In part two of this blog, here are some more ways you can make the world a better place for individuals who use power wheelchairs or have disabilities. Read part one here.
Check on Your Disabled Loved Ones
Another way to make the world a better place is to check on your disabled neighbors, friends, or anyone else you know that needs help. Offer to bring them groceries if they can’t get out to the store themselves, or if you know a child who can’t afford to buy a toy, maybe a gift would make his or her day. If it’s a parent who has a disabled family member, offer to help or babysit for a night so they can get a break. If a friend is complaining all the time, just know that everything he or she telling you is probably the half of it. People feel so much better when they have someone to talk to who doesn’t judge them and just listens. Make an effort and be a good friend. Even a text to reach out makes all the difference. Show them that you care and they are not alone.
Inclusive and Accessible Gatherings
The world would a be great place if people were more inclusive of those with disabilities. Invitations to birthday parties, school events or to sit with you at lunch makes people with disabilities feel included and less conscious. Show support for fundraisers and walks and if you can, make a donation. You might not know a lot about the disease, but your support means the world to individuals with disabilities.
When it comes to public places, there are things we can do to make them accessible! Restaurants, movie theaters, parks, and stores should always have an accessible area in case anyone needs it. I’ve had to sit out from so many outings because my motorized wheelchair couldn’t go somewhere. My heart hurts when I see people parked in accessible parking spots and they don’t have a wheelchair or disability. It causes so much frustration because we must always search for an accessible parking spot that isn’t taken. Please don’t park in the spots reserved for those who really need it.
COVID-19 and People Who Use Power Wheelchairs
We’re all struggling with everything going on in the world today and the coronavirus is the scariest thing ever. If you thought you were scared, imagine those who have disabilities and compromised immune systems or those with respiratory complications. Their lives can be taken away in a minute if they catch the virus. These same people can’t live their lives and go outside because of those who choose not to wear masks.
Our life depends on you wearing a mask. Although it is your choice, please follow guidelines to keep yourselves safe and protect individuals who are at a higher risk of becoming very sick. If this virus has taught us anything, it is that life is short and can be taken away in a minute and it’s terrifying. This is the reality of those with compromised health issues every single day for years. Let that sink in. Please be aware, be kind and be present. Bring joy to those around you. We couldn’t be with family for the holidays but at least you can make it count for something. We can show the world that COVID-19 won’t bring us down. It will bring out the best in us and make us stronger…together.
About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.