Using a wheelchair and children staring.

Sarah1984 Community member Posts: 43 Contributor
edited September 2018 in Everyday life
I was born with Scoliosis. I can walk but i use a wheelchair a lot when i go out somewhere. It is a wheelchair that someone pushes me in. Sometimes children stare at me. I think it is because of the wheelchair. Parents should teach their children about why someone has to use a wheelchair, then they might not stare. Is there anyone else that uses a wheelchair? Do you get stared at?

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  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community member Posts: 7,935 Championing
    Hi @Sarah1984
    I use a powered wheelchair while at rehab during the week and a standard wheelchair at weekends when I'm at home. I've noticed that when I'm in the powered wheelchair that I focus so much on steering it then noticing if anyone is staring. When I'm in my standard wheelchair which has to be pushed, I take more notice of people staring especially children. If it's just one or two that stare I don't mind but when there's loads staring within a short amount of time then I get angry and upset. 
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,665 Championing
    Thanks for sharing @Sarah1984 - I will check out your blog!
    Senior online community officer
  • DavidJ
    DavidJ Community member Posts: 55 Empowering
    I accept what you are saying with regard to being stared at .
    I have used an EPV for quite a few years and am rapidly approaching 70 
    I tend to wear a bright yellow hi-vis jacket and call it my “invisibility cloak” .If I’m out and about I have developed a thick skin which allows me to use the pavement just like everyone else , whilst at the same time avoiding pedestrians ! I find that yes children do stare and their parents pretend not to see you ! If it’s a small child I make the joke to them about my engines bigger than yours or something like that . Or maybe they just can’t get over how handsome I am . It’s my way of dealing with it as well as giving them the through stare as if they are not there. 
    Min shops it’s the other way around . The parents or any adult for that matter tend to look over your head as if they don’t see you and the kids are just curious .I know it can be daunting out and about @ Sarah1984 but you have the same rights as everyone else to use the space your in  , just make the most of it 

  • Zeezee
    Zeezee Community member Posts: 78 Empowering
    Hi Sarah1984, My daughter is four and half and uses both a manual wheelchair and a whizzybug (tiny electric wheelchair) and she does get stared at a lot whichever she is in. It's not surprising when she's in the electric as it is designed for children aged 14mth to 5years and is bright red with eyes and a smiley mouth. But she is stared at just as much in her manual wheelchair and it does drive me crazy sometimes because when some of the children are staring she says hello thinking they want to be friends and then they look at her in shock and fearful, completely ignoring her attempt to make friends and continue staring at her. That really breaks my heart. I don't mind when children ask questions I answer their questions while encouraging them to engage with my daughter instead of me. Sometimes their parents apologise for their childs forwardness but I say there is no need to apologise its best for children to be educated as young as possible and I stop them from scolding their toddlers when they touch the wheels. Seriously you put a wheel with Elsa from frozen the size of the child in front of a toddler they are going to touch it lol. It all depends on peoples actions and attitudes staring and dragging a child away like my daughter's disability is catching. Not good. But looking and speaking to my daughter and me that is fine. It's just a shame that wheelchairs for some reason get a fearful and ignorant reaction from so many people I do dread my daughter realising that not everyone is looking at her cos she's four and cute.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Trailblazing
    I have used both scooter and manual wheelchair and have been stared at but the problem isn't just on their side. Why should the staring bother us anyway? Everyone is different, we are just different in a more visual way. We are also a minority and so should expect some odd reactions. We have to learn to use one of two approaches, either learn to ignore it completely or to react positively to it.

    Often I will go out of my way to engage with those that stare and show them that I am really not so different and I never let their reaction bother me because it isn't particularly important to me. They will accept me as I am or they will not, the loss is mostly theirs if not.

    People simply do not talk about things openly in most countries and therefore, the first time encounters, there will always be awkwardness. We must teach children to do two things. Never be frightened of someone who is different, just careful. We must also explain carefully to those that do suffer that they will get such responses at times and teach them to be confident dealing with it.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,581 Championing
    Thanks for sharing @Sarah1984 :)