“Hate” is such a strong word, isn’t it? I always try to encourage T and D not to say “hate” – I’d rather they used “don’t like” instead.
The definition of hate in the dictionary is:
Dislike intensely, intense dislike; person or thing hated. Hateful: causing or deserving hate.
Does that definition automatically make you think it should apply to a special needs child, or their family? Thought not…
The front page of our local paper carried an example of ” Disability Hate Crime” this week. A mum was catching a bus with her son – who has cerebral palsy – in a wheelchair. According to her, she was sneered at by another mum and shouted at and asked how much she “bribed the NHS to give her the wheelchair”. Shocking and then the poor woman presumably had to endure the stares and tuts from the perpetrator throughout the journey.
I use a SN buggy for D otherwise, to put it bluntly, we wouldn’t get anywhere. I don’t drive and her anxieties around other people being close to her mean that it is not mentally possible for her to walk to school/to the shops/to the bus stop. Quite simply, the buggy is our lifeline. I know there are probably people who think “let her walk, no matter how long it takes, force her” and then you risk her hanging onto a lamppost, howling with anguish because she is so scared.
Hubbie makes a joke that once we are somewhere she is comfortable, say the coffee shop, she hops out to get to a table and it’s a bit like Andy in Little Britain, she’s walking! Because she is settled, she knows where she is, she’s relaxed. It does get stares but you develop a thick(ish) skin and ignore it.
If any of those people walked past our back garden and saw her bouncing on the trampoline, they’d wonder and again, it’s because she’s in her own, safe environment.
The thought of disability hate crime increasing – especially as more cuts come in – worries me and the red-top tabloids take great delight in catching benefit frauds. A DLA award is not for life, it’s renewed every three years and in the majority of fraud cases, it’s injuries that have got better not children who are registered disabled, with a life-long learning disability that can be managed in time, but not cured.
So, what is the answer? More awareness but people have to want and be receptive to making themselves aware. Unfortunately in the vast majority of cases,it takes a diagnosis in the family for this to happen.
So, awareness goes on….are you with me?
Thanks for reading, comments/RTs as ever welcome Jx 😘