T9 or Paraplegic? How To Understand The Lingo of The Wheelchair World

November 18, 2015 | 5:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

I thought I’d introduce you to some handy terms. You may know some of these already, but hopefully we can teach you a new thing or two about wheelchair-related lingo.

Transferring: Any wheelchair user is familiar with this term, which is very self-explanatory: we’re talking about transferring from a wheelchair to somewhere else. This term is important because transferring is one of the biggest challenges a wheelchair user will face. In fact, we’ve blogged about it before.

Paraplegic (not to be confused with quadriplegic): A paraplegic person has lost the use of their lower extremities, which usually means they have no feeling from the waist down. If you’re familiar with etymology, then you probably realize a quadriplegic has lost the use of all four limbs (since quad=four).

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act): This is the law that helps make your life much easier. In a nutshell, the ADA requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals, and combats discrimination against hiring or serving disabled people. You’ll often see it referred to as simply ADA. You can find out more information about the ADA here.

T9 and T9 Complete: The T9 refers to the ninth thoracic vertebra, which is a portion of your spinal cord. When you lose feeling below this vertebra, you have a T9 injury, and if you lose complete feeling below that area, you are then considered T9 complete.

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