Excluded due to disability…

From a party FOR disabled children???

Christmas is party time!

Unless “your disability” cannot be “accommodated”.

But I don’t want my son to be “accommodated”.

I want him to be welcomed!

People are used to the medical model of disability, which suggests that Adam is disabled because his body doesn’t do certain things. That possibly sounds reasonable to you.

Does it?

It is true that his body doesn’t do certain things and that is why he has his wheelchair, but this funky device ENABLES him!

So much so that he is often too busy to pose and smile for the camera!

So consider the social model of disability – that a person is disabled by the built environment.

When a doorway has steps, my whole family is disabled by them. None of us go in.

But when a doorway has a slope, we can all go in.

If a department store only had an escalator, we would all be disabled by it.

When the department store has a lift we are all able to access it.

It is that simple!

And the Christmas party?

Adam was unable to attend a Christmas party which was organised JUST FOR DISABLED CHILDREN!

Was he unable to attend because “his disability” means that he needs a hoist and changing table to access a toilet?

NO!

He was unable to attend because the organisers hadn’t truly thought about children with complex physical needs and they had booked a venue with inaccessible toilets.

I was deeply hurt.

And I am used to hurt! I have held my child whilst he sobbed “because I can’t stand up”, spitting out the words like they burned him. I have seen the fear in his eyes as he awoke from surgery to discover his whole body was encased in a plastercast. I have argued for his inclusion in mainstream school. I have pleaded for him to have the equipment he needs to live a full life and I have watched as other children grow independent and my child still needs me for everything.

I am well aware of invisible disabilities but why does it always feel that those with the most obvious, in your face, impossible to hide needs are the ones who are ignored?

These are children who can’t meet Santa at a theme park or country house because there are no facilities for them. These are the children who can’t go into town for the day to shop, have lunch, go ice skating and meet Santa after, because the facilities are dire!

But when an event is being organised for disabled children it shouldn’t be that way.

It is time children stopped having to be responsible.

The facilities are known about.

They are not massively expensive and I am told that there are ways to offset costs against taxes.

All it takes is willingness.

And for organisers of events like this one to think ahead, to make a point of contacting venues to ask them to become accessible and for them to only book venues which are.

Otherwise, these venues continue to think that they are meeting the needs of everyone.

 


THIS is all that needs to be added to a toilet large enough to turn a wheelchair in.

Surely most places can find Room in the Loo?

Room in the Loo?
When this is all that needs to be added to a toilet large enough to turn a wheelchair in, surely there is Room in your Loo?

 

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Excluded due to disability…

    1. They should have been thinking ahead. Comments left on the Changing Places Facebook pages tell me that this happens across the country. One lady said that it seems like those with the most obvious physical disabilities seem invisible to organisations arranging activities for disabled children. How very sad, for these are often the children with limited movement, unable to use equipment in play parks or at indoor play centres. Those children really need help to access quality, fun activities.

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  1. What makes it worse is that these events are often funded as or by a charity or through the council and yet there is nothing to ensure that these events support the whole range of disabilities within the county. Exclusion is painful as an adult, how do you explain it to a child? How awful to watch their pain and know that you can’t do anything about it? All that is needed is some consideration, it’s not hard, it is actually very easy when you plan these events with every person in mind.

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  2. I’m so sorry to read that your son was excluded like this, and it just all seems so ridiculous. How could this happen at an event put on for children with disabilities? I hope your hard work brings about more changes in the near future. x #KCACOLS

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    1. I hope so too. It feels even worse when a group planning a party for disabled children and one which is aware of my campaign didn’t think about these children.

      Next year will be better.x

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  3. I first discovered the social model of disability 3 years ago when doing a health access course in college and I was so like ‘at last someone wrote it down!’ that I talk about it whenever I can now! Any opportunity to explain it to my girl I take as well for instance ‘what if this hand basin was built too high for you to reach, would you then describe yourself as disabled?’ It is my hope that she learns to think things through from the outset. Sorry you were left feeling hurt and left out you would think the party would be accessible for everyone. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We attended a Christmas party by a well known charity a couple of years ago for disabled children. It was brilliant, the only problem was IT was held up two flights of stairs in a very old building. They had a stair lift, but we couldn’t use it because my son is in a wheelchair. Thankfully at the time it was a manual and all the men in charge carried him upstairs in his chair for me. He has a power one now so that’s never gonna happen again.

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    1. We get used to it at mainstream events but it is emotionally destroying when it happens at events specifically for disabled children.

      Like

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