Ok, I thought I was going to wait for a video (my friend is giving me a good one) until I posted again. But then this gem happened.
Let me start off by saying that I work as a dog walker. Which basically means me and my aide go to a client's house and I chill outside while my aide gets the dog (there are usually steps in the house). My aide then straps the leash to my chair and we go on our way.
Today when I was waiting outside for my aide to bring down the dog, this woman appeared out of nowhere and asked me "Do you need to get up there?" (there meaning up huge flight of stairs). I shook my head "No" (I do this very exaggerated with new people/strangers so they get it). I hoped she would go on her way, but being a concerned citizen she said "You shouldn't be in the middle of the road!" For the record, I was on the shoulder of a very quiet road. I just looked at her. Then she grabbed on to the handles on my chair and said, "Lets go to the park," (there's a park on the other side of the street) . She then proceeded to try and push me in my 300lb motorized wheelchair (which would not have budged). I, getting sick of her, just wheeled myself over to the other side, with her in the back thinking she was pushing it. My aide came down and heard me laughing hysterically. The woman just said, "Oh, are you here for him?"
"Uhh yeaaaah??" my aide replied, very confused by the situation.
"Oh, I saw him in the middle of the road so I moved him!"
And then the kicker, she said in a very serious tone, "What's wrong with your little boy?"
My aide replied, "There is nothing wrong with her. She has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. She can't talk but she understands and fully capable."
Apparently overwhelmed by her good deed, she said, "Oh well he just loved it when I was wheelin' him to the other side. He was laughing and smiling!"
"Uh, Huh. Well we're dogwalkers, sooooo she waits for me."
And then my aide tied the leash to my chair and we took off as she gave me a BIG special wave. I was cracking up. Now I know that lady was doing what she thought was a wonderful thing to do, but this is a prime example of treating people with disabilities as kids. She should have backed off when I gave her the signal I was fine. I have a power wheelchair and if I wanted to move it, I could.
You might be asking yourself, "Well, what do I do if I see a disabled person that might be in trouble?" While our friend here initially did the right thing, which is ask the person, she didn't listen or look for an answer. Even if you don't understand their response (which is totally understandable) you can ask them to show you a 'yes' and show you a 'no'. If you totally can not understand them or decipher their style of communication, its okay to say,"Hey I'm sorry but I don't understand your method of communication. I am going to hang out next to you until someone comes or I know you're good, hope you don't mind."
Here's another tip, there are certain things you can look for that will tell you if this a person that has accidentally wandered out into the street, or is this a person perfectly content to hang out by themselves. For example, my chair is covered in stickers that say things like "Well behaved women rarely make history," etc. This should tell you that I am most likely an adult feminist woman and not a little boy.
My next post is going to be really really good!