Do you have wheelchair-bound readers?
Since I offer blogging tips, my readers are bloggers. Often, years pass after our connection has been established when I discover my reader is disabled.
I’ve had readers who are blind, victims of strokes, and wheelchair-bound.
Like the rest of us, many wheelchair-bound bloggers must maintain their responsibilities to their families, their blogs, their jobs, all while trying to cope with frustrations that disabled people must deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Discrimination toward disabled people is called “ableism.”
Today’s guest author offers ableism examples as well as insights into what wheelchair-bound individuals experience.
Make sure you stay until the end of the post which features a wheel-chair bound blogger and her reaction to the ableism she experiences.
Let’s get started.
The Most Common Everyday Frustrations Wheelchair Users Face
Unless you’re disabled, it’s difficult to understand the frustrations and even prejudices that able-bodied people inflict on those who are wheelchair-bound.
Of course, having a wheelchair comes with its own set of challenges, and as humans by nature are adaptable creatures, wheelchair-bound individuals are experts in adjusting and overcoming these challenges, with sheer grit and determination.
However, many users find that the biggest obstacles they face are those perpetrated by well-meaning people, people who are indifferent and more often than not, ignorant people. Here we’ll examine the most common everyday frustrations that wheelchair-bound people face.
Having their social security denied
Whether they became disabled unexpectedly and can no longer work, or they’ve struggled with mobility throughout their life, wheelchair-bound users should be entitled to disability benefits.
Sadly, the system in place doesn’t always reflect the situations of those who need it the most. Submitting a claim and having it denied can place disabled people in a financial quandary. This is why many people in this situation reach out to lawyers first – click the link to speak with a Pittsburgh SSD attorney, now.
People parking in handicapped places
Maybe you’re dashing into the store for just a moment, or there was nowhere else to park. Whatever your reason for parking in a handicapped zone, it’s not good enough.
Handicapped zones are there to give those in wheelchairs (and those with invisible disabilities) the room to maneuver, to get in and out of their vehicles with ease and not worry about being hit by other vehicles in the process.
People being patronizing
If you’re wheelchair-bound, it’s normal for people to talk over your head. As frustrating as that can be, it’s also incredibly offensive to be spoken to in a patronizing manner.
You probably don’t need to raise your volume or reduce the speed of your speech to communicate with a wheelchair user. Just be normal, polite, and respectful!
Imagine being at a restaurant with friends and the server doesn’t make contact and instead looks to your friend to place the order. They hand the cheque to your friend and they only direct questions to the able-bodied people at your table.
Often people are worried about causing offense or creating an awkward situation so they overlook the wheelchair user, however, more often than not, they miss the mark.
Overly “helpful” people
Indeed, most people mean well. Sadly, there’s nothing more frustrating than an “overly” helpful person who won’t take no for an answer. If someone doesn’t need help, they’re not being noble or difficult, they’re just saying no. While it’s honorable that you offered assistance, if it is declined, respect their wishes.
And finally, people asking personal questions
Can you be intimate? How did it happen? Can you feel it if I do this? I’m sorry this happened to you. Do you really need that chair?
Again, most people mean well, and they believe that by asking apparently “normal” questions they’re breaking the ice and “normalizing” the situation. However, this isn’t the case and these kinds of questions shouldn’t be asked unless brought up by the wheelchair user. Just be respectful!
Meet Lorna from Gin and Lemonade
When author Julia Evans sent me this post, I thought of my long-time friend, blogger Lorna from the blog Gin and Lemonade, who is wheelchair-bound.
In My Kid Does Yoga, but I Love Her Anyway Lorna elaborates on some of the ableism examples described in this post:
People express disbelief that she could have an able-bodied child.
People incorrectly assume that she became wheel-chair bound during her pregnancy. The truth is Lorna has cerebral palsy and has always been wheel-chair bound.
Bus drivers dehumanize her. In fact, they call her names like “Wheelchair Space.”
Lorna explains her wheelchair was not an inconvenience as she raised her young baby:
“My wheelchair actually made early motherhood easier. The crib was connected to my side of the bed; I parked under my desk and used it as a changing table. “
Lorna devotes her blog to fighting ableism and promoting a more accessible world.
UPDATE August 2020
After publication, Lorna offered more information about ableism:
“Part of ableism is being referred to as ‘wheelchair-bound.’ I’m only stuck without mine. “Wheelchair users are fine.”
Wrapping Up: Wheelchair-Bound Bloggers
In closing, there is an external prejudice toward wheelchair-bound people, an ableism, that exists.
Readers, please share so others become more informed about what it is like being wheelchair-bound. People can’t change their behavior unless they become aware that ableism exists.
This post was contributed and made possible by the support of our readers.
If you find yourself the recipient of negative treatment like the kind wheelchair-bound people receive or any treatment you don’t like, you should be able to find groups of like-minded people at Huddol. Here is more information about Huddol.