And while they obviously don't speak for all people with disabilities and their experiences, these tidbits are interesting and important to keep in mind. Here's what they said:
1. "Just because I’m in a wheelchair, it doesn’t mean I can’t walk. And no one thinks it’s funny when you fake gasp and go, 'They can walk!' when I stand."
2. "There are different disabilities with different severity. A person who parks in a handicap space and walks into the store could be disabled and doing the shorter distance because it helps them not be in pain. They are still a disabled person, even though they're walking. Not everyone with a disability uses a wheelchair. With different severity of disabilities, we have our limitations and do the best we can."
3. "Don’t start pushing someone’s wheelchair without asking first. That would be like going up to someone out of a wheelchair, picking them up, and putting them somewhere else."
4. "Stop using that baby voice. Disabled adults are not children, so stop treating us as such."
5. "When you park blocking the pavement, it means I need to backtrack until I can find a ramp to the road. Then, I have to go along a road to get around your car, often causing screeching brakes as drivers just notice me, all the while praying to God that there will be a way for me to get back onto the pavement without having to drag myself."
6. "Disability fluctuates from one environment to another and from day to day so no, we are not pretending. Yes, I heard you in that other small room, when we were having a one-on- one conversation, but now that we are in a much bigger place (open office, gym center, street etc.), I can't easily pick out words you say. I hate it when other people think that a disability is stable everyday and everywhere."
7. "'I cant turn my head' doesn't mean it's hard for me to. It means it's physically impossible to. I've had multiple people tell me to 'Try harder.'"
8. "Chronic pain is real. It's not like having a headache for two days. It's exhausting. Yes, I may be doing something that I enjoy, but it will take me several days to recover. No, I can't do a desk job, because sitting in a computer desk chair is genuinely quite painful."
9. "I don't use my mobility aid every second of every day. That doesn't mean that I don't really need it. When I walk a little unassisted, I'm not magically cured. If someone takes their glasses off, do you assume they can suddenly see perfectly and don't need them, and were probably faking the whole time? No. Same thing with my mobility aid."
10. "I'm riding in the electric cart at Walmart/Food Lion because I have a weak left side of my body from having a stroke."
12. "That you cant 'just' do anything. People with chronic fatigue can't just sleep and get energy. People with chronic pain can't just meditate their pain away. People with learning disabilities cant just try harder."
13. "Those line marked spaces next to the handicap parking are for people to build wheelchairs or other aids as they get in and out of cars, not for you to park in so you're 'totally not in the handicap parking space when you run in for a few minutes.'"
14. "I'm not 'lucky that I can stay home all day and not work.' It's doctor and therapy appointments every week, several times a week. It's coping with symptoms — it's lonely and isolating. As my therapist said, 'Taking care of my health is my full time job.'"
15. "I have tried every non medication-based 'cure' out there. Diet and exercise is NOT going to make me magically less disabled."
16. "Don't touch a person with a disability without asking. It doesn't help and can be very dangerous for the person. You can always offer, but don't force it or get mad if the person refuses."
Did they miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!
Responses edited for length/clarity.