Crushing Wheelchair Assumptions- The Hilarious Disability Stigma continues!

G’day friends and welcome to another week and another blog!!!

I hope you enjoyed the last disability stigma blog post last week! The one this week is honestly my favourite topic in the disability space! Why? Because it is hilarious! That is assumptions around a handy thing called a Wheelchair!

This honestly provides the best entertainment when I go out in public. So lets get cracking shall we??

Firstly, staring is so not cool!!

a monkey staring into his own reflection in a mirror
sorry i just had to! not saying you are monkeys but i mean isn’t he cute! Photo by Andre Mouton from Pexels

For long shopping trips, or simply if I feel fatigued and don’t want to risk falling on my face again, I will take my scooter or wheelchair to hoon around on. I mean drive like a sensible law abiding human..  

The reason that this provides hilarious entertainment, is when I get out of my scooter to go into shops, or get into the car.

If I had a dollar for every time someone gawked and almost pull a muscle in their necks from staring at me, I could retire happily now!

The looks I get when I do that is second to none. People are either completely shocked or horrified or amused. Either reaction, is just as funny as the other.

In a world where disability is considered a minority (even the stats will show you that), of course it is expected to have some people look at you every know and then. However, my friends, that doesn’t mean it should be acceptable.

However, as sad as it is that people think it is so ok to stare at someone and nearly run into a wall, it does something positive. Well I think anyway. Given we are a minority, by staring they suddenly see a different way of life they don’t know about.  It may be the first time they have ever seen someone like me, and of course it would be strange to see.

I am serious about nearly running into walls. I have seen people nearly run into others, walls, a poll or even stopped dead starring at me.

The best example is when I was in Sydney. If I have shared this story before I need to share it again because it is just so good! I was leaving a restaurant and an elderly woman decided it was appropriate to stare and keep staring at me. So much so she stopped dead and kept staring as I walked past and kept staring for another few minutes. I was only 13. Times like that is when it gets uncomfortable.

The looks even get better getting out of my wheelchair or scooter to go into shops. I reckon it is almost a biblical experience for a lot of people. I swear sometimes I should say to people ‘oh yes I can still walk’.

The looks of disgust are incredible. However, I am choosing to think they are thinking ‘how dare a young woman use a mobility aid and take it away from someone older who needs it’.

I really should come up with something clever or funny to say…. What would you say?

People of all ages can use a Wheelchair and Scooters!? Shocker!!

me and my family at the Beach Volleyball in 2018. I am in my wheelchair with an Australian shirt and jeans with a grey jumper. My family is next to me wearing Australian supporter shirts.
loved this night at the beach volleyball!

That flows perfectly into this next topic. Just a few months ago, I had just finished a physio and EP session, and we needed to duck into the shops briefly. Since I was a bit tired from the gym, I decided to use my scooter as I didn’t have my wheelchair handy. The one thing that didn’t occur to me was the fact that I was in active wear and sneakers. So let just say the looks I got was more than usual. Just think, a 21 year old in a mobility scooter, in active wear. Yeah I would have looked to.

See that is the thing. I reckon due to people not being taught about disability, they tend to think that disability or wheelchair using is one way and one way only. But boy you are wrong!

So, the stigma breaking here is simple.  The fact that mobility scooters and the like are apparently marketed or often seen used by older folk, means that anyone seeing a 21 year old in a sooter is mind boggling.  So, let me just say it now, no scooters are not only for senior citizens, yes just because we are in one doesn’t mean we can’t walk and yes a 21 year old can have one. There, conversation done. NEXT!

All in all my friends, misconceptions are just that! Misconceptions! It is all about broadening our horizons! Nothing is always what it seems. Assuming that a 20 year old can’t have a mobility  scooter is like assuming a 70 year old can’t run a marathon…. Ok they may be completely different things but you get where I am going with it!

However, my message is simple. Educate, and please don’t stare at me like I am Pennywise.. Unless I have spilt lunch down the front of me or I am rocking an awesome outfit. Then by all means!

Do you stare a bit too much that it is on the verge of being freaky? Why do you stare at people? And How much educating have to done around disability?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend friends

Rhi xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.