mobility impairment

A rude thing that people do to wheelchair and mobility scooter users

So, here’s a thing that happens a lot:
  • Someone rides a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a room that has many chairs in it
  • They want to sit on one of those chairs.
  • Several people, trying to be helpful, dart in to remove the very chair they wanted to sit on

This is very annoying.

  • Especially when it happens several times a week
  • Especially when the people who dart in to remove the chairs are very proud of themselves for Helping The Disabled
  • Even more so if they don’t understand “actually, I want to sit in that chair”, and keep removing it anyway
  • Even more so if the person has to physically grab the chair they want to sit on to prevent it from being removed
  • (And sometimes people react badly to being corrected and become aggressive or condescending)

Do not do this annoying thing.

  • Instead, find out what the person you want to be helpful to actually wants
  • People who use mobility equipment are not actually glued to it
  • And different people have different preferences about where they want to sit
  • You can’t know without asking them
  • (You can’t read their mind, Some people seem to think that mobility equipment transmits a telepathic call for help regardless of the person’s actual apparent interest in help. Those people are wrong. You have to actually ask)
  • You can’t know where someone wants to sit unless you ask, so ask
  • One way you can ask is “Would you like me to move anything?”

If you forget to ask, and make the wrong assumption:

  • Recognize that you have been rude
  • And apologize, and say “Oh, excuse me” or “Sorry. I’ll put it back.”
  • This is the same kind of rude as, say, accidentally cutting in line
  • Or being careless and bumping into someone
  • This is not a big-deal apology, it’s basically just acknowledging that you made a rude mistake
  • People make and acknowledge rude mistakes all the time with nondisabled folks
  • The same people who say “excuse me” when they bump into a nondisabled person, are often completely silent when they do something rude related to someone’s disability
  • Being on the receiving end of a lot of unacknowledged rudeness is degrading and draining. Particularly when you see that the same people who are rude to you without apologizing say “sorry” and “excuse me” to people without disabilities they interact with
  • Do not be part of this problem
  • When you are inadvertently rude to someone who has a disability, it’s important to acknowledge and apologize for it in the same way you would for any other inadvertent interpersonal rudeness

Mobility impairment and worship

karalianne:

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to impossible to rise and kneel during the Mass. Simply not rising or kneeling and not doing anything alternative is an option, but that leaves her out of the collective show of devotion, in which she’d like to participate.
realsocialskills said:
On the communal level, it can help if whoever is leading the services says something like “please rise/kneel in body or spirit” to acknowledge the participation of people who can’t or shouldn’t kneel or rise.
I’m not sure about on the individual level, what someone can do to symbolize their intentions. I suspect that it depends a lot on the culture.
I wonder if it would work to lean forward when people kneel, and to sit up particularly straight when people stand? Then she would be moving in at least somewhat the same direction. I don’t know if that would have the symbolic weight that she wants it to have, though.
Are any of y’all Catholics with mobility impairments? Do you have ways you’ve found to demonstrate respect during the Mass when others stand or kneel?
Have any of y’all who are from any religious background in which body positioning you can’t do safely is part of your tradition found alternative symbolism that works for you?

karalianne said:

Leaning forward for prayer and sitting up straight for standing is what people at my church do (most of the people who go there are retired, and many of them are elderly).

My dad usually invites people to “sit or kneel as you are able” to allow for those who can’t kneel, and he also brings the Sacrament to people who are unable to approach the rail for the Eucharist.

(We are Anglican. It’s similar to Catholic but may not be close enough for this to be an option that priests would even consider. Also, I don’t go to my dad’s church, he lives in a different city. But he’s always done what I said above. He’s an Anglican priest.)

nyxbyproxy:

evred-harvaldar:

Mobility impairment and worship

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel?…

nyxbyproxy said:

At my Catholic church, it was generally accepted that the old, pregnant, and sick were not bound to perform tasks that were too physically taxing for them. Bowing your head and closing your eyes is enough.

Tangentially related, this is also true for Russian Orthodox services. If you are incapable of standing up for the entire service for health reasons, there is a bench in the back.

occoris:

Mobility impairment and worship

realsocialskills:

Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to…
occoris said:
I was raised catholic and generally what we would do if we weren’t feel in it that day (at least for kneeling- mom would usually be okay for standing up but kneeling was tough) is we’d grasp our hands together and lean forward and place them over the pew in front of us and bow our heads, and that seemed to work okay, because it would put our hands/heads more on the same plane with everyone else who was kneeling. I’m not sure how to handle standing, though!