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10 Shocking Things Wheelchair Users Hear Daily

Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on January 19, 2016. 0 Comments

Wheelchair users hear the most shocking and appalling comments on a daily basis. While some take offense to certain things they are told or asked, others have experienced it for so long they laugh about the situation. Unfortunately, society has some crazy ideas and myths about what it’s like to use a wheelchair. The following are common shocking things wheelchair users hear on a daily basis.

1. “Can you get a DWI?”

Seriously? This question is asked more times than wheelchair users would like to admit. While some able-bodied people have a strange sense of humor and are trying to break the ice, others are actually serious when they ask this question. They actually want to know if you can get a DWI while using your wheelchair. The truth is some states actually recognize a wheelchair as a motorized vehicle and depending on the situation can charge the user with DWI.

2. “How do you have sex?”

This question is personal and appalling to wheelchair users. Able-bodied people don’t walk up to each other and ask, “Hey, how do you have sex?” If they did, there would be sexual harassment cases everywhere. Even if you are wondering about it, don’t actually ask the wheelchair user. Honestly, it’s none of your business unless you are in a relationship or planning to be intimate with the specific wheelchair user. You wouldn’t want people asking you about the details of how you have sex.

3. “Have you ever had a flat tire?”

This question is innocent enough, but not necessary. Wheelchairs have a variety of different tire types other than air-filled. Tire types include pneumatic, solid tires and flat-free. Unless you know exactly what the wheelchair tire consists of, don’t embarrass yourself by asking this question.

4. “How do you push that thing without spilling your drink?”

This is equivalent to asking an able-bodied person how they manage to hold a cup and walk at the same time. You learn different ways to do things successfully. Experienced wheelchair users have a variety of methods they use to handle everyday tasks.

5. “Are you lonely?”

This shocking question is rude on so many different levels. First, it implies that all wheelchair users are alone and not capable of having a loving relationship. Wheelchair users are human and enjoy a fulfilled life of romance, relationships, marriage and children. Some are excellent daters and enjoy a very active social life. If the wheelchair user even acknowledges the question and decides to answer, you may find that they have experienced a longer marriage or relationship than you, plus may even have more children than you. Don’t ever assume a person in a wheelchair is lonely.

6. “Do you get to have fun?”

This common question is generally asked out of curiosity. Some able-bodied people are genuinely interested in learning about life in a wheelchair. However, the question is still shocking to wheelchair users. Of course wheelchair users get to have fun! Most public places are wheelchair accessible which is the reason you see wheelchair users at almost every venue, including concerts, theme parks, restaurants and more.

7. “I would rather die than have to use a wheelchair”

Unfortunately able-bodied people don’t seem to have a filter when it comes to speaking out loud. This comment gets heard by wheelchair users frequently. It’s extremely rude and thoughtless. Imagine as an able-bodied person that you are in a car accident that forces you to live the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Would you prefer you died? Really? Using a wheelchair may not be the preference of most people, but you do have your life and you make it what you want. Most wheelchair users have fulfilled happy lives that they wouldn’t change for anything in this world.

8. “Hurry up”

This shocking comment is usually made by strangers who are in a rush and find a wheelchair user is slowing them down or in their way. This rude comment is heard often by many wheelchair users. If you told an able-bodied person who was in your way at the supermarket to “hurry up” you will most-likely be met with a harsh word or two or even a full confrontation. It’s not a wheelchair user’s fault that you are in a rush. If a wheelchair user is blocking your way or slowing down your pace, find a way around them and keep your comment to yourself.

9. “Is your partner in a wheelchair too?”

Well, at least the able-bodied person who asks this question is assuming wheelchair users date and have romantic relationships, compared to those who just think all wheelchair users are lonely. Not all wheelchair users date each other or even know each other. As with anyone in the world, it depends on the person. If the person you are interested in is able-bodied or in a wheelchair it doesn’t really matter. It’s the relationship that is the most important.

10. “Hope you get out of that thing soon”

While it is true that some wheelchair users are able to recover from injuries and illnesses that allow them to no longer use a wheelchair, you can’t assume that every wheelchair user has the same situation. Unless you absolutely know for a fact that a wheelchair user will recover from the issue they are experiencing, don’t ever say this comment.

If you are an able-bodied person who has said any of these shocking things to a wheelchair user, make sure you don’t repeat it again. Surely, you have now realized that wheelchair users are human beings that live a fulfilled life. While wheelchair users do have daily obstacles that you don’t have to think of, there is nothing that stands in their way of living an amazing life. Before you say anything to a wheelchair user, always put yourself in their situation and ask yourself “Would I want someone to say that to me?”


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