I have a question.
When talking with someone in a wheelchair my natural inclination (in the absence of a chair I can sit in) is to take a knee and get down to roughly their eye level so they don't have to keep looking up. However this always seems a lot like when you crouch down to talk to a four year old and I worry about looking condescending.
So which do I do?
My preference is for the person to just take a step back (so I'm not looking straight up). This also solves my issue of personal space. People generally measure personal space from face to face, but since I'm not on the same level, it screws that up. So people end up standing very close to my knee, which is not fond of being touched.
I don't want anyone else dislocating their kneecaps to be on the same level as I am.
I'll add my husband's POD to this. About the only thing he likes about his wheelchair is being eye level with children. He loves children and we never had any, which turned out to be a good thing because our plate is full. He wishes he had a Segue (sp?) just so he could be eye level with adults.
I'd like to thank the perceptive doorman on that steep San Francisco street who saw me struggling with my husband's wheelchair and ran over while asking me, "Can I help you?" I had just told my husband that we had to stop, my hands were cramped up and I couldn't hold the chair any more. Being a stubborn man, he said, "No, it's just another block." No, honey, we're not goin' make it another block! If that kind doorman hadn't rescued me, I would have let go & DH would be at the next block before he knew it. I really appreciated that the doorman asked ME if he could help ME! DH was gonna need his help in 5 seconds, but I'm the one who needed his help at that moment. If he had asked DH, DH would have said "No," and I would have let him go!
No - I wouldn't "let" go, but I couldn't hold on & he just would not accept my limitations.
For the record: DH has had sacroilliac joint disfunction for 14 years and lost the sight in his left eye last year. In addition, he has mild adult ADHD. I have fibromyalgia, partial deafness, and my shoulder/back was permanently injured in a car accident. We think we're doing OK for a couple old crips
I would roll my eyes at anyone who called us "differently abled" or "alternately abled." Tell me again, what ability did DH gain when he lost his eyesight? Yep, he's still bitter 'bout that.