People can be incredibly judgemental about people who use mobility aids. They think you are cheating if you suddenly get out of your wheelchair, scooter etc, that you are faking it (often the thought extends to thinking you are lying to get benefits). Disabilities are complex, and they can fluctuate so one day you need your wheelchair to get around, yet a week later you can manage some walking without it. For example, I use a mobility scooter so that I waste less energy getting from A-B, say to the supermarket, so that I have energy to do the task, such as shopping, or meeting a friend for lunch.After all, you get in and out of a car, a bus, a plane. Sometimes you use a bicycle, other times a train. These allow you to do everything, from getting to and from work, to travelling the world. They help you live your life, to be able to do the things you need or want to do. How is this any different to someone who gets in and out of their wheelchair?
People with any type of disability are frequently criticised for ‘relying’ on their mobility aids. Yet no-one questions the reliance on cars or public transport. In fact, any type of transport, anything that helps you get from A-B, is a form of mobility aid. Hell, your legs are mobility aids! Just because cars are ubiquitous, doesn’t make them any less a mobility aid than a wheelchair or walking stick.
So next time you see someone getting in and out of their mobility scooter, or you find you sometimes see them with a walking stick and other times they aren’t using it, before making any judgements, just remember, cars are mobility aids too.
I’ve created this simple poster (I’m no designer!) to try and express the above. Feel free to copy, use it, share, etc.
My thanks to my dear friends Kate and J-P, whose discussion with me about whether I should get a mobility scooter or not, brought up the idea that cars are mobility aids too yet no-one questions this. This idea totally changed my perspective and getting a scooter has meant I’m much less house-bound or reliant on my partner. It’s literally changed my life.