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 hook 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.