A man wheels himself into a bar. “Ouch!” he thinks, “Who put that bar in my path?”
A man wheels himself into another bar. He asks the barman for a drink but cannot be understood due to his speech impediment. He goes home and watches TV on his own.
Another man wheels himself into a bar. He asks the barman for a drink. While the drink is being poured they engage in banter about football. Others at the bar join in and go on to invite the man to join them at their table but he has friends to meet elsewhere in the pub.
Hopefully, these bar stories provide some idea of why I find my difficulties in communicating far more frustrating than being unable to walk.
There are exceptions, but nowadays most public buildings are accessible to people with mobility issues and my powered wheelchair enables me to get where I want to go (especially since I got a drive-from-wheelchair van) but communicating with people on arrival is a big barrier.
I don’t often frequent pubs, I prefer watching football and motor racing. I am involved with raising funds at Chester FC and managing websites relating to a saloon car championship based in the North West of England. Thanks to social media (and due to attending these activities for many years), I have got to know many people at the Deva Stadium and Oulton Park so it is very frustrating that communicating with them is so restricted when I meet them face to face.
Things have greatly improved since I undertook a course of speech therapy during 2021 – which was a trial project prior to launching Saluto – The Speech Therapy Charity. People can understand more of what I say which, in turn, gives me more confidence to try and engage with those around me.