Getting out and about
Taking trips as a family will take some planning and preparation but there is nothing that isn’t possible, from going to restaurants and cinemas, to going on holiday in this country and abroad and travelling on public transport.
The Moving Forward series includes an extremely helpful booklet called Leisure Activities, Holidays and Travel which should answer many of the questions that you may have in relation to getting around.
Some family members say they have been made to feel uncomfortable because their relative is stared at by people who are curious and possibly insensitive. Being stared at can feel unpleasant and intrusive and there may be days when you are all particularly sensitive to comments or looks. Your initial reaction may be to tell people not to be so rude, but in time your relative will find their own way of speaking out for themselves, voicing their own thoughts and reactions in public or simply ignoring the stares.
There is no doubt that if you and your relative are happy and smiling and engaged in conversation, passers by will notice the smiles not the wheelchair.
The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is now running a free two-day training course in self advocacy for people with SCI at many of the UK SCI Centres.
Your Voice is specifically aimed at equipping SCI people with the skills and confidence to successfully self-advocate in order to get what they want to live independently. This includes knowing their rights and overcoming the barriers they may face in accessing services based on their needs.