When you are disabled, not being too concerned what people think of you is incredibly important. Sometimes there will be tasks that are difficult and you will have to adapt them and it won’t look pretty. In those situations, you adapt for functionality not because it looks pretty. I will give you a few examples.
Getting in a vehicle- Some disabled people have wheelchairs so they have a lift which allows them to get in their vehicles without a problem. Not all disabled people have a vehicle with a lift so getting in a vehicle that is higher up is quite challenging. For someone who walks with crutches getting into a vehicle without handles to grab onto is almost impossible. I use the handles to pull my body up into a vehicle so if they weren’t there I would need help getting in.
AB workouts- You might be wondering what AB workouts have to do with functionality. Well, in order for me to be able to pull my entire body up in a vehicle I must have a strong core. No, I don’t do AB workouts because I want six-pack abs! I do them so I can lift my entire body weight in a vehicle and reduce the number of times I fall.
Corrections- Abled people sometimes try to be helpful and show you a better way to do things but in reality, it may not be a better way. Don’t be embarrassed to tell them their way is actually not easier. They are only trying to be helpful, sometimes they don’t realize they are actually not being helpful. Sometimes if you live with an abled person and they know you really well they may be able to help you find easier ways to do some things, but most of the time an abled person’s way is not easier. If an abled person gives you advice on an easier way to do something but actually isn’t easier you just need to politely tell them your way is easier. They probably didn’t realize their way was harder. Sometimes something may look weird or strange so people will try to correct you so it looks ‘normal’ you just need to tell them they are making your life harder by doing that.
Staring- People will stare, especially if you are doing something they have not seen before. Try and not let it bother you, there is no reason to change what you are doing because someone is staring. Chances are if you did change what you were doing to try to make it look ‘normal’ they would still stare. If it is making your life easier there is no reason to stop doing it because someone is staring at you.
Some abled people try to give disabled people tips on how to makes their lives better but sometimes their tips are not helpful. If you are disabled and an abled person gives you a bad tip you just need to tell them but be nice about it. They are just trying to be helpful. You are the ultimate expert! Abled people just tell you what they think would be helpful but don’t know from experience. Unless you tell them they will never learn what is easy for you and what isn’t. If you have any questions about functionality while being disabled please leave them in the comments below!
Life with Spina Bifida is a personal blog that is all about my life with a disability, chronic pain as well as encouraging hope and positivity for those who are suffering. You are not alone!