Sometimes I feel beaten down by the constant effort for inclusion.
When you have to ask if your child can be included it means that people have already excluded them. Whether that is intentional or not, it hurts.
The last week or so has been incredibly difficult. Since the day my son faked illness in order to get out of seeing a film at the cinema, despite wanting to see it, just because our city centre doesn’t have any toilets he can use, I have struggled. Really struggled.
How can this happen? It was some time ago that I had written to the town council and I am still hurt by their response.
To know for three years that you are excluding people but to do nothing about it is just beyond my polite words.
And that lack of caring is still causing my son to be excluded, to suffer emotionally and to feel that he doesn’t matter.
We struggled this week on a trip to Bristol for an important spinal appointment.
The Changing Places toilet at our carefully planned stop was out of order due to a broken lock on the door, so we had to go off route to find another. This should only have added an extra 40 minutes to our journey but it added an hour as there was no signage anywhere to advertise where to find it. Even once inside the building, there were no signs.
And then I attended the Loo Of The Year Awards!
“Wow!” I hear you say – yes I do live the high life!
I was invited as a guest of Cornwall Services (according to my son it is a top tourist attraction – simply because of their hoist assisted toilet) and I was very hopeful that they would win.
A little timeline reminder of just how much Cornwall Services value all people.
I was very excited when the “Space to Change” category was announced as, surely, this kind of customer service should be recognised?
I was beyond disappointed. Not because it didn’t win but because the “winner” should never have been placed in the Space to Change toilet category as it had no hoist! It was incorrectly in the category for something it isn’t and then somebody (my mind fails to comprehend this part) actually judged it to be the best! Did that person know anything about the category???
A Space to Change toilet MUST have a hoist and changing table or it simply isn’t one.
So many campaigners feel so very let down by this.
Not only does it undermine the campaign but there is a facility proudly advertising itself as something which it is not. People may visit because they have seen the facility has a Space to Change toilet and then find that they are unable to use it. Yet it won an award!
Credibility may not matter to the the Loo Of The Year awards team, but it matters to me.
And it matters to my 10 year old son.
Campaigners have been trying to get this issue into the mainstream media but do shows like This Morning really care about issues of inclusion? I don’t think they do.
I came across a chap this week who has barely left his home in 10 years, because he had just the incident in a cinema that my son was so scared of.
And I feel hopeless.
What can I do to make life better? All ideas gratefully received.