A Wheelchair, like a shoe it is a mobility aid that enables a person to get around. Wheelchairs users are restricted by an environment that has been designed for able-bodied living.
Here are some important tips when assisting a wheelchair user:
- How you can provide useful support to the wheelchair user
- When talking to a wheelchair user try to put yourself at their eye level.
- Never assume a wheelchair user needs assistance, always ask.
- If your offer of assistance is accepted, always listen to how your support can be more effective.
- Whenever possible talk directly to a wheelchair user if you require specific information, not the person they are with.
- Always maintain good eye contact.
- If you park next to a car with a disabled persons parking disc, leave at least 1 meter between cars. This space may be needed for loading and unloading a wheelchair.
- Offer assistance with heavy doors, but don’t barge in assuming you know best.
- Communicate with the wheelchair user at all times to establish if and how much support is needed.