A Brief Note on Wheelchair Etiquette

Due to the necessary and intimate often long-term dependence upon it, a brain injury survivor’s wheelchair should in all fairness be considered as having a special privacy attached to it. A wheelchair can often grow to be experienced as an extension of the survivor’s own body. Nearly every time a wheelchair is touched, the survivor using it will feel the contact as well. As a result, grabbing or touching a survivor’s wheelchair without permission can be a cause for significant distress. It is always a good idea to ask permission prior to touching, grabbing, pushing or engaging in  any such activity with a survivor’s wheelchair. This shows respect to the survivor and his or her personal boundaries.
Similarly, it is common for a survivor to keep some form of a bag on the back of a wheelchair in order to hold important items. Again, there should rightly be considered a great deal of privacy as attached to such a bag. Going though the bag without permission shows just as much disrespect as going through a lady’s purse without permission. For the same reason you don’t rifle through someone’s purse without permission, it is important to ask a survivor’s permission prior to attempting to access his or her bag. A simple request for permission will go a long way to ensuring a respectful and harmonious environment.

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org

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