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Wheelchair Etiquette - Disability Awareness

  • Published: 2009-02-01 (Revised/Updated 2015-01-02) : Robin Kettle (-).
  • Synopsis: Explains the rules of etiquette when talking with a person in a wheelchair and people using guide dogs.

Main Document

Quote: "Don't assume that using a wheelchair is in itself a tragedy. It is a means of freedom that allows the person to move about independently."

Always ask the person using the wheelchair if he or she would like assistance BEFORE you help. It may not be needed or wanted.

The first rule of etiquette when interacting with people in wheelchairs, or power chairs, is to remember that one should not focus on their disability. Instead, focus on the person.

Another rule of etiquette is the act of shaking hands, even if their limbs are limited in use. Focus on the person, not on his or her disability.

People who use wheelchairs have varying capabilities.

Some person who use wheelchairs can walk with aid or for short distances. They use wheelchairs because they help them to conserve energy and to move about with greater efficiency.

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