Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How To Talk to People Who Are In Wheelchairs

We who are able-bodied Ultrarunners should read this, just to keep us humble and not to take our strong legs for granted.

For life has a way of changing things, in a heartbeat.

Via Mike the Mad Biologist on 6 Aug 2012, who points us to M Monica:

How To Talk to People Who Are In Wheelchairs
One of the things I notice when I am in my wheelchair is that many adults have difficulty knowing exactly what to say or how to act with someone who is in a wheelchair. Sometimes I notice inadvertent, side-glances; people who don't glance directly at me, but will furtively look at me and then look away, as though they're afraid of being caught staring.
I think that it is important to note that while you may be curious, some good general tips are as follows:

She then lists 7 tips that are worth reading.  I was drawn to Tip 3, as Mister Tristan (the 4-year-old human being, not the blog) has expressed great curiosity whenever he sees a wheelchair:

Tip 3.  If you have small children, and they ask you something like, "Mamma, why is that girl in a wheelchair?" The best way to respond is probably to say something like "I don't know; let's ask her." I have heard parents hush children up with a "Stop it, that question isn't appropriate," or they may say, "We don't ask people those sorts of things. It's rude." Children have a natural curiosity about the way the world functions. They want to know. And by allowing them to approach and talk to me, you are increasing their tolerance and acceptance for people with disabilities. Plus, the majority of people in wheelchairs are happy to interact with curious children. They ask the questions that the majority of adults are thinking, but are afraid to ask.

All in all, a worthwhile read.


1 comment:

  1. Tip 3 was a very good read. You can’t control what your child might say in any given moment. This is a good reaction of the mom and should be used by everyone. I believe this is respectful for the PWD overhearing the conversation.