Quit (Intentionally) Startling People With Cerebral Palsy

Published: Jan 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:

  1. Approach from the front, not the back or the side
  2. No touching. if you need to get their attention, do it from the front.
  3. If you do accidentally startle them, just move on. Don’t make a thing of it.