Here are some of the typical daily challenges faced by wheelchair users:
1. Older buildings with small doorways or corridors or no elevators. Most parking lots are very difficult to manoeuvre through. Simple things like shopping, visiting friends or relatives become a really difficult and complex task very quickly.
2. Uneven and rough terrain especially with sloping ground make moving manual wheelchairs almost impossible.
3. Public transit. Getting on and off a bus that is equipped with wheelchair equipment can be tedious and time consuming and that is for the ones that do have the equipment. It will be impossible otherwise. Accessing different levels of the transit system especially if there are no elevators or if they are not working.
4. You might easily walk over the gap getting on a train or sub way but for a wheelchair user crossing that gap can be very tricky and there is always the fear of getting your wheels stuck.
5. Wheelchair users don’t have a choice but to sit which can present the problems of muscle cramps and pressure sores. Either affliction can be a great source of discomfort.
6. Since wheelchair are below the normal or expected line of vision, motorist, pedestrians and other road users can present a danger if they don’t see the wheelchair user quick enough to react. This almost blind spot has caused many accidents involving wheelchair on the street and sidewalks.
7. Absence of Wheelchair Friendly Public Toilets makes it even more difficult for Wheelchair Users to move out.
8. The last and probably the biggest challenge is the attitude of society to wheelchair users. Those without physical disabilities might find it difficult to see through the eyes of a wheelchair user. Some typical reactions to wheelchair users include being talked down to, being totally ignored or thinking that the wheelchair user can do more for him or herself.
Now that you are aware of some of the challenges that wheelchair users face, hopefully you will be more accommodating and helpful if the need arises. Help make the world a safer and more wheelchair-user friendly place. Most of us will need or might end up in a wheelchair at some point in our lives!