Public transport with a disabled child

The reason I’ve decided to do this blog post is because today we had a bit of an issue where a man was sitting on the front seat on the bus and totally refused to move, Wilson’s nana (my mum) is over from Spain and she was pushing Wilson’s pram while I sat down with Wilson’s sister Ava. She asked the man if he could kindly move his feet so we could fit the pram on, she had to ask a couple of times before he slightly moved his foot and carried on reading his paper. My mum was trying to hold back the pram to stop it hitting against his legs. (just wanted to add here that the bus wasn’t actually that busy and he could have very easily moved to a different seat) About half way into our journey he looks up from his paper and says “can you stop that from hitting against my legs” so my mum explained that the pram couldn’t go back any further and she was trying to hold it as still as she could so it didn’t hit his legs. Now, I don’t know the full story as I was sitting at the back of the bus but I overheard him saying at one point “why should I have to move!?” To which my mum replied “I’ve not asked you to move and I’ve not said you should but you do have the option of the other seats on the bus, this pram is actually a wheelchair and it cannot be folded down, there’s no where else we can move to”

She certainly handled it a lot better than I would have done! He stared her out the rest of the journey and of course, did not move. What I find frustrating is that these spaces are designated for wheelchairs and if anyone was to look at Wilson’s pram, it’s actually quite obvious that it’s not just a standard pram and it is in fact his wheelchair, we have even bought a little sign to go on his pram so people are aware that it should be treated as a wheelchair, we bought this from bags of style and have had it a while, it’s been great! When Wilson got his first specialist pram I didn’t really want it to look like a wheelchair and didn’t want people to stare or to be treated any different, but the reality is that we need people to be aware that it’s not just a buggy and it can’t be folded down, I can’t take Wilson out and take it apart because 1. It doesn’t actually come apart or fold down 😄 And 2. Wilson can’t sit up on his own, he needs that pram.

I don’t think we should get any special treatment (although any help when on public transport is welcomed of course!) and I don’t think we are any better or any different from anyone else travelling on public transport but we do need people to have a bit of an understanding when it comes to taking Wilson on a bus or a train, he needs a seat just like anyone else, it just so happens that he travels with his seat! Which is why, on public transport there is spaces for wheelchairs. If you see us and you have a pram that folds up, I know it’s a bit of a hassle – I’ve been there with Wilson’s sister! But please, if you can, fold it so we can travel to where we are going (usually an appointment for Wilson!) just like you. If you have maybe just come off a plane and have lots of bags that you’ve put there and you see us coming on, I know you’re probably tired and you’ve no where else to really put your bags but please, just move them far enough so Wilson can go there. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for him or anything like that, and Wilson certainly doesn’t want that either, he just wants to be treated like anyone would like to be treated and if he could then I know he would love to go to the back of the bus and take a seat, or go anywhere on the train but for now, we need that space.

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