Social skills for autonomous people: Social skill: Places you might be in the way



If you’re on the train/bus, the disabled seats are there for a reason; don’t use them if you don’t need them.

Elevators get full of people who can walk up stairs and then people who can’t have to wait and wait and wait. If you’re using elevators, pay attention to whether this is happening.

Accessible toilet stalls often get occupied by people who don’t need them and take forever using them. If you can use the regular stalls and regular stalls are available, don’t use the accessible stalls.

People block ramps all the time by hanging out on or in front of them. If you’re hanging around a ramp, pay attention to whether you’re in the way of someone who needs to use it.

Regarding elevators, also do not assume that because someone can walk that they are rudely using the elevator out of laziness. For example, I am young and look fairly healthy. Although I can walk perfectly well on level surfaces, I have some problems with my knees and feet that can make walking up stairs (or even inclines) quite painful. Often, I sense that people are judging me when I use the elevator, particularly if I use it to go up just one or two floors. I often end up forcing myself to struggle up the stairs because I don’t want people to think I am just being lazy by using the elevator.

Sometimes, I have to wear a brace on my foot because of these problems, which provides a visual cue that there is something wrong with my foot. I don’t really like it when I have to wear the brace because it’s an inconvenience, but the one thing that’s good about it is that people don’t sigh impatiently at me for taking the elevator up just one floor.


That’s a reason it’s important to be mindful of not blocking accessibility features, even when you don’t see anyone who seems to need them – not everyone who needs them looks like they need them.