Mobility Aids Are Freedom
Many people use mobility aids. These include canes, crutches, walkers/rollators, wheelchairs, etc. They are common things you can come across every day. I use my cane a lot when I am out of the house, as it helps me to stand and walk for longer periods of time.
People make comments
However, when using a mobility aid in public, people often stare and whisper as you go about your day. Some people comment on the age of mobility aid users. Other people comment on the types of aids used. People can also comment on the physical appearance of the person using these aids. There are several other negative and mean things people can say when it comes to using mobility aids. I think the most troubling part is that people act as if disabled people shouldn't occupy space in public. Specifically, as if disabled people shouldn't occupy the same spaces as abled people. It's crazy how something as simple as a tool or device that helps people move around has become so politicized.
It frustrates me because other disability-related products and aids, like glasses, weighted blankets, fidget spinners, speech-to-text technology, and more, are not stigmatized the same way. These things are the norm. They are simply helpful things that often don't get a second thought. Mobility aids are stigmatized because of ableism and the fear of being disabled. When you are not exposed to disability in any form, it is easier to ignore the hardships disabled people face. More importantly, it is easier to ignore the role you might play in our ableist society.
They give people freedom
Like it says in the name, mobility aids are things that aid in mobility. They are tools that give disabled people freedom. By this, I mean that these aids make doing things more accessible. Each aid helps a disabled person to be independent. Using these aids helps them complete their activities of daily living. Activities like running errands, going to appointments, meeting loved ones, social outings, etc., are much more doable with the help of mobility aids.
Touching someone's cane or pushing their wheelchair gets in the way of a disabled person's autonomy. It is like grabbing someone's arm and moving them around without asking. Mobility aids are a large part of the disabled experience. And each person feels different about their disability and the aids they use. Mobility aids help disabled people live. They give them the support they need to do things. Not having mobility aids would further isolate and ostracize disabled people from society.
Tools such as these can be the difference between being able to do things or not. Mobility aids are tools of freedom and independence. They are a part of life. They are normal. And disabled people should be able to live as freely and openly as any abled person.
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