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Wheelchair etiquette

Many people simply do not know how to act when comunicating with a wheelchair user. These facts from the horses mouth may help.

  • Always ask the person using the wheelchair if he or she would like assistance BEFORE you help. It may not be needed or wanted.
  • Don't hang or lean on a person's wheelchair because it is part of that person's personal body space.
  • Speak directly to the person in the wheelchair, not to someone nearby as if the person in the wheelchair did not exist.
  • If conversation lasts more than a few minutes, consider sitting down or kneeling to get yourself on the same level.
  • Don't deman or patronize the person by patting them on the head.
  • Give clear directions, including distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles that may hinder the person's travel.
  • Don't classify persons who use wheelchairs as sick. Wheelchairs are used for a variety of non-contagious disabilities.
  • When a person using a wheelchair "transfers" out of the wheelchair to a chair, toilet, car or bedFree Reprint Articles, do not move the wheelchair out of reaching distance.
  • Be aware of the person's capabilities. Some users can walk with aid and use wheelchairs to save energy and move quickly.
  • It is ok to use terms like "running along" when speaking to a person who uses a wheelchair. The person is likely to express things the same way.
  • Don't discourage children from asking questions about the wheelchair.
  • Don't assume that using a wheelchair is in itself a tragedy. It is a means of freedom that allows the person to move about independently.

Robin Kettle

DDA Access auditor and Disability Awareness Trainer www.blue-badge.co.uk

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Robin is an access auditor and awareness trainer currently assisting businesses across the UK



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