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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Decorum around a wheelchair user

Things you shouldn't say…

(In no particular order)
Here, let me help you.
I had to use a wheelchair when I broke my leg, so I know exactly what you are going through.
You're an inspiration.
I was only parked there for a minute.
Everything happens for a reason.
You're good looking for someone in a wheelchair.
It's good to see you out.
Have you got any more movement?
With your effort and attitude, I know you will walk again.
Anything with a kindergarten teacher voice or a pat on the head.

Things you shouldn't assume…

Shaking hands?
If you are meeting a disabled person for the first time you should offer to shake their hand. They might not be able to shake back but the gesture is appreciated. I know when someone offers me their hand they are usually a little taken back with my non-grip in return but it breaks the ice and lets the able-bodied person know what they are dealing with.

With someone:
If you see someone with a person in a wheelchair don't assume that that person is their caregiver or nurse. This happens to me all the time when I am out and about. And never say, "It is nice of you to take them out." I am usually the one dragging the other person out. Also, it is very annoying when people ask questions about me to the person I'm with. Hello McFly, I am right here. I have a mouth and I know how to use it.

On the level:
If you are going to have a conversation with someone in a wheelchair, get to their level. Kneel down or find somewhere to sit down so you can communicate eye to eye. This doesn't really bother me too much but after a long conversation and my frickin neck is straining, I usually ask the person if they want to sit down.

Stuff your sorries in a sack mister:
This is really annoying to me. When someone is sorry for saying something like, "let's go for a walk, oh sorry I said walk." There are a lot of figures of speech that have the act of running or walking in them. Take it from me, I do not care and I assume most others do not.

Touching my stuff and things:
I don't know why it is but people like to touch my stuff. Not in a fun way either. I mean my wheelchair, bags and stuff. It would be like me going through your car without asking. Also, never try to push or move someone's wheelchair while they are in it. Even if you think it is funny and you think you're funny.

Go ahead and ask:
If you are unsure of something about a disabled person, ask the person. Most disabled people will be glad to explain what they are doing in order to live their life as normal as possible. I get asked all the time about how I eat and where did I get my long straw. Next time, buy me a drink and I will tell you all about it.

Kids and stuff:
If you know children, they stare, it’s in their nature. I find that most kids act better around me than adults. When kids stare it doesn't bother me. When adult stare I just shake my head and stare back at the douche canoes until they are really uncomfortable. Kids are just curious. Adults are just jack wagons. They should know better.

So the next time you see someone in a wheelchair, take this stuff as advice. It will not only make them feel more comfortable it will make you feel more comfortable.

I got the idea for most of these from the internets and I added some of my own. Plus of course I used some Clintanese.

Thanks for reading, Clint.

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