Sometimes I feel like I’m getting somewhere, that we’re getting somewhere. We have a range of places to go, places we know I can get into, places I can feel secure.
It’s impossible to say enough about the effort made by my husband to research places in advance. He spends hours , and I do mean hours, on Google Maps; is there disabled parking? How wide are doorways? Are there any steps? What about disabled toilets?
It’s all too common that somewhere will claim to be accessible but we get there to discover that the inside may be all flat and clear but you have to get up a step in order to actually get in there. Or the doorways aren’t wide enough to allow a wheelchair in.
If you’ve never rolled a mile in my wheels then you don’t see these small details that can have such a massive impact, and I honestly understand that; which is why we always try to gently educate people rather than just being angry or complaining.
Unfortunately, there are some people who genuinely try to argue with me that a place is accessible, and they always know this because they themselves have walked around.
I honestly don’t know how to react to this; the sheer ignorance of these statements is hilariously arrogant, so do I laugh in their face? Do I feel anger? Do I feel shock? Do I take this personally and use it as more fuel to the fire of anxiety that has a permanent residence in my chest?
Well to be honest, it’s a mixture of all of the above.
It always stings when this happens; when I realise I can’t do something with my family that we had planned, and it’s happened all too many times. So often, that my children have come to expect it.
The thing is we understand that it’s so easy to miss things when you aren’t forced to think about it due to your own personal situation, so maybe ask someone who does know before you claim a place to be accessible.
This kind of subconscious ignorance of other people’s needs is forgivable, but what isn’t forgivable is conscious ignorance.
That is just discrimination, and I want to talk more about that in Part 2.