Friday, January 20, 2012

Left Out Phenomenon

Lately when pushing Ben in his wheelchair, people I know, say hello to me and not to Ben. And if you are thinking, they might be saying hello to both of us, think again. They are using the words, "Hi Vanessa." And yes, they know Ben's name.

It is easy to depersonalize a situation when someone is in a device that is passive, like a stroller or wheelchair. I do believe that if Ben was in his walker, he'd be acknowledged.

I have not figured out a diplomatic way to handle this yet, but I will. If you have a suggestion, feel free to send it my way.


  1. we deal with this same issue and I have yet to come up with a good way to remedy it.

  2. So your pushing Bens rocket sled down the street and "Aice" walks by and says "Hi Vanessa!" Without missing a beat (And before you say anything else) you say "Say Hi to Alice Ben!"
    Now maybe Ben won't do that ... but if you do it religiously, EVENTUALLY Alice is going to say "Hi Vannessa, Hi Ben".
    Betcha! XXX

  3. Roger - I have been toying with that very idea and since you suggested it, I will try it. Thanks for giving me the extra push I needed!

  4. Just got another good idea on how to respond, "Ben, look who it is, Jane X." I may try that one too. I think a more passive approach is better so that people get the hint without feeling attacked. Thank you for the ideas.

  5. I was going to suggest the same idea Roger had. Maybe it is a winner!

    I have to be intentional when I greet Ben or others in "devices" and it's hard. I wonder why our brains shut out some people when our heart NEVER would...nor does it want to!


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