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What Can I Do When I Meet A Person On A Wheelchair?
The main idea behind wheelchair etiquette is making sure to focus on the person instead of the disability the individual is suffering from. One of the main ways people misinterpret what to do around someone in a wheelchair is overextending to fulfill their needs. Individuals in wheelchairs do not always need help. Make sure to always ask the person in the wheelchair if they require your assistance before jumping in.
They might not always need help. Wheelchairs give the person in them a sense of mobility and allow them to take part activities that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. This gives the person a sense of individualism. Sometimes they might not need help.
Talking To Someone Who Is Disabled
Make sure not to hang or lean on a person’s wheelchair since the wheelchair is almost like an extension of the individual. Most people wouldn’t like an invasion of their personal space. Also remember to speak directly when talking to a disabled person. It is considered rude to engage from a distance since it may give the individual a sense of obstruction.
Never move a person’s wheelchair unless the specifically ask you to. Moving one’s wheelchair without notice can cause an individual to easily lose their balance or even fall if not prepared.
How to Interact with a Person Who Uses a Wheelchair
Remember to keep a respectful demeanor since it may seem condescending to inadvertently touch or pat the individual. Make sure not to prevent anyone from asking questions about the wheelchair. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed, a wheelchair is a device of the person using it and there is no reason to pretend as if it doesn’t exist.
The correct formality when directly conversing with an individual in a wheelchair is to always talk at their level. Remember that when having a conversation longer than a few sentences, to kneel down so you can address the person face to face. It will avoid a lot of awkwardness and give the individual a sense of appreciation.
It is not necessary to be overly apologetic for using a word you think offends the individual. People in wheelchairs don’t get offended as often as you’d think. While conversing with a disabled individual, do not be afraid to use words such as walking or running. People in wheelchairs use these words all the time.
Teaching Children About Wheelchair User Etiquette
Last but not least, talk to your children about disabled people. Remember to tell them what a wheelchair is and why a person is in it. Children will stare regardless, but most people in wheelchairs are probably used to it. They simply do not know any better and are mostly likely just curious. It is the parents’ job to educate their children and help to slowly close the gap of information that currently exists. The more knowledge children have, the more seamless the transition will be for future handicapped individuals.
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