Inappropriate Questions: What Not to Ask

By The mobileWOMEN Team

OK, let's face it. Often when you use a wheelchair for mobility, you are a target, for not only staring but sometimes, for very strange or inappropriate questions. Most people have good intentions but sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder why they think it's OK to ask these questions.

Often it stems from a lack of knowledge when it comes to disability. Sometimes, it feels like you are a rarely-seen mystical unicorn! Gradually, this lack of representation is changing with more inclusion and diversity in the media, television shows etc. but we still have a long way to go.

When on the receiving end, sometimes you just need to roll away but ideally it is best to try to educate people and help them to understand that we are just the same as everyone else. Once they see the commonalities that exist between us, those barriers will gradually disappear. It is our hope that this article can be a learning tool towards that goal, so please share with your able-bodied friends.

That being said, we approached some mobileWOMEN contributors and asked them to share a few of the strangest (or most inappropriate) question(s) that they’ve ever been asked.

"Were you injured because you were hit by a train?" asked the woman who walked across the hall from me.
   "Ummm, no."
   "Oh because I once heard about that happening to someone and I thought it might be you."
   "No, wasn't me."

“Do you know my friend so-and-so who is also in a wheelchair?”

mw Comment: One in five people have a disability so there are literally millions of us. We do not all know one another and we all are unique, in every way. It’s kind of like meeting someone who is Chinese and assuming that they must know your Chinese neighbor!

My Hurricane Shelter Experience with Tips

By Kirsy Rodriguez

Around this time last year, I experienced staying at a shelter for the very first time. Something that I honestly never thought I would have to experience.

You see, prior to moving to Florida three years ago, I lived in Brooklyn, New York. Hurricanes in that part of the country are very rare and the closest that I’ve ever come to experiencing a hurricane, was when Hurricane Sandy came to the New York area. I was in a safe area so we didn’t have to go to a shelter. Not that that option was even in my thoughts, honestly. As many New Yorkers, I just prepared very much like I did plenty of other times during blizzards; I stocked up on food (mainly junk food), water, flashlights, extra batteries and a few candles, in case we lost power.

When I moved to Florida, I learned that hurricane season is alive and well in this part of the country and that stocking up on the essentials is great, but I also needed to have a secondary plan. That secondary plan involved knowing where my closest wheelchair accessible shelters were, in case we were going to be hit by a major hurricane.

Our first lesson in staying at a shelter came last year, during Hurricane Matthew. My family and I, honestly didn’t know what to expect and you can say that we were a little underprepared when we went in. I guess that always happens when it’s your first time experiencing something new like this. This year however was a little different when we went to seek shelter from Hurricane Irma, and we have Hurricane Matthew to thank.

So with that said, below I will share with you my top personal tips when going to a shelter. My prayer is that you never have to use these tips but in case you do face such a situation, I hope that these points may be of some help to you in being prepared and knowing what to expect.

Gadgets for Independence Series: Beauty

By Wendy Crawford & Kirsy Rodriguez

Some of you may have been following our “Gadgets for Independence” Series for those with limited hand function (although these gadgets can make life easier for anyone!). So far,  we shared with you some helpful gadgets that are specifically for cutting items like packages, paper, envelopes etc. and gadgets to be used in the kitchen.

For our next “gadget” topic, we have chosen an extremely important one, especially with the upcoming holidays which will be here before you know it: Beauty :-) Let’s face it. There are some tasks that you want executed just right and can not easily be delegated to others and this is one of them! Typically, most aides don’t have the background or experience to be a hairdresser or makeup artist. That’s where Youtube videos and some helpful gadgets can help you to achieve your “beauty vision”. Being independent can be empowering and liberating!

We have compiled a list of some of our favorites that cover makeup, nails and hair. We haven’t  tried all of them yet, although looking forward to giving them a shot! We do not receive any reimbursement for promotion.

We would love to hear your suggestions too so please share them on our Facebook page. If you are not a member yet just send us a request and we’ll be happy to grant you access.

Universal Grips
To start, we’ve listed some universal grips that can be used on any handles whether it’s for beauty tools or other purposes in your daily life.

Foam Tubing for Grip: These inexpensive cylindrical foam tubes come in various diameters which can be cut with scissors to desired length to increase grip for makeup brushes, mascara, eyeliner, hair brushes etc.

Hand Grip: This universal sleeve can be used on utensils like hair brush, makeup handles etc. It can be easily removed and reused throughout the day.

Often I’ve resorted going to a nail salon even though I just need my nails cut and filed. This can get costly and time-consuming. We searched around to find these options that with a little patience and practice, could do the trick! (Note: Those with no sensation, need to be extremely cautious.)