My last blog outlined an incident during a recent hospital appointment when a consultant inferred that I couldn’t look after my own children. It upset and angered me in equal measures but it unfortunately isn’t the first time that I’ve been undermined as a disabled parent – again by a healthcare professional.
Over the summer, our eldest son developed a nasty habit of sucking and licking his lips excessively, making them extremely sore. Knowing how difficult it is to get a GP appointment at the moment, I decided to take him to our local pharmacy.
Instead of being prepared to listen to me as I explained the problem, the pharmacist asked me several times if I had anyone with me or someone at home who could help me phone 111 as she was advising. Even though I had independently brought my child to the pharmacy, I was apparently uncapable of following her advice without assistance. To make matters worse, she then started asking my seven year old if there was someone at home who could help me. I was furious as I explained to her that as a parent who had just brought her child there, I was quite capable of making a call and I swiftly left the store.
This was one of the first time Jack had experience this kind of ignorance directed at me and as we walked home, I explained to Jack that if that situation occurred again, he should just tell the person to speak to me. It was the approach my mum took when I was young and now I was having to explain this to my son – 30 years on. It’s so saddening that as disabled people, we’re still battling the same prejudices and attitudes that have existed for all too long.
I’ve said it for years: people don’t expect disabled people to be parents but WHY?