How Do I Teach My Friends Proper Wheelchair Etiquette?

Jul 08, 2018

Anonymous asks, quote:

I was just wondering if you had any advice as to how to teach friends about wheelchair equette? Everytime we’re out I’m given everyone’s handbag. I had so many one time I had to balance one on my footplate. I know they probably don't know its bad and I pretty much let them get away with it because I don’t want to cause fuss but I got badly injured this last time (from being pushed about against my will) So I need to bring it up in a way is educating and not blaming I guess? Thank you.

end quote.

“Everytime we’re out I’m given everyone’s handbag.” Like a human coat rack? From the sounds of it, even if you weren’t in a wheelchair this would be rude.

Here’s how I would explain this to your friends: your wheelchair should be treated as a part and extension of the rest of your body. Surely they wouldn’t pick someone up, throw them over their shoulder and carry that person somewhere against their will, so why would they move someone’s chair against their will? It’s super messed up.

In that same vein, they shouldn’t treat your wheelchair as a handy place to put stuff. Again, you’re a person, not a coat rack.

And if I might take a minute to be super honest here, the kind of behavior your friends are exhibiting is a giant red flag. Who the fuck makes the one friend in a group of friends hold everyone’s shit? That’s not friendship, that’s a trope from Mean Girls and if I were in this situation, I would definitely be reevaluating my friendships.