Monday, March 2, 2009

Helping the Disabled - Some Dos and Don'ts

I originally posted this on my previous blog, on June 25, 2007:

Since I've been disabled, I've been fortunate to interact with a lot of people who want to help me. A heart-felt thank you from me, to each and every one of them. Sometimes the help, though well intended, is not so helpful. The help is always given with the best of intentions, but sometimes the end result is not so good. All of these situations have happened to me.

I'll Get That for You
Please, continue to help, but rather than automatically doing it for me, ask me if I need help. Sometimes, I may be struggling to accomplish something that you can do quite easily, like picking up an item I dropped. You can pick that item up faster, and easier, than I can, but sometimes I really need to pick that item up myself, just to re-affirm that I can still do certain things.

Ha, ha, ha! You Don't Need That Cane (Walker, Wheelchair)
Yes, you are trying to get me to smile, and that can be a nice thing. However, I do need my mobility device, and I'm not particularly happy about needing my mobility device. I will always smile, and welcome, a friendly "hello".

The Arm Grab and Drag
I do move slowly. Please do not grab my arm and try to pull me along at a faster pace. Even with you grabbing my arm, I cannot move at a faster pace. The end result is always my having a sore spot on my arm, or I fall, or we both fall. Please respect my person, and my personal space. However, in emergency situations, please feel free to snatch me up, throw me over your shoulder, and run like crazy.

I'll Take That Walker Out of Your Way
My walker may seem like it is slowing my progress, but it is actually keeping me from falling over. I appreciate that you want to be helpful by getting things out of my way, but I really need to keep my walker.

Yes, I have had a surprising (to me) number of people snatch my walker away from me in an effort to help. I am left stranded, until I explain that I need my walker in order to move without falling over.

Let Me Help You Up (Down) Grab
I can really use help maintaining my balance, especially in a situation involving stairs without hand rails. But, please do not grab my hand, wrist, or arm and pull. We are both likely to take a tumble. Be certain that you are standing in a stable position, and offer up your forearm for me to hold on to. And, please understand that we will have to move at my pace (very slow) rather than your normal pace (much faster than I can manage).



  1. Oh, great post! You've inspired me to write my own. Hmm, I'll have to think about it...

    Any healthy types dropping by, I'd like to say that your helping us really is seriously appreciated--even just an offer of help is an incredible boost on a bad day. So don't fret too much about getting right, ok? Just offer and listen to the answer. We love you!

  2. Thank you, Carapace! Being told that I inspired someone is a great compliment.