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To ask what you think RE 'disability awareness badges'

(120 Posts)
BahHumPug Mon 05-Sep-11 14:51:14

On the recent theme park thread, some posters suggested that children, or adults, with 'invisible disabilities' - for example, autism, GDD, S&L delay, ADHD etc should be issued with visible badges or passes to alert other theme park users that they may behave erratically or to explain why they are given queue jump privileges. This was suggested to avoid abuse and shouting that these children were being given preferential treatment for no 'obvious' reason.

Other posters compared this to a Nazi-type regime, and others agreed. As someone who works in both a special school and a children's hospice, I am torn. For one, it shouldn't have to come to this - people should not be abusive to those who are different, without the need for a visual prompt to alert them to an issue. But on the other hand, the world will sadly probably never be like this. I know many parents who have children with Autism Awareness badges and bracelets, and it can save a lot of bother and criticism. Personally, I give not a flying fuck if someone wants to stare at me when I'm out with the children I look after - that's their small-minded problem. But I imagine it's different for parents, and I've never experience abuse.

So, thoughts?

beautifulgirls Mon 05-Sep-11 15:00:21

Comes down to personal choice really and which of the two situations makes the parents/carers feel the least awkward. As they get older the person with the hidden disability can hopefully have a bit more input into whether or not they choose to do this. Personally I would prefer that places where priority passes are given out have notices up to explain that some people have hidden disabilities and ask people to be more tollerant. It would go some way to helping and make it less awkward for parents/carers to speak up if there were unpleasant incidents too.

porcamiseria Mon 05-Sep-11 15:01:44

only in a looong queue in a theme park with 1000 shitty people waiting should this be of use IMO

silverfrog Mon 05-Sep-11 15:06:43

we have, in the past, put dd1 in t shirts that say eg "I am autistic. Please be patient with me" or similar. I don't like the ones that say "i'm not naughty, I'm autistic" - don;t like the association with naughtiness.

We only used them at stressful times - eg when travelling dd1 would wear one at the airport/on the plane. no idea if it made a difference or not, but hopefully it did mkae one or two people think, and give dd1 the space she needed.

we tend to do it less now that she is older, as it is more obvious that she is disabled anyway - dd1 is now 7, and cannot be said to be behaving n any way like a typical 7 year old. when she was 3/4/5 it was harder for people to tell, I think, and so that is when we used the t shirts.

I have no problem with wristbands at attractions etc - they are there as much for ease of alerting staff that we are able to go through the exit/into the disabled viewing space etc as to notify members of the public (and I really couldn't give a stuff what they think anyway)

Bartimaeus Mon 05-Sep-11 15:11:05

I read the thread in question (very interesting and informative - thank you to the mumsnetters who posted their experiences).

In the theme park situation, a clear bracelet that proves they are allowed to use the other queue would be useful IMO - but not for a moment do I think you should have to justify WHY you are allowed to use it, just that you are.

As for the other badges, I think it's up to the individual to choose whether it could help, but personally I think society needs to be better educated about all disabilities, hidden and non-hidden, rather than just labelling certain members of society.

I have no personal experience of ASD for example. I have learnt a LOT by reading various threads on mumsnet as well as newspaper articles and novels where people have ASD. I think children in all schools should be taught about disabilities, not just if they have a classmate with one.

2shoes Mon 05-Sep-11 15:19:26

i don't think it would help.
my dd has a wheelchair and her disability is very visible.
doesn't stop people from being nasty, kids from staring and ignorance.
seems sad that someone has to wear a badge to satisfy someone elses jealousy

Kladdkaka Mon 05-Sep-11 15:20:43

Yea! It's not like we're not marginalised enough, let throw in some further public humiliation into the mix to spice things up.

How would you like to be issued with a badge declaring your medical history to world?

LaWeasel Mon 05-Sep-11 15:21:02

I don't think it should be a "this person is different" badge. But a "this person has extra priviledges" badge would be okay I suppose.

I have hearing problems that potentially my kids will inherit. I have to tell people to speak up a lot, and sometimes behave in a way with the DC that other people might think unusual. It's only a tiny, tiny thing, but I wouldn't want anything that drew more attention to it.

unpa1dcar3r Mon 05-Sep-11 15:24:22

Don't think wearing a T shirt saying Fragile X would help with my two! No ones ever heard of it, they'd probably think it was a rock band haha.
But I do think theme parks should be more proactive in enabling people to use their facilities without such hostility from the public (and even from some members of staff when they have no policy at all for exit passes, like at PleasureWood Hills)

Whatmeworry Mon 05-Sep-11 15:33:00

only in a looong queue in a theme park with 1000 shitty people waiting should this be of use IMO

Agree - as someone on that thread pointed out, a long theme park queue is not the best place to find patient, smiling, understanding people - so anything that helps them understand that this is not "queue jumping" would help IMO.

