When you see someone using a wheelchair, it’s easy to jump to certain conclusions. But like many assumptions and stereotypes in our society, these are often far from correct. So let’s clear up some of the confusion to help create a more inclusive community – whether you’re in a wheelchair or not. Here are some handy facts from wheelchair users that may help you understand a little bit better.
Just because I’m in a chair, doesn’t mean I’m helpless
Often people’s hearts are in the right place when they offer help to someone in a wheelchair – but sometimes people go overboard to help, when it’s not actually needed. The fact is, many people don’t need help and are quite happy going about their day-to-day lives. But if you think you see someone who could use a hand, the best thing to do is just ask them if they need help – easy!
My chair is part of my personal space
For many people, their wheelchair is an extension of their body, so the rules of personal space extend to it as well. So avoid doing things like resting your feet on it, leaning on it or using it as an armchair. This is like a stranger coming up and resting their arm on your shoulder! Also, it’s best not to touch or move someone’s wheelchair without their permission – even if it’s not being used.
Accessible toilets & parking spots are important to me
It’s quite simple – accessible facilities such as toilets and parking spots exist because people need them. It’s actually illegal to use an accessible parking space without a permit, and it’s really not acceptable to use an accessible toilet, if you don’t need to. And remember, there are people with invisible disabilities using accessible parking too – so as long as someone has the right permit, please don’t judge them.
Like many people in a wheelchair, I can drive a car
In many cases, cars can be modified to allow someone who uses a wheelchair to drive – foot pedals can be repositioned, or even replaced with hand-controls. While modifications aren’t possible on all vehicles (and drivers may need to be assessed and trained by a therapist), it does mean that many wheelchair users have the freedom to get behind the wheel!
At Power Mobility, we know our stuff
With more than 40 years experience, our team can provide the right assistive technology solutions to support your lifestyle. So if you’re looking for quality mobility equipment, Power Mobility has an extensive range including Quantum, Pride, Magic Mobility and Ottobock powerchairs, manual wheelchairs, scooters, lift chairs, plus much more. Drop into our huge showroom or call our friendly team on (07) 3265 4663 to find the best solution for you.