Wheelchair etiquette

A few helpful points

Following my Facebook interview with Kate Guest on Monday, I thought it would be a good idea to summarise some of the points raised:

  • As discussed in an earlier blog – why wheelchair bound and disabled person make me feel uncomfortable and should be replaced with wheelchair user and person with a disability
  • If you want to ask a wheelchair user a question – speak to the wheelchair user and not the person pushing the chair
  • Calling things by their correct names – I have had my wheelchair referred to as a cart or a buggy. Would you like it if I called your car a cart
  • It’s not a good idea to lean on or push a wheelchair without asking – it can be quite unnerving for me and I might try to push away in my chair with you still leaning on it
  • Respect my independence and don’t do things for me because you think its simpler. It may take me a little longer to make a cup of tea – but I can still do it. Let the wheelchair user or person with a disability ask for the help they need.
  • In an office be prepared to make minor adjustments – lower a coat or putting files within reach.
  • If you are having a conversation with me can you sit down. It’s much easier to hear if we are on the same level – besides it saves me getting neck strain.
  • Don’t be afraid to shake hands – I won’t break.
  • Don’t automatically speak slower or louder than normal – it’s like being on holiday where people think speaking slowly helps them be understood.

Remember it is also up to the wheelchair user or person with a disability to help by saying what they can’t do or will need assistance with.

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