Every time I do a disability awareness presentation, we devote some time to "using the right words". I’m far from being Politically Correct (PC) for the sake of being PC, but the fact remains, language has undeniable power. One expression that is used often enough which I wish faded out of people’s consciousness is "wheelchair bound".
What I say at these awareness presentations is:
"I’m not wheelchair bound; I’m not tied to my wheelchair. If I were, I’d hope it would be in a kinky context!"
Then I wait a bit, see the reaction. Some people genuinely find it funny. Others feel they have to laugh but clearly don’t get it. Others yet are just too uncomfortable to react in any way. But it makes everyone consider the statement.
I then explain: I’m not wheelchair bound. I’m not tied to the wheelchair. To use the term "wheelchair bound" implies *limitations*. When in fact, the wheelchair is a tool of freedom. It’s without that wheelchair that I am seriously limited.
So each time I am told I am wheelchair bound, the implied message I get is "you’re in a wheelchair, you’re limited". Yeah, I’m in a wheelchair, it gives me wings!
I know that most people don’t even think about that. And that’s fine. If you don’t have a disability, or don’t know someone who has a disability, chances are you haven’t had an opportunity to think about this stuff. Now’s your chance!