Family Life

'Folks don’t really understand disabilities' - Mum's take on disability announcement cards

Mum-of-four, Adrian Wood, has vented her frustration at disability cards. 

At first, she had considered they were a good idea until she learned more information than she could cope with. 

The mum really wanted to like the cards when she first heard about them; the cards introduce your child, also detailing why they may not trick or treat the standard way. 

Writing for Tales of an Educated Debutante, mum states: "Truthfully, I really wanted to like them. They are well designed and child friendly and you can fill out your child’s information."

"The cards which I thought initially were to be pinned on a costume, are actually to pass out as your child trick or treats. Now, let me just say, I have no problem with being real and honest, but this card thing burns me up."

"What if we suggested that adults with invisible disabilities hand out these cards on commuter trains or maybe in a crowded bathroom. After all, they need a seat more than you or could march right up to the front of the line and take their rightful position. If only it were that easy."

"Sharing a story that encourages folks to use the small stall unless absolutely necessary enlightened me on a big thing. Folks don’t really understand disabilities."

Adrian has found people make excuses, using disabled bathrooms because they're cleaner or because disabled people need to wait their turn in line too. 

"News flash: people with disabilities or families who have children aren’t 'like everyone else'. Nope, they are even more amazing because every day they have to take ten steps for a typical person’s one."

"Life requires extra planning, flexibility, energy, and love."

As a mum of a child with an invisible disability, Adrian does not want her four-year-old son to have to hand out cards stating his disability, instead, this mum is going to talk to people. 

"Let’s have a conversation and I’ll be honest and hopefully you’ll see the amazing joy that my shark/Peter Pan/R2D2 (we can’t decide) brings our family."

"Life is not understood by printed messages on cards. Empathy is built upon interactions, relationships and putting yourself in another’s shoes."

"Be kind. That’s all that is required, be kind. Kind people don’t demand little boys say trick or treat or judge parents whose children may 'appear' rude or refuse to wear a costume."

Because this mum believes kind people will recognise a regular family trying to do a simple thing like trick or treat, smile and be friendly.

Adrian states: "They don’t need a card."

How would you feel about these cards – would the cards be helpful or do you agree that a conversation is worth a lot more?

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