COLUMN: It’s about time society became more civilised and was kinder to the disadvantaged says Westwell of Ely

Rosemary Westwell

Rosemary Westwell - Credit: Archant

It has recently been reported that a ten-year old boy was asked to prove that he was disabled when he tried to board a plane with his parents.

Apparently the system had accidentally wiped out details of his condition – duchene muscular dystrophy.

The family was humiliated and fought furiously to be believed and have his condition recognised.

Fortunately they had their blue badge as ‘proof’. The boy was so mortified with the trauma of his experience at the airport that the next day he had a complete meltdown.

People who are already disadvantaged with a disability and are probably suffering as a consequence should never have to stand their ground and argue with someone about their condition.

Just because you cannot see the disability, it does not mean that is does not exist.

There are so many people with these conditions who, instead of being supported and helped by those around them, are scorned, ignored or even shouted at for being too slow or being in the way when a busy, abled person wants to get on.

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They say a ‘civilisation’ is judged by the way it treats its vulnerable people. Our record so far is obviously not brilliant.

Just because a person looks good and is sitting still with a smile on their face, this does not mean that they are not suffering.

So many disabled people put a brave face on for their family, and try to ignore the constant pain and frustration from not being able to do things for themselves the way they used to.

A number of drivers do not realise how sorely the disability car parking spaces are needed.

There are so many careless drivers who see a space for a blue badge holder and think they have the right to use it - even though they are not disabled and do not have a blue badge.

Traffic wardens checking the blue badges seem to be few and far between but if our populace was civilised, we would not need them.

If it comes to an abled-person squabbling with a more vulnerable one, you can guess who is likely to win the argument.

I think we all will agree that ‘might is not right’, that the blue badge places are there for a reason. It often concerns disabled people’s mobility.

They cannot just get out of the car and walk away. They need more space than usual to be able to manoeuvre their body to be able to get out of the car and to have a wheelchair brought to them.

It is time this civilisation became more civilised and was kinder to the disadvantaged.