Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wheelchair Manners

Witnessing a local man who uses a wheelchair getting patted on the head at the laundromat today made me think about the sign I made of "Wheelchair Manners" that hangs outside my classroom. I am going to post it here in case anyone else wants to make it into a sign.

(Just select the text below, copy it -control/C- and paste it -control/V- into a Microsoft Word, Open Office, or similar document)

Wheelchair Manners

· Use the same manners you would with anyone else,

o Rude is rude.

· Ask before you help,

o Sometimes independence is more important than ease or speed.

· Please don’t lean or hang on the wheelchair without permission,

o How would you like it if someone hung on you?

· Speak to the person in the wheelchair

o Not to the person with him or her.

· Make yourself eye to eye,

o You may want to sit or kneel.

· Shake hands, give a squeeze on the shoulder,

o But never a pat on the head.

· A person who uses a wheelchair is a wheelchair user,

o Not “confined to a wheelchair” or a “victim of a wheelchair”.

· Always ask before moving someone’s wheelchair,

o Whether or not he or she is in it.

· Be aware of the person's capabilities,

o Some users can walk with aid and use wheelchairs to save energy and move quickly.

· It is ok to use terms like "gotta run" and “went for a walk” when speaking to a person who uses a wheelchair,

o The wheelchair user probably uses the same words.

· It is okay to ask polite questions,

o Much more okay than staring.

· A wheelchair gives mobility and freedom,

o It is not, in and of it self, sad or a tragedy.

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