This is important – so please take time to read it and spread the word. There follows the text from a string of tweets by Dr Amy Cavanagh (Twitter: @BlondeHistorian).
To all my non-disabled followers please spread this message. Just because someone uses a wheelchair doesn’t mean they can’t walk or move. Wheelchairs are mobility aids & they are used for so many different reasons! Disability is not a binary.
Do you use glasses? Do you assume all people who wear glasses have the same prescription as you? No of course not! So why would you assume all wheelchair users are totally paralysed? Or all guide dog owners are completely blind? Disability is diverse & we are all different!
Disabled people use mobility aids like crutches, canes, wheelchairs, assistance dogs & walkers for so many different reasons. But primarily to assist their mobility & independence! Using a wheelchair can give freedom of movement to someone who can only walk unaided sometimes.
I didn’t use a white cane for 28 years because I thought I wasn’t allowed, or didn’t deserve it. I had internalised the message that mobility aids were only for some disabled people. This meant I struggled for my entire adult life. I was constantly exhausted & in pain & I hid it.
I internalised the message that disability is a binary, that to use a white cane when I wasn’t totally blind was a lie! I would be faking. This message harmed me & took away my independence. Now I use a white cane I’m happier, more confident & safer! But I still get judged.
Stop punishing disabled people who don’t conform to your narrow ideas of disability! Don’t whisper about us or point at us, don’t abuse or harass us. We’re using our mobility aids to make our lives better & your narrow minded judgement only makes people hide & struggle.