Well, I can tell you what not to do! Don't wait until the day you are meeting in person to just let them find out like I did when I first met my now wife....
I was in my first year of college and we met on, wait for it...…AOL! Yes those dreadful chat rooms with real quirky names like pinkdolphin1981, hockeyboy10, or petlovers! I don't know how I found her in the middle of all of that but obviously I did and we hit it off! Within a couple of months we were setting up an in person date and I too was hit with that question. When do I tell her I am in a wheelchair and will she care?
I was so scared the whole time! I didn't say anything until she came to see me! SURPRISE! hotwheels coming thru! In all seriousness, I should have told her when we started talking, looking back now. I know it would not have made a difference knowing how beautiful of a heart my wife has, but back then I was self conscious and afraid. Now, almost 20 years later I can tell you what I believe I should have done and in a follow up to this post I will ask Kate, my wife to post about her experience when she first saw me and her thoughts.
For now here is what I will say. Be honest, be honest with yourself and to the one you are interested in. If Kate had come that day and looked at me and walked away that would have been harder for me to take then a early, " I'm not looking to be with someone in a wheelchair" type of response. Be honest, and incorporate it into your talking points, like its something so natural (which it is) that you overlook it completely as a topic that would get in the way of a relationship with you.
Joe: So are you excited to meet up for dinner? I am really looking forward to getting to know you better.
Sally: Yes, would you mind if I make the reservation? I just want to make sure the restaurant is wheelchair accessible. If you would prefer to make the reservation, can you please just make sure there are no steps to enter.
(leave the conversation at that, unless the other person brings up questions. If you over emphasize that you are disabled or in a wheelchair it may make the other person feel uncomfortable initially. Give them time to come to terms with the news that you just presented to them and then move forward naturally)
That is just one example, there are many ways to tell someone. I also have a soft spot for not telling them. If its truly not an issue and they like you for you, your disability should not impact their decision. But I have to be honest, I often have that I wish I could dance with my wife feeling and I wish that for her too so maybe giving someone the option is the best way to go. What do you think? what are your experiences like?