8 Frustrations Only Wheelchair Users Understand
People who use wheelchairs face unique challenges that many people fail to truly understand. Through no fault of their own, people in wheelchairs overcome obstacles daily that force them to adjust how they live, move and interact with others.
If everyone took the time to understand and respect people in wheelchairs, many of these stressful and frustrating situations could be avoided.
Frustrations that only people who use a wheelchair can understand:
- People Parking in Handicapped Parking Spaces: Some individuals disregard the law because of time restraints, ignorance or entitlement. No reason provides a worthy excuse to cause undue stress to individuals who NEED these spaces.
- People Using Accessible Bathroom Stalls: These clearly-labeled facilities give clearly labeled signage often appear ‘attractive’ to people who WANT extra space, but who do not need it.This action seems harmless — right up until a person using a wheelchair enters the bathroom.
- Talking Over a Wheelchair User’s Head: Talking over someone’s head gives the impression of disrespect and apathy. Respect individuals even if they are on a different eye level and consider how someone ignoring you would feel.
- Insist on Helping Even After Hearing “No Thanks”: Always respect people’s wishes and refrain from giving help to someone who refuses it.
- Objects Getting Caught on Wheelchairs: Wheelchair wheels collect and snag hair, clothes and anything else that hangs loosely.
- Keeping Warm: Without the benefit of consistent movement, people using a wheelchair face the unenviable task of maintaining body heat. Cold weather, mixed with relative inactivity, often results in chills.
- People Asking Personal Questions: Asking a question about the origin of someone’s disability often feels invasive and too personal when first getting to know someone.
- Stares: Because wheelchair users are not the majority of the population, many people, especially children, sometimes stare as a result of their uniqueness. Make sure to convey respect, even with your eyes.
These eight frustrations represent just a fraction of what people using wheelchairs encounter and experience each day.