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Sitting disability

A sitting disability is a condition in which a person may not be able to sit, usually due to pain, but can also happen to persons sitting in wheel chairs. It is also known as «reduced ability to sit», «sitting problems» or «inability to sit».

A severe sitting disability usually requires huge life adjustments. It is difficult to eat, to wait in the doctor’s office, to be social and to travel, your life is turned upside down. Society is based on the assumption that people are able to sit.

Sitting disability is in general an unrecognized disability. Even reduced ability to sit is one of the most common disabilities for people suffering from musculoskeletal pain problems.

We know that many people with sitting disability cannot use a recliner like used in the video at the bottom of the page. The point is to show someone laying down. It would be impossible to present all solutions during 30 seconds. Read our websites and go to our support group to read about how to cope with sitting disability!

Friends international is working to raise awareness for sitting disabled and to improve the accessibility and legal rights. It is however diffecult because we are under represented due to our sitting disability. That is why we need the organization Friends International.

What people with sitting disability think

This is how some of our members described society and sitting disability: «I learned how inhospitable the world is for those unable to sit. The world has made a great many concessions to those who cannot walk but it makes none for those who cannot sit.»

It is not easy to lay down in public. Most of our members agree about that. Still, many people have no other way:

«I have my pillow, I’ll discard all my shame and lie down on the floor in public.»

Another member described her life like this:

«This sitting disability makes me feel so isolated from the world, I stay at home most of the time, because it’s so difficult going anywhere, I get so tired and wish i could sit down and rest like everyone else. I don’t want to socialize. Another difficult aspect is that people just don’t understand, because it is an «invisible» disability. You can’t tell by looking at me how much pain I’m in, so people just don’t understand why I have limitations.»

A member told how frustrating it is when people repeatedly ask the same questions about her sitting disability. Our member is actually working, but has to either stand or walk. She had told the person:

«I have a life beyond my back….let’s focus on that for once!» She further told in our support group:
«I just wish people would treat me like a normal human being and talk to me like I have things in my life beyond my ailments.»

One of our members described her problem getting her blood work done:

«I have had a frustrating day, went to the pathologist to get my blood tests done. They have a home collection service for the ‘frail and elderly’ so you don’t have to go in there, but when I called them up they wouldn’t come because they didn’t think I qualified and it wouldn’t be fair on the people who ‘really need it’. So I phoned around to find a place that had beds, this place said they had beds, we asked if it was a bed and not a recliner (because the last time I used a recliner I had a flareup) and they said yes it’s a bed. So I get there, and guess what? It’s a recliner! And they make me stand up after I have gone through a door that I can’t open to get back again, so I end up lying on the cold hard floor while they chat and I beg them to go faster. of course by now they must think I’m crazy, but that’s to be expected right? So now I have Ouchie stubby pains from my thighs to my head.»

Someone said: «I wish for people to understand they don’t need to solve my problem…..if there was a way for me to sit I would say so. If there was a treatment that might work I would have researched it by now. I’m tired of people who have no understanding of my issues trying to tell me what to do to fix it.»

Another member of our group pointed out something really important that I want everyone reading this to remember:

«Main thing I want to say is that it is sometimes possible to heal, at least to a point».

She further said:

«I used to be concerned about people not taking my disability seriously. I have learned that I must accommodate myself because society will usually not. For example, when I need to bend down to pick up something from the bottom shelf of a store, I may not bend down to put it back. You really do have to stand up for yourself or you will be forced to try to do what the able-bodied can do and it can increase your symptoms or even make you worse. I’ve found that people, sometimes even family members will try to play down what you’re going through. Don’t let it get to you. Once you’ve reasonably explained your problem, you owe that person no further explanation.

This is probably the most unaccommodated disability for the amount it could be accommodated. It’s frustrating but other than lobbying for change, the way Mosken is doing, there isn’t much to be done other than to try to accommodate yourself and do not apologize for it.

What’s easy for the able-bodied is usually difficult for anyone with a chronic, discomfort-related disability. Whatever you do, don’t let it make you feel inferior or less of a person. Many people have told me they could not live if they could not do everything for themselves, have a much less quality of life, etc. Those on this forum are not defeated so easily.»

This is how six media students wanted to tell about sitting disability: Sitting disability


Stay updated at Mosken’s sitting disability website. First of all, join our forum!

Don’t miss our sitting disability group on Facebook:

Sitting disability on Facebook

Accessible transport is our right!