What not to say to a Person in a Wheelchair

Thought I would repost this as I have been in a wheelchair since I fell and fractured my pelvis a week ago.

From Tiffany Carlson at the Mobility Resource ...
Spend a week or a decade in a wheelchair, chances are you’ll be asked some pretty crazy things. And I get why –people are uncomfortable around things that are different, especially wheelchairs. ... If you don’t want to make a fool of yourself the next time you’re around a wheelchair-user, read on for the top ten things to never dare say or ask to a wheelchair-user.
  1. Slow down there. You might get a speeding ticket.
  2. What happened to you?
  3. How fast does that thing go?
  4. Do you know so and so in a wheelchair too?
  5. Is your significant other also in a wheelchair?
  6. I’d rather die than be disabled.
  7. You’re good looking for being in a wheelchair.
  8. Good for you.
  9. Can I ask you a personal question?
  10. Hey speed racer. Can you pop a wheelie?
If only more people remembered we are still human with normal functioning brains (I know, hard to believe), then a list like this wouldn’t be so necessary.
Read the rationale behind Tiffany's list here.

-originally post September 30, 2013


  1. Replies
    1. Sometimes people just say what they are thinking Alice.

  2. I cannot imagine saying ANY of these things to someone. I do know that my daughter, Suzette found even the reality of having to use a wheelchair very disheartening. I would give anything to have her here to push in that wheelchair!!!!!

    1. Susan, I think some of the most insensitive things were said to Ann years ago at our old church. I used tell her that the folks who regularly came over (uninvited) to pray really needed her to pray for them. This spring a guy was praying on the sidewalk by the market a few blocks from where we live. He asked her if she wanted prayer. She said no. Then he proceeded to yell a prayer at her as she rolled away. Sometimes you just have shake your head and ask God to open their eyes.

  3. I don't use a wheelchair (yet) but I have people asking me questions I hope they didn't. They may think they are showing concern but they need to realise that it is a personal thing.

    1. So true Pearlie. Insensitivity has no limitations.

  4. I can't believe people say these kind of things. I guess not knowing what to say dulls the brain and out comes crazy stuff. Why does one have to say anything? Just talk to them as you would any friend.

    1. Good advice Sue.

      Someone jokingly asked me this week if I could pop a wheelie.


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