Let’s Talk About This – 2

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a guy who questioned my use of a walking stick whilst walking home and I asked if anyone else had experienced anything similar.

I’ve had a couple of responses, all of which said they too have experienced some kind of judgement for being “too young” or not looking disabled enough to be using their mobility aids. Some of the prying questions shared include “what’s wrong with you?”, “what happened?” and “That’s just for fashion, right?” And I feel these are all incredibly inappropriate. People don’t questions those who have crutches due to a broken leg or a little old lady who walks upright but still has a walking stick, yet they seem to feel they need to “call out” those who look young and fit and healthy for using these same aids. It’s also no one elses business why someone is using a mobility aid yet people feel they have the right to ask and demand such information.

A few other things that people have had said to them whilst using their aids are “you don’t look handicapped.” and “you shouldn’t be allowed to work in public. You make people uncomfortable.” This is also really inappropriate and rude. Like I said before, it’s no one else business why someone is using a mobility aid but to say they make make you feel uncomfortable is selfish, unkind and, above all, completely insensitive. It is not our job, as chronically ill and/or disabled individuals, to ensure the healthy and able-bodied feel comfortable and happy around us. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable around other people but if someone in a wheelchair or using a walking stick makes you feel that way, then try to imagine how it must be for them. Don’t voice how they make you feel because it’s not that persons fault you feel awkward, they don’t control your emotions.

I know some people would advise to not say anything in these situations and I must admit, I’m not one for starting an argument or making a scene, but what do you think? Would you argue or answer someone if they questioned you for using a mobility aid? What would you say? Would ignore them?

Lastly, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to @maknaebias, @that-eds-life and @notsograndadventures for your contributions! You’re all amazing people and I really appreciate you sharing your stories with me.

Things they don’t tell you about being a first time wheelchair user in highschool

angelkin-autie:

Literally everyone will ask if you broke your leg(s). Everyone. Even people you don’t know. Theyll ask a lot and think you’re extremely fragile.

bruises show up within the first day of rolling around, and they can really suck

people will try to grab your chair if they think you’re struggling and it can be hard not to snap at them for it

static electricity is a huge issue. You will probably either continuously shock your leg when you’re rolling around or do what I did today and zap someone so hard as you pass that both of you nearly keel over

people will call you out as a faker if you do anything even remotely fun ever on your wheelchair. Wheelies? Obviously your legs are fine lol not like you have to go down fucking curbs /s

puddles are the worst and if there’s a curb with a puddle all around and you have some ability to walk its a better idea to just stand up and navigate the chair than to fall backwards into said puddle

weird looks from people are inevitable, especially from people who don’t like you

bus drivers will often push your chair and give you advise you don’t want to hear, even if you tell them nicely you can push yourself. Its really hard not to get mad at them for it

no wheelies in school. Though if you do it in the elevator when no one else is with you you can’t really get caught.

speaking of wheelies, always be ready to throw at least one arm behind you in case you fall. They say tuck your chin in but its easier and more reliable to throw your hands back and keep your neck up so you don’t hit the floor. Sore arms are way easier to put up with than head injuries

don’t even bother to try and roll back up curbs. You will either be there for an hour or fall backwards. I managed to do both.

90% of classrooms that aren’t special ed are not very wheelchair accessible.

people will automatically assume you’re faking something if you’re not considered dumb enough in their standards to fit in with disabled students (aka high class ableism at its finest)

people are going to give you weird looks if you don’t suddenly start sitting with the other disabled kids

standard backpacks usually dangle way too much to keep on you easily, so try to pack light

built in storage on wheelchairs cannot sufficiently carry books

don’t try to hold an umbrella. Period. Especially not with your teeth. It doesn’t work.

don’t try to give the bus driver your ticket while you’re stuck on the ramp. And speaking of, its easy to start falling down the bus ramp so be careful, and when in doubt throw on the breaks

and finally if you’re like me pray to god you don’t go nonverbal when someone is trying to push you and you don’t want them to because it is hard to get them to stop if you can’t speak

able-bodied people can and should 1000% reblog this, some of these things I’ve seen on tips about using a wheelchair but a lot of these weren’t things I’ve seen

Reblogging because these are pretty good tips for anyone who uses a wheelchair. Also, good for people who don’t use a wheelchair to take note as well because we should never assume that just because someone is in a wheelchair, it doesn’t mean they can’t do things for themselves. That’s not to say we should ignore them if they do need help, however.