I came across an article today re-posted by one of the official pages for one of my disabilities which repeatedly described a person as wheelchair-bound.
I really hate this term.
It’s full of negativity and implications that wheelchair use is holding people back. In an ideal fantasy world, would I be able to walk freely with no pain, dislocations, fainting or issues? Of course but that is not my reality and it will never be. A dream is not comparable to real life. So, what do I have to draw from? In my real life, I have a wheelchair that enables me, it does not disable me. It helps me to move. It helps me manage fatigue so I can be the kind of involved mother, wife and member of society I strive to be. It brings me freedom.
A wheelchair is a mobility aid, I am not bound to it.
Would I have been less hesitant to be assessed for a wheelchair if they had far less negative connotations in society? Definitely. Would I be less nervous to go out as a new wheelchair user if people weren’t so vocal about being able to free me from my wheelchair, cure me or flood me with pity and sorrowful looks? Yes, 100%.
Language matters and here is a great link on inclusive language to get started with. Speaking openly with disabled people really helps, too.
My Lith-Tech Smart Chair 1XL is fantastic. I hope if you feel nervous or worried about progressing to wheelchair use because of societal taboos and non-inclusive language that this blog post can help you see a more positive side to disability aids.
We all need a bit of help sometimes.