Friday, October 26, 2012



A friend of mine who used to be one of my staff and who now runs a business at our local mall recently asked me if I thought it was OK for a staff person to put their personal backpack on the back of a client's wheelchair as they walked around the mall.

No, it isn't.

You should always consider a wheelchair as an extension of a person's body. You wouldn't even consider just loading your backpack on the back of your friend when you go to the mall... they might find a more creative place for you to put it...  something about a place where the sun doesn't shine. So why would you take advantage of a person who possibly can't speak up for his/herself, or they can't physically reach around and toss your backpack on the floor or in a trash can?

How about if you ask first? Why on earth would you ask a person with a disability to carry your backpack for you? Seriously, you can't carry your own stuff? Then leave your stuff at home!

Don't lean on a person's wheelchair. And for goodness sake, never "go for a ride" in a person's wheelchair.

I know all of this sounds like common sense, but I have seen staff do all of these things. My friend knew the answer to her own question, but she had just seen a staff's backpack on top of the client's backpack as a group wandered aimlessly around the mall. And yes, she is sure it was the staff's backpack.

A little respect goes a long way.

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