Marie’s column: “They just see my impairment and nothing else”

This is an article from Unfold magazine.

At three foot six and with brittle bones disease, Marie has a unique perspective on the world. This time, she tells you about something that she still experiences way too often – awkwardness.

Life has its awkward moments, doesn’t it? But when you’re disabled, there’s a whole extra layer of awkwardness.

When I’m out with my 20-month-old Mark, I get a lot of stares. And you’d be amazed at what people say. They assume that Mark is disabled too – they ask me if he can walk, just because he’s in a buggy!

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Like when a woman asked me if Mark was my brother. When I told her, ‘no, he’s my son’, her face turned bright red. She was so embarrassed.

It’s not like this everywhere, though. At the children’s centre, where I’ve been taking Mark since he was a baby, nobody bats an eyelid.

It’s normal to them that Mark’s mum is disabled and uses a wheelchair, because they know me and they see me as an individual. There aren’t any barriers between us – we’re just parents wanting the best for our kids.

But with lots of other people, the barriers stay up. They just see my impairment and nothing else, or they feel awkward about saying the wrong thing so they don’t say anything at all.

Scope’s End the Awkward campaign is using humour to break down these barriers, and that’s why it’s so great.

I know that your support helped make the campaign happen, so thank you!

Read more about End the Awkward in Unfold

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

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