2shoes Mon 05-Sep-11 15:36:26

why not give the nt people the badge, one saying not special enough to jump the que?

sugarbea Mon 05-Sep-11 15:37:16

Op Do you mean a badge so the ride operators know they have a disability or a badge so that everyone else knows and doesn't moan? I would say that the latter is a bit tricky. I have a dd with a "hidden disability" physical but internal so not noticeable to anyone who doesn't know her and I'm not sure that in the future she would want strangers to know personal details about her just because they get a bit umpy. But shes only little at the mo so I can't ask her. grin As far as theme parks are concerned most reasonable people would assume that if a family went straight to the front of the que and allowed in by the ride operator, that they had valid reason to be there. I had an issue on the plane with my dd whereas because of her disability she needs to be close to the toilet, we were given priority for seating. Much to the dislike of a cats bum face woman who made an indirect comment (to who I don't know no one else seemed to care). Part of me wanted to say well shes not even 2 had 14 ops, 3 constultants, has daily dilation procedures without anaesthetic and explain the ins and outs of why she has a disability that the untrained eye can't see, but I thought f it it's none of her business. I asked her if she had something to say to me and she seemed to lose her voice hmm I'm not sure a disability awareness badge would have helped. Some people just like a moan don't they?

borderslass Mon 05-Sep-11 15:40:01

When my DS was small a woman I knew kept harping on about her friends child he had a badge on telling people of his problem's, she wanted me to do the same for my DS I told her exactly what I thought of it. These kids have enough to deal with as it is.

LaWeasel Mon 05-Sep-11 15:44:00

An official "acceptable queue jumpers" badge would work best if you could buy (a v v limited number of them) too. Then it wouldn't be about other queuers being visibly able to see that X person has a disability and should get special treatment, it would just be this person isn't skipping the queue.

cleanandclothed Mon 05-Sep-11 15:44:35

I think it might be ok if the philosophy was similar to the 'baby on board' tube badges. Wearer's choice, lots of pregnant women have them and lots don't. Indicate that the wearer would respond positively to an offer of help.

2shoes Mon 05-Sep-11 15:46:04

we all ready have a system called the Blue badge, it allows disabled people to park in disabled bays and parent/child bays and other places.

look at the way people slam that, and judge and get jealous, can you imagine making a child wear a badge will be any better?

WhoWhoWhoWho Mon 05-Sep-11 15:46:24

Not seen the other thread mentioned. Me and DS (on the autistic spectrum) have just come back from a holiday to Disneyland Paris and his pass for the rides was invaluable - w literally couldn't have done the holiday without it. I didn't notice glares or comments from the people queueing but I have to say I'm pretty thick skinned now anywhere and DS is oblivious to most of the ignorance and nastiness of others. The signs on the exit to the rides at DLP also had a wheelchair sign on so I would have thought most people would have noticed that this was why some people were approaching the exit and being let on the rides without queueing.

DS rides in a Maclaren Major (a special needs pushchair) provided to us by NHS wheelchair services and we have received lots of negative comments about this. I have written on the front of the solid footplate 'Not all disabilities are visible', this tends to stop a portion of the comments and stares.

I don't think people with a disability should have to wear a label or badge for other people's benefit. hmm If it benefits them great (like my wheelchair sign), but I think people should just generally be more open minded and less ignorant.

Marne Mon 05-Sep-11 15:48:15

Dd2 wears a badge if we go out for the day (theme park, soft play ect..), she is 5 and has ASD, i have got fed up with the cat bum faces when dd2 is flapping her arms or having a meltdown, i also find it hard to explain when she doesn't answer people (lots of people talk to her and she ignores them). Dd1 (Aspergers) does not wear a badge, TBH she acts quite normal (i hate that word) when we are out and she is old enough to decide if she wants people to know (and she just wants to be treated like everyone else). I think its ok to put a badge on a younger child (dd2 doesn't really care) but for an older child it would make them feel different from others which is not fair.

Dd2's badge says 'hello, i have autism, please be Patient' and she has another which says 'i have Autism, if found alone please call.........' (which she wears if we are going somewhere where she's likely to run off).

