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Etiquette for Use with People Who Have Mobility Impairments
When you are with a person who has a mobility impairment:
- Look at and talk directly to everyone with whom we converse.
- Be at eye level with everyone with whom we speak, if possible.
- Ask how we can best help when assisting a wheelchair user to go up or down a curb.
- Move crutches, walkers, canes, or wheelchairs only with the permission of the user. Return the devices as soon as possible.
- Ask if and how we can help in buffet lines.
- Respect everyone's individual space. Do not lean on someone's wheelchair.
- Allow children to ask questions and allow the person being questioned to answer.
- Ask "May I help?" when wanting to be helpful. And if given permission to do so, ask "How may I help?" Unsolicited assistance is rude and intrusive.
- People who use wheelchairs are "wheelchair users", not "confined to a wheelchair".
- Grasp the push handles tightly so that the chair does not go too fast when helping to guide a wheelchair user down an incline,
- When assisting a wheelchair user go up or down more than one step tilt the wheelchair back at all times while descending or ascending the stairs.
- Learn the location of wheelchair-accessible ramps, rest rooms, elevators, doors, water fountains, and telephones.
- Relax and smile! Very few people (even those with mobility impairments) bite! (That's a joke.) Everyone responds to a smile and a warm "hello".