Disabled people like going on adventures just as much as any other person. We just happen to sometimes come with a set of wheels. Yes, we are aware that the process of taking apart, loading, and reassembling our wheelchair or scooter can be frustrating, time consuming, or awkward, but it’s what helps us feel like we can be included and it shouldn’t be what keeps you from inviting us places.
Sure, some places you invite us may not even be accessible, now why is that? Let’s face it, our world isn’t inclusive to everyone’s needs no matter what our abled friends and family may think. When they made plans, they weren’t wondering if the bathroom was up to ADA code in that cute sandwich place downtown or if the trail they were thinking we could scoot or roll along with them on was paved or the dreaded gravel.
We’re well aware that it’s part of getting older, not being able to hang out and see our friends we once saw every day while growing up. There comes a time when the ones we thought would be there aren’t. And that could be because of a number of things, but when we’re not included because of our disability, it hurts and we hope it shows.
Wondering what our surroundings will be like are constantly on our minds whenever we’re travelling somewhere new, hence the reason why we might be late to respond if you invite us to a place we’ve never been before. Will it be easy to find parking close to where we are going or will it be some round about way that turns up not being accessible? It may seem like a burden to you if we keep asking questions like how late you plan on staying or if we can reschedule to a time when we’re not so tired, but these questions will help us feel more comfortable and more at ease once we arrive to our destination.
The invites gradually fade when we’ve responded “no thank you” or “maybe some other time” too often, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to keep being invited places. Fear of not being invited or included can sometimes be the reason why we’re so hesitant to reach out when we know our friends are planning something or when we know a special occasion is coming up.
When we can’t control how we’re feeling mentally or physically due to a disability, we tend to stay in an environment where we feel comfortable, but give us time. We still want to be included. Show us that you’re thinking about us and want to hang out when we’re ready or able. We’re always up for something entertaining and accessible is key. Deep down we’re still your fun loving, happy go lucky best friends that you’ve always had even if our bodies might not physically be able to do what they did before.