Having realised that you can’t have a logical debate with people who love their ignorance and are determined to remain ignorant, and also, remembering that, you can lead a human to information but can’t make them think! I decided to write my reply to such a muppet on here rather than to him because I don’t think he would have cared what I wrote as he was determined to believe, as a lot of people do, that blue badges and mobility cars are only for people who are physically disabled and can not walk .
He wrote ‘autism does not affect mobility’
I however beg to differ (as do the blue badge team, the social worker, the DLA, the tribunal panel made up of a doctor, a lawyer and a care professional, other doctors, wheelchair services, and so on)!
‘But she can walk’
10 out of 10 for observation skills in the obvious there!
‘But she doesn’t look disabled’
Oh, because she isn’t confined to a wheelchair, but was only issued a wheelchair voucher to buy a special needs buggy by wheelchair services who are (excuse my continued sarcasm) obviously very open to dishing out equipment to those who don’t need it because the NHS is rolling in cash?
Autism is a hidden disability. Trust me when I say this, I would rather my child able to walk to and around places without having to stop, and sit on the ground and equally not put herself in mortal danger when she decides that she wants to go in a particular direction which happens to be across a road because she has absolutely no danger awareness when she has her mind fixed on something or wants to escape a situation.
A lot of people will assume Dinys propensity to sit on the floor and refuse to move as a stubborn act of defiance by a wilfully naughty child.
They could not be more wrong!
I’d imagine 99% those reading this would have fallen foul to being so drunk that they were severely hung over the next day.
Imagine with that hang over you woke up in, and was made to walk through central London on a windy and busy Saturday. The bright lights hurting your sensitive eyes, the people so loud, cars and buses going past hurt your sensitive ears, the wind hurts your skin- walking makes you feel worse- no one would think twice about you saying you needed to sit somewhere quiet to regain yourself.
The thing is, you got yourself that drunk, it is self inflicted and yet that is more acceptable and understood than an autistic child who was born with sensory sensitivities who experience this assault on their senses on a daily basis wanting to sit down and not moving.
Is it any wonder that my child is struggling to walk while her senses are being overloaded like that?
That is also without the added issues of her severe demand avoidance due to extreme anxiety, and rigid and inflexible thinking. If she can’t go somewhere because she is anxious she will sit and not move and she can’t be bribed, or scolded into moving, she just can’t make herself do it. This again is NOT open defiance, but a scared and fragile child.
To me and you, I am only asking that she accompany me to the shop to get milk and bread, but to her I am asking her to endure bright lights, people, changing temperatures (fridge aisles), loud music, and forced socialising with the till staff where she doesn’t always know how to respond. So she sits down refuses to talk and hopes that I give up and do not ask her to endure that.
The DLA and the blue badge team understand that this is not wilful naughtiness and understand this to be that at times, especially out in public, dinky is, to all intents and purposes, classed as virtually unable to walk in those moments- meaning she can physically do it, but at times can’t hence ‘virtually unable’ not purely ‘unable’.
Then there is the other side of the coin.
Add impulsiveness and single mindedness, to a child who doesn’t understand that the rules also apply to them- what do you get?
A child who frequently uses the times that she isn’t frozen with the sensory overload or demand to walk somewhere, to give me cause for heart failure as she walks or runs into roads before I can grab her and when confronted says things like ‘that was a pretty butterfly’ or ‘I was going to the shop’. She honestly doesn’t understand why I’m so shaken and scared and why I’m telling her off. To her it’s obvious she wanted to follow the butterfly or race to the shop. She doesn’t always understand that I don’t know what she is thinking.
The DLA see this as a lack of basic human intelligence, danger awareness, this added to her meltdowns and refusal to walk in overload or anxiety attack, plus her impaired social skills, reasoning and understanding all come under the hideously named criteria of severely mentally impaired.
So does her autism affect her mobility- yes! Yes it does and I will not be makde out to be a fraud for having a blue badge for her or parking in the disabled bays to protect her or to make caring for her easier.
But if it makes you feel better I generally let her sit in her in her special buggy and push her, so that she can have her iPad on with headphones and block out the sensory input around her which satisfies most people’s need to see a physical manifestation of a disability.