Wheelchair serve as indispensable mobility aids for individuals with certain physical disabilities and challenges, empowering them to lead unreservedly independent and engaged lives. Nevertheless, a dearth of knowledge and awareness leads to misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the use of wheelchairs. In an effort to dispel such fallacies, we will present to you some essential facts about using a wheelchair in this article.
Encountering someone using a wheelchair may lead to erroneous presumptions about their abilities and lifestyle. Such assumptions can inadvertently cause discomfort and disappointment for the wheelchair user. Therefore, it is crucial to broaden our understanding of the diverse types and designs of wheelchairs before delving into the essential aspects of wheelchair usage.
Wheelchairs are mobility aids used by individuals who have difficulty walking or standing. There are several different types of wheelchairs available to accommodate a wide range of mobility needs, including folding wheelchairs and handicap wheelchairs. Folding wheelchairs can be easily folded and transported, making them ideal for travel. Handicap wheelchairs are designed for individuals with mobility impairments and can be customized to fit the user’s specific needs.
Other common types of wheelchairs include manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, transport wheelchairs, and sports wheelchairs. Manual wheelchairs are self-propelled and require the user to move the wheels by hand. Power wheelchairs are motorized and controlled with a joystick or other input device.
Transport wheelchairs are lightweight and designed for short-term use or travel. Sports wheelchairs are specifically designed for use in athletic activities and come in a variety of styles to accommodate different sports. Furthermore, if we talk about wheelchair price in India, it may vary depending on the type and features of the wheelchair. The basic models may start at around 5,000 INR.
Returning to the topic at hand, let’s examine the following eight significant facts about using a wheelchair to eliminate any misunderstandings and prevent any unwarranted presumptions:
People in wheelchairs are not “bound” to them
Contrary to popular belief, wheelchair users are not “wheelchair bound” all the time. The chair is simply a device that enables them to move their bodies from one place to another. In fact, using a wheelchair can indeed be liberating and empowering for the person using it.
All in all, each one of us should remember that not every individual who uses a wheelchair needs to use it all the time. There are many conditions that can cause chronic pain, fatigue, or mobility issues, and some days the affected person may choose to walk while other days they may choose to use their wheelchair. So, it’s important to keep in mind that the use of wheelchairs is not always attributed to physical disabilities.
A wheelchair is part of its user’s personal space
Many individuals who use handicap wheelchairs for specific purposes consider these chairs as extensions of their bodies; thus, personal space etiquette applies to them similarly. It is deemed inappropriate to rest one’s feet on the chair, lean on it, or use it as a substitute armchair. Also, touching or moving someone’s wheelchair without their consent is an infringement of their personal space, regardless of whether the chair is vacant or in use.
Don’t assume someone who uses a wheelchair needs help
It is understandable to want to assist someone who uses a wheelchair, but many of these individuals are capable of carrying out their daily activities independently. If you come across such an individual and believe they may require assistance, the best course of action is to ask if they need any help.
If they decline or indicate that they are capable of managing, it’s crucial to respect their response and avoid pushing the issue. Show kindness and gentleness by stepping aside and allowing them to proceed with their tasks.
Wheelchair users can have fulfilling sex lives
Numerous people with disabilities, including wheelchair users, lead active and satisfying sexual lives. Although certain disabilities can make “traditional” sex challenging, there are several ways to adjust and explore intimacy. Props such as wedges, sliding chairs, and swings can simplify sexual activities, and a wheelchair can be a useful tool with a bit of creativity and imagination.
A wheelchair doesn’t mean one can’t dance
Individuals who use wheelchairs often encounter assumptions and barriers in society that prevent them from participating in activities that others take for granted. Dancing is a form of expression and a way to let loose and have fun, and wheelchair users are no exception in their desire to engage in this activity. Many wheelchair users have adapted their movements and found ways to participate in dance, either through wheelchair dance or dancing while seated.
If you come across a wheelchair user at a club or party, it’s essential not to assume that they cannot participate in the festivities. Instead, invite them to join in on the dance floor and respect their decision. It’s important to make adjustments for accessibility, such as ensuring the area is free of obstacles and providing a designated area for wheelchair users.
It is important for all of us to understand that people with certain disabilities or challenges have the same desire for social interaction and enjoyment as anyone else. Let’s break down the barriers and create a society where everyone can participate in activities such as dancing, regardless of their physical abilities.
Wheelchair users too have friends and family, not just “caregivers”
The utilization of a wheelchair by an individual does not necessarily imply that they are consistently accompanied by their caregiver or assistant. Wheelchair users have a social circle that includes friends, partners, children, parents, and siblings, similar to anyone else. So it’s really important to avoid assuming that someone in a wheelchair is always accompanied by their caregiver.
Wheelchair users can drive
Several vehicles can be customized to accommodate individuals who use wheelchairs for driving purposes. This involves raising, repositioning, or replacing the foot pedals with hand-controlled devices, while certain cars have docking devices that enable the wheelchair user to stay seated in their personal chair while driving.
Reserve accessible parking spots and toilets for those who require them
Accessible parking spots and toilets are necessary for some individuals, such as wheelchair users. So one must use them only when necessary, as they are limited. It is unlawful to use an accessible parking spot without a permit and inappropriate to use an accessible toilet if not needed.