Friday, May 1, 2009
My child has a right to play—don't shut him out because he's disabled
Today is Blogging Against Disabilism Day. The definition of disabilism is when a person who has disabilities is discriminated against because of their handicap.
Max is young, so we haven't had to deal with this a lot yet. Except for one incident that happened about nine months ago. We took the kids to a birthday party at one of those kiddie gyms. It was incredibly loud there and Max was getting more and more agitated because of his sensory issues. So I took him to another room were there were two other kids (who weren't a part of the party) and a staffer. That room had a bunch of toys, including some trucks Max could ride on. He was having a great time tooling around, and I felt happy that he was finally enjoying himself.
A few minutes later, the owner of the place walked in and told me that Max and I had to get out of the room because those children's parents had paid for them to have babysitting. I explained to her that he has cerebral palsy and sensory issues, and that he wasn't comfortable playing elsewhere. She could have cared less. She didn't offer up any alternatives.
Max and I ended up spending the rest of the party in the hallway, with him running around doing a whole lot of nothing.
I've never forgotten how angry and helpless I felt on that day. Sometimes, I get pushy when it comes to Max, but it seemed reasonable to expect this woman to help him. After all, our friends were paying for a party. Was it discriminatory, per se? Well, I say that by not accommodating him, yes, it was.
Have you ever felt your child was discriminated against because of his or her disability?