Sunday, 28 February 2010

Parenting in the face of Prejudice

This has been a tough week. It has involved justifying myself and my family in a way I haven't had the misfortune to for some time.

For reasons known only to themselves one of the parents at H's school has seen fit to persistently complain about our use of the Disabled Parking space at school. This is frustrating and infuriating on so many levels.  

First, I have the only disabled child in the school and am not preventing anyone eligible from using this space. Second, I HAVE a Blue Badge, since H would regularly run off, requiring third party intervention more than once and impressively bringing Colchester High Street to a standstill on more than one occasion. He has been a clear danger to himself and others and his paediatrician recommended I apply. Third this misguided person has not had the courage to discuss my use of this space with me, or even with the Head in person, but has instead resorted to anonymous emails from an address not registered with Parentmail and leaves his/her ignorant ramblings unsigned. 

This isn't the first time this has happened to us or my friends with Autistic children and will most certainly not be the last but that doesn't make this outdated, narrow minded bullying (for that's what it is) acceptable.

Now I'm totally thrilled for this person that their life is so free of other stresses and worries that the location of my car is uppermost in their mind, although I do find it rather sad that they clearly have such an empty, unfulfilled existence that remotely bullying parents of disabled children pushes their buttons. But what *really* upsets me is their obstinate assertion that my child is not disabled. Of course, assuming they have any knowledge whatsoever about him and his multiple, complex diagnoses, our life and how challenging just getting him to school is (let alone keeping him there) what gives ANYONE the right to judge someone else's child in this way?

Our modern, inclusive society promotes cultural and religious toleration and understanding and encourages empathy and consideration for those less fortunate. So it is distressing and depressing that so many still consider only physical, "visible" disabilities to qualify for support. I have friends who have been approached in supermarkets and loudly offered advice on parenting their "unruly" children and have been told myself I should "not have been allowed more children because I cannot control my son" and these views filter down to their offspring who frequently tell me when I am helping in school that my son is the "naughtiest boy in the school" and their "mummy says he should be made to leave and go elsewhere". 

Those who bully the parents of Autistic children (or any others suffering invisible disabilities) should take a long, hard look at themselves and thank God their little ones do not have a daily battle for acceptance, understanding, and the liberty to be themselves in a world they have as much right to exist in and be part of as any other child. Life is not a level playing field and allowances should be made for those less fortunate, and a little sympathy meted out for their parents - for whom life is never going to be plain sailing.  

1 comment:

  1. I just cannot comprehend the actions of ignorant people like that..I am so sorry you are going through this(((hugs)))


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