How to Hug Someone In a Wheelchair

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via NorCal SCI
NorCal SCI
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Physical embraces have the potential to be an awkward experience, especially for a wheelchair user. Krystina (a quadriplegic) and Robyn Jackson have come up with the following four techniques to use when attempting to hug a person in a wheelchair.

The Forehead Kiss Hug

Krystina and Robyn demoing Forehead Kiss Hug Technique

“The Forehead Kiss” involves simply putting an arm around the shoulder of the person in a wheelchair and touching heads. You do not need to be forehead to forehead. Krystina and Robyn put the two sides of their head together.

The Lovers Lane Hug

Krystina and Robyn in Lovers Lane Embrace

Krystina says that the “Lovers Lane” hug is for when two people are sitting fairly close to each other, like on a date. Robyn explains how to do the embrace. She says you want to face the person so that your shoulders are facing the front of their body. Always hug the person on the side that is next to you.

Robyn is sitting next to Krystina’s right side, so when she goes in for the embrace Robyn says her head will go over Krystina’s right shoulder. The person who uses a wheelchair may not have full movement. Robyn suggests going all the way in for the hug, wrapping your arms around them, like a normal hug.

The Hijacker Hug

Krystina and Robyn demonstrating the Hijacker Hug

Robyn jokes about the name of the “Hijacker” hug by saying it looks as if someone is coming up behind the person in a wheelchair to ‘hijack’ them. Robyn is behind Krystina as she wraps her arms around Krystina’s shoulders. Robyn’s hands meet below Krystina’s chest, around Krystina’s stomach, close to her hips. Krystina raises her hands above her head, and wraps her arms around Robyn’s neck. The pair then touches heads, cheek to cheek.

The BBQ Hug

Krystina and Robyn demonstrating the BBQ Hug

The “BBQ” hug is for when you are at a social gathering catching up with someone. Robyn places her chair catty cornered to Krystina’s wheelchair. Robyn simply goes in for a hug and wraps her arms around Krystina’s upper body. Robyn scooted her body close to Krystina’s chair, so that Krystina could easily wrap her arms around Robyn.

“I know a lot of people when they go into hug me, they’re very apprehensive,” says Krystina. Robyn and Krystina say don’t be weird when it comes to hugging a person in a wheelchair!

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