“Wheelchair bound” is a pretty commonly used way of describing someone who uses a wheelchair.
But it’s all wrong.
This is “bound”:
this is also “bound”
This is yet another “bound”
and this is “bound” to a chair!
Here’s a wheelchair:
It’s got these round things on them called ‘wheels’
So the wheel actually liberates the person who rides in it – it’s enabling, it’s access.
It’s getting someone where they want to be.
Here’s a person who uses a wheelchair to do stuff he wants to do:
He’s not “wheelchair bound” – see any ropes there?!
Now, this guy is actually “wheelchair bound”
He’s got the chains!
This guy doesn’t –
He was just a guy who used a wheelchair to get around.
And solve little puzzles related to black holes.
This guy is “wheelchair bound”!
So, unless we see people who are actually roped in and bound to a wheelchair they are sitting in, “wheelchair bound” is just blatantly inaccurate.
People who use wheelchairs to get around are just that – “wheelchair users,” as in, “she’s a wheelchair user.”
Originally published on Sept. 15, 2014
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.