Wheelchair Etiquette

Don’t touch or reach for a person’s wheelchair unless you have their permission

Their wheelchair is considered as a part of their personal space, so it could be an invasion of their space if you try to touch their wheelchair without any given consent. A wheelchair should also never be seen or used as a toy by non-wheelchair users. Always ask first before touching their wheelchair.

Don’t assume they need your assistance unless explicitly asked for

If they don’t ask for your help and you do it anyway, this may give them the impression that they’re incapable of doing anything. Helping them with everything makes them feel helpless and lose their sense of independence. Instead, let them take care of themselves and only help when they request it.

Speak directly to the person, not their wheelchair

Whenever you’re having a conversation with a person in a wheelchair, you should always try to make eye contact with them. If you need to, sit down so that it’s easier to make eye contact. It lets them know that their conversation and presence is valued.

Be courteous about wheelchair accessibility

It’s important to be mindful of everyday circumstances that may be difficult for people in wheelchairs. Some common examples can include:

Be respectful

Most importantly, you should always treat those in wheelchairs with respect. Their wheelchair shouldn’t undermine the type of communication and interaction you have with them. Following these wheelchair etiquette tips will help to ensure that you don’t say or do anything that may offend someone in a wheelchair.

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