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Thread: Being in a wheelchair makes one feel invisible

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Default Being in a wheelchair makes one feel invisible

    https://themighty.com/2017/01/when-b...eel-invisible/

    What ya think! Sure resonates.

    Course, I donít use a wheelchair, I use an R2D2....


  2. #2
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    I've certainly heard so often that having a child with Downs Syndrome turns out to be a blessing to the parents. This example of open friendliness and welcomeness does not surprise me.

    There are so few examples of wheelchair users in mainstream society, I think it's still considered something to be wary of and uncomfortable around, unfortunately.

    Thanks, Sunshine!

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    I haven't noticed this problem much at all, or maybe I'm aware of it but after such a long time going places in a wheelchair, it just doesn't matter. I liked one of the comments:

    Some people are probably trying to make sure that they don't look like they are staring at you because you're in a wheelchair, so they overcorrect and avoid looking at you at all.
    I don't mean to be dismissive of something that is perceived as a problem but I find that being too visible, even conspicuous,can be a problem too.
    Last edited by agate; 01-20-2019 at 11:51 AM.
    i don't trip--I do random gravity checks.

    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    After my Father had a stroke some of the family had to take him everywhere - to Doctors, Dentist, haircuts, wherever he went. What we noticed was that they (this seemed to be especially true of Doctors) did not often talk to my Dad at all, they spoke to us.

    One time, my youngest brother took him to a Doctor he had not seen before. Out of habit my brother started to answer a question the Doctor asked. The Doctor told him "I want to hear your Father's answer". My brother like him for that. He said finally someone treated Dad like he was a man.

    I don't know if this is the same thing or not, but of course he was in a wheelchair, because we had to wheel him in. Before the stroke, my Father went to all his Doctor appointments alone. My Mother was dead and being only in his 60s he didn't need anyone to take him. We immediately noticed how differently they treated him.

    Agate, I am glad you have not experienced this. My Father never talked to us about it, but we were very aware.
    Virginia


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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginia View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    After my Father had a stroke some of the family had to take him everywhere - to Doctors, Dentist, haircuts, wherever he went. What we noticed was that they (this seemed to be especially true of Doctors) did not often talk to my Dad at all, they spoke to us.

    One time, my youngest brother took him to a Doctor he had not seen before. Out of habit my brother started to answer a question the Doctor asked. The Doctor told him "I want to hear your Father's answer". My brother like him for that. He said finally someone treated Dad like he was a man.

    I don't know if this is the same thing or not, but of course he was in a wheelchair, because we had to wheel him in. Before the stroke, my Father went to all his Doctor appointments alone. My Mother was dead and being only in his 60s he didn't need anyone to take him. We immediately noticed how differently they treated him.

    Agate, I am glad you have not experienced this. My Father never talked to us about it, but we were very aware.
    The person who wrote the article seems to have someone with her most of the time. That may be the difference. Someone propelling his/her own manual chair looks as if everything is just fine while someone with others in attendance looks like someone "incapable." It's not the way it really is, of course--it's just how people have a way of coming to their own conclusions. Wrong ones.
    i don't trip--I do random gravity checks.

    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Distinguished Community Member Howie's Avatar
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    I don't use a chair, but have a Hoveround that's always plugged in. I would think a chair of any kind would make people take notice, but they probably don't let on for different reasons.
    Evolution spans the Universe.

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    When I have used my scooter or the walker people have noticed and gone out of their way to be kind and helpful. Children do ask questions or ask for a ride.

    ANN
    There comes a time when silence is betrayal.- MLK


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    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Before I had visible disability, I was treated as an interesting and capable person. Now, people look everywhere except at me. Doc offices look at me like I am a bit crazy because I do not look professional, and groom myself differently because thats the best I can do

    My take on it is that must be how obviously poor people are looked upon, and also, minorities.

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    I alternate using a wheelchair and other mobility aids and I started noting a pattern. People were afraid of upsetting me or of me viewing them as disrespectful because they kept seeing posts online about ableism and not asking about what caused a certain disability because it violated privacy, and that disabled people try to hide disability, and therefore were trying very hard NOT to be ableist by not talking or looking. I usually talk to them first as a signal that it is okay to talk about disability. I show able bodied people I'm confident about wheelchair and crutch use so they see it as "normal" and treat me with the same level of respect. So we must be careful about how we talk about ableism and realize we often send the wrong message as a disabled community. I think the writer is also right about mortality. I think that able bodied people do see the disabled as human but its a part of being human they don't want to face about themselves. If you notice when able bodied people say we are better dead than disabled its because they think they can't handle being disabled instead of thinking about how we disabled feel.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginia View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    After my Father had a stroke some of the family had to take him everywhere - to Doctors, Dentist, haircuts, wherever he went. What we noticed was that they (this seemed to be especially true of Doctors) did not often talk to my Dad at all, they spoke to us.

    One time, my youngest brother took him to a Doctor he had not seen before. Out of habit my brother started to answer a question the Doctor asked. The Doctor told him "I want to hear your Father's answer". My brother like him for that. He said finally someone treated Dad like he was a man.

    I don't know if this is the same thing or not, but of course he was in a wheelchair, because we had to wheel him in. Before the stroke, my Father went to all his Doctor appointments alone. My Mother was dead and being only in his 60s he didn't need anyone to take him. We immediately noticed how differently they treated him.

    Agate, I am glad you have not experienced this. My Father never talked to us about it, but we were very aware.
    I'm so sorry your father had to experience that! Did your father have aphasia? I noticed people with brain injuries and/or speech difficulties experience this a TON. I think drs talk to caregivers to save time too.

    When I interact with people with strokes now I always make sure to talk directly to them unless the person with the stroke indicates otherwise. I'm always shocked that able bodied people talk to caregivers instead of the disabled person since its so 2nd nature for me especially after my favorite teacher had his stroke and still had authority over me post-stroke.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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