Physical Disabilities

There are many types and degrees of physical disabilities and not all require a wheelchair. For example, people who have arthritis, heart or lung conditions, or amputations may also have difficulty moving, standing or sitting. It may be difficult to identify a person with a physical disability. 

Here are some suggestions to help you interact with people with physical disabilities: 

  • Speak normally and directly to the person rather than someone who is with them. 
  • People with physical disabilities often have their own ways of doing things. Ask before you help. 
  • Avoid referring to the disability or using phrases like “handicapped”. 
  • Be patient and be sure you understand their needs. 
  • Unless it is an emergency, refrain from touching any assistive devices, including wheelchairs. 
  • Provide the person with information about accessible features of the immediate environment (automatic doors, accessible washrooms, etc.). 


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