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Ed is a Wheelchair-user, What Do I Need to Know?

Many people have questions about how to interact with Ed and other individuals who are wheelchair users. Here are a few common-sense guidelines to help ease fears.

Ed's wheelchair is part of his personal space. It is as intimate as a necklace or glasses. Do not lean On the Wheelchair.

Remember that Ed is a person. When referring to Ed, use people first language such as Ed is a person with cerebral palsy. Do not refer to Ed as a CP or cerebral palsied individual.

Treat Ed as an adult. Never pat a wheelchair user on the head.

Ed transfers to chairs, to his car, and bar stools with little or no assistance. Never interfere without asking if assistance is wanted. Never move a wheelchair out of the owner's reach.

When talking for any length of time to Ed, Sit down so that both of you can talk at eye level.

When approaching Ed from behind, identify yourself or wait until you can be seen before you begin talking. People who use wheelchairs generally cannot look backwards easily. One of the rudest things you can do is approach from the back, lean over a person, and force him to strain to look upward.

When approaching Ed in a hallway or on a sidewalk, allow enough room for you to pass each other comfortably and continue on.

Never use or block accessible parking spaces or curb cuts. Ed needs the extra wide space to unload safely.

Ask Ed if he needs or wants assistance. Sometimes stairs, curbs, doors, and other architectural designs present problems and help may be appreciated. Ask before assisting. Allow the person to give you directions on the best way to help.

To a person without a disability, a wheelchair is often a symbol of helplessness and confinement. To Ed, it is just the opposite; it is a means for mobility and independence.

For More Information Contact: Ed Turner