I think its up to the parents and children, i understand people that dont want to label their children, we put a badge on dd2 for her and our biniffit (not the stuck up tw*nts that stare).

slavetofilofax Mon 05-Sep-11 15:54:05

I think it does come down to personal choice if parents want to use things like stickers or t shirts, it would be interesting to hear more opinions on if they have made a big difference or not.

Personally, I feel uncomfortable with it. I have a ds with AS, and there are times when I wish people knew instead of thinking that he is just being rude when they speak to him and he gives an unenthusiastic, mumbled 'hi'. But I wouldn't label him in any way, he just is how he is and if people don't like it that's their problem. When it bothers me, it's my problem to get over, because it certainly doesn't bother ds!

thefirstMrsDeVere Mon 05-Sep-11 15:56:57

Well my problem with this is that are these disabilities really that invisible?

I know I have more experience than average but it doesent take me long to work out that someone has LDs or may have ASD etc. I dont dx them on the spot but its not hard to tell if someone is likely to have a disability.

A guy was walking behind me up the market. F'ing and blinding and being really rude. Within a couple of minutes and a quick glance behind me it was obvious that this was an adult with MH or LDs (or both) doing his shopping with his mum (or aunt). It really didnt take much working out.

The problem is with the person staring or making assumptions. If they waited, watched and listened I think most people could work it out.

Trouble is the ones that dont want to. They would much rather assume somone is queue jumping, scrounging, faking or just being a brat.

If you wore a badge, a hat and a teeshirt stating this wasnt the case - do you think they would believe it?

I am not against t-shirts if parents think they help. I had a rather terse one about eczema to ward off people with miracle cures (for DS).


Peachy Mon 05-Sep-11 16:12:43

I;d go for a notice of the generic kind simply becuase many with asd can't stand tight bracelets on their arms.

I don;t know if you;d work ds1 out MrsDV; definiely ds3 (DS4 looks like a stroppy toddler tbh ATM: deep down I am hoping everything, even the cholalia and blinking, vanishes and that's what it turns out to be) but ds1 takes some spotting. Mind he does fit that 1950's retro / rude teen stereotype quite well soo maybe am deluding myself!

He won;t wear a T Shirt, and as an 11 year old why should I have to force him? His dx is his to sahre as he wishes, he still feels embrassment.

There was a link on here not far back to a thread where some wankers were discussing teh cards NAS sell that explain AD; one poster said he would hit the parent who dared to hand one to him. Sadly these people are out there and I won;t invite the m into my lives by the use of cards / badges etc. I have used T shirts before but very rarely and only when small.

Peachy Mon 05-Sep-11 16:16:51

Actually better than bracelets are the clips like covil servants wear that attack a card to clothing, more (not all) people with ASD anyway would accept these: we used to have one for ds3 saying that he had language delays and could not explain who he was but if he was found to contact X and Y, on a cable tie through his coat zip.

I would perhaps present them in the fashion of VIP passes though: horribly I suspect that morons who can;t accept passes for Sn could accept VIP passes, why is this? And then use the same ones for people who are there on other schemes- becuase other passes do exsist such as annual memberships at some places- people will stop looking for individual stories then.

PonceyMcPonce Mon 05-Sep-11 16:17:36

I understand that some autistic adults have found cards to carry in their wallet with a couple of bullet points about any behaviour that might appear strange and contact details if a carer or appropriate adult, to be very useful. I think they used to be used by people who are non verbal (my FIL) and sometimes those who are deaf.

I wonder if the white stick used by some VI people helps or hinders? (not their getting about obv, but people actually being more thoughtful and accommodating).

Anyhow, i wondered if a wallet card might be a more discreet alternative?

borderslass Mon 05-Sep-11 16:22:42

thefirstMrsDeVere same here I got speaking to an elderly lady who was with her autistic son in a cafe last year. He was pretty obvious with his mannerisms but the looks and comments of others where not nice although maybe it's because we're more tuned in to the characteristics of ASD that we notice.

Glitterknickaz Mon 05-Sep-11 16:22:51

I don't give a fuck any more what people think of me and my kids when we're out and about.

HOWEVER.... I have recently obtained bibic cards which are always with us listing their conditions, medications etc so that in case of emergency that information is there, they cannot communicate it. On the reverse it has instructions on how to deal with them as an individual (as all of them are different despite having the same diagnosis), plus there is a sign in the car in case of accident warning that the children in the car have autism.

I'll do that for safety purposes. It was hell enough getting a 'label' on my children as it is, I don't want to have one permanently fixed to their bodies thanks.

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