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.
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?
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.