of the girl?

She was frightened when she saw Nick’s torso. She sped off quickly.

4. What does ‘freak out’ mean?

‘Freak out’ means ‘to become very anxious, upset, or afraid, or make someone very anxious, upset, or afraid.

Example sentences with ‘freak out’:

My parents really freaked out when they saw my hair.

Snakes really freak me out.

People just freaked out when they heard the news.

The whole idea freaked me out.

Passage 16:

‘She was amazing,’ said Nick. ‘She taught me how to surf and I was terrified at first, but once I got up there, it felt absolutely fantastic and I caught some waves pretty well.’ Nick quickly learned to do the 360-degree spins on his board – a feat that got him on the cover of Surfer magazine within 48 hours.

1. Who is ‘she’ in the passage?

‘She’ is Bethany Hamilton.

2. What was ‘she’?

She was a surfer/surfing coach.

3. Why was Nick terrified?

Nick Vujicic was terrified because he thought he would not be able to catch waves because of his disability.

4. What got Nick on the cover of Surfer Magazine?

Nick’s feat of doing 360-degree spins on his board got him on the cover of Surfer Magazine.

5. What do you think is Surfer Magazine?

I think it is a magazine that publishes news about surfing and surfers.

Passage 17:

Nick and Kanae wrote a book called ‘Love without limits’.

1. Did Nick Vujicic and Kanae write the book ‘Love without limits‘ before getting married?  


Nick Vujicic

2. When was the book ‘Love without limits’ published?

The book ‘Love without limits’  was published in 2014.


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