Quit (Intentionally) Startling People With Cerebral PalsyJan 16, 2019
In addition to a bunch of other shit, folks with cerebral palsy don’t process sudden stimuli correctly. We’re “jumpy”, for lack of a better term. When we’re startled, our heart rate jumps, our (super spastic) muscles contract and, frankly, it fucking hurts. It’s a lot like getting briefly shocked with electricity.
So if you know someone in a wheelchair who startles easily, do all that you possibly can to avoid startling them. Above all, don’t intentionally cause a reaction because then you’re just being a fucking asshole.
To avoid accidentally startling someone with CP:
- Approach from the front, not the back or the side
- No touching. if you need to get their attention, do it from the front.
- If you do accidentally startle them, just move on. Don’t make a thing of it.