Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by RaySharpton, Oct 7, 2018.
Agree. Out of handicapped, disabled or physically challenged, I prefer disabled, or wheelchair user. Dislike wheelchair bound.
But as a group, it wouldn't make sense. How would you label an area made for wheelchairs and other issues? Or try to organize a group? If you wanted a soccer team, you'd ask for soccer players, right? So the most appropriate label would be one that was clear.
Ray's point is that he is a person first. Even a group of people are just that, they are people first. It isn't an "area made for wheelchairs," there are people in those wheelchairs.
I love that!
I see this from both sides. I travel with a power chair assisted young lady from time to time and there is a difference between seeking a label for a person and attempting to find a descriptive term that is also not inadvertently offensive.
To my friend, Aisling, because of her dark sense of humour and our years of friendship we often throw descriptive terms back and forth that neither would dream of using more broadly. In fact, in that comic strip I suspect she would have answered, "cripple" just to see the reaction.
At the same time, if I'm making resort reservations and want a better shot at a ground floor or room close to elevator, I can't just say, "Can we request a ground floor room? My friend's name is Aisling." So a bland term like 'mobility challenged' is useful.
It is so refreshing to read all of your comments. Especially after seeing and reading all of the political news lately, I wish that our world could speak as civil as all of you guys do. You guys make me happy and you guys bring a smile to my face. Thank you. Ray
But there is a difference - a difference between "a power chair assisted young lady" vs. "a young lady who is power chair assisted." Or, how about, "My friend, who is traveling with me, needs a ground level room because of mobility challenges.
This is my biggest soapbox. A person is a person first, whatever their challenges. I don't like to be or want to be defined by my challenges.
Yes, I get that. I've always made it a point to make eye contact and acknowledge a person using a mobility device. I work with kids who use them. But don't shame a person for asking how another person in a wheelchair wants the classification of a disability to be named. If no one had spoken up, we'd still be using the term retarded for all kinds of disabilities, wouldn't we? I just think it's never wrong to ask someone what they prefer in reference to a situation.
And I get it - this was supposed to be about acknowledging the person in the wheelchair. It just came across as a bit condescending to me. But then, I've only had to use a wheelchair for a short time. As soon as I was in it, the nurse looked over my head and gave my care instructions to my husband. She had been with me the whole time, and I was just suddenly invisible, or helpless, once I sat in the wheelchair. So I get it.
what I really don't like is being referred to as a wheelchair, which happens often in transportation situations or even on the street. "Watch out for the wheelchair!" "A wheelchair is getting on the bus." Recently I got to the airport and the desk agent announced "my wheelchair has arrived!" It may seem nitpicky, but I'm not an object. I am using a wheelchair. It's not much extra effort to say person in wheelchair or wheelchair user or even wheelchair passenger when appropriate. And others talking only to the walking person you are with is really annoying. On a recent vacation my son was addressed instead of me most of the time, even when I asked the question. When I am by myself and no other choice but to address me, people act normally most of the time.
I have reluctantly come to be comfortable using the phrases "mobility challenged" or "differently abled" to describe my needs when making reservations, etc. Perhaps someday that distinction won't be necessary.
Thanks for posting that Ray - I needed that chuckle tonight!
I honestly prefer not to be labelled. Use my name if you know it, or my name sign or M'am. I am not my challenges. And please speak to me directly not through a family member. I love my husband's answer one time when he was asked what I wanted to eat."I don't know. Ask her."
Separate names with a comma.