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'you don't look disabled' uuurrrgggghhhhhhhhhh what can you say

(59 Posts)
chobbler Tue 01-Nov-11 23:25:24

New school (second day) new playground whisperings, parents not the kids.

There is one wheelchair bound grandparent being pushed around the playground, and me, shuffle crutch woman. There is only one disabled space...

Now I didn't say anything in the playground to anyone about my illness, it was however put on the application form for school so they know about DD's occasional carer role at home. I have a 'gimme space for my door' sticker on the car but nothing else.

I managed to take DD out trick or treating yesterday only because of the frequent stopping. I should have taken my crutches but took the, elderly walks dead slow, dog instead. There was one parent in the group whispering to her friends something while looking at me, then I heard 'doesn't look disabled.' At this point my heart sank.

We stayed with them but they kept walking faster, no way I could keep up, and I was in agony and exhausted after half an hour, so we came home. I went to bed early and spent most of the night unable to sleep, painkillers wouldn't touch the pain. I could barely stand/move today.

Today I got to school early to get a space close to the gates, couldn't get one so let DD walk herself in and watched from the car. When it came to collection I was able to get the disabled space by arriving very early, determined to use my crutches as little as possible, I shuffled into the playground sat and waited for DD to come out.

And again I hear mutterings about my car being in so and so's space and how I was just lazy. I was sitting on so and so's bench etc, the same parent as yesterday. I don't want a battle, questions or misplaced pity, I would just like the subject to be left alone. Is it really too much to ask?

And yes I will be tripping certain people with my crutches if I get half a chance wink

AmberLeaf Tue 01-Nov-11 23:35:19

Im tempted to say, what you should say to them starts with F--- and ends with off!

PigeonPie Fri 04-Nov-11 22:43:26

That's so horrid for you. I have no idea what to say and I've no idea what I would say if it happened to me.

However, is it worth a quiet word with the head to ask if something about more than one person needing the disabled space can be put in the newsletter or even if they can put in another space? They must have a policy about Equality and Diversity which could be edited and published.

chobbler Sat 05-Nov-11 14:59:59

I'm aghast I have just realised the person doing the muttering has actually seen our application. As my statement to the head was quoted almost word for word by her to someone else. Damn it I'm going to use my crutches next week even if I don't need to and I will trip her up.....

NettoSpookerstar Sat 05-Nov-11 15:07:26

I'm getting my motability car in a few weeks and am not looking forward to this aspect of it.
I get told all the time that I don't look disabled, though no one's been rude so far.
I just ask them what disabled looks like which makes them think and usually apologise.

I'm sure I'll get hassle over parking spaces to which I may have to answer with a swift fuck off!

PositiveAttitude Sat 05-Nov-11 15:23:57

Sympathies Chobbler. My DD3 is disabled due to illness and a while back we took her to a coffee shop for a very rare trip out of the house, pulled up to a "blue badge" space, put the badge on the dashboard and whole family piled out of the car. This old dragon lady waited for us all to get out and said "not one of you looks disabled". I tried to politely tell her that it was DD3 who had the badge, showed her it and she said that DD was "lucky to not look disabled!" shock Lucky!!???? I tell you, she was lucky that I had to concentrate on a now very tearful DD3 rather than turn my anger on her! Ignorant people! Just stick to what you need and they will be shown up for their ignorance soon, hopefully!

chobbler Wed 16-Nov-11 11:51:43

I had a breakthough yesterday! Said mum was in local supermarket at same time and walked past, as I was putting away my shopping with the staff lady who comes out to help me. And had to walk past me in my car with blue badge in disabled space getting help from store staff... couldn't mutter at pickup in the afternoon and just blanked me.

Then within earshot I was asked by a preschooler why I always sat down on the wall because the children aren't allowed to do that. I said my legs always felt like jelly but I didn't like using my sticks in the playground so I sat down to wait because I couldn't stand. To which the preschooler said in a very loud voice, 'it's a shame your legs don't work properly you can't skip or run' 'I know' says I, 'but I can do things very slowly and I might get a chair with wheels one day so I can stay sat down and not have to worry about my jelly legs'.

And by the shade of red a certain cow went I think the message may have got through. well here's hoping anyway.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Wed 16-Nov-11 12:15:05

"You don't look disabled..."

"Well - you don't look ignorant - but looks can be deceiving!"

PositiveAttitude Wed 16-Nov-11 12:36:01

Brilliant SDTG I will remember that one!!

And grin Chobbler

CMOTdibbler Wed 16-Nov-11 12:51:25

Well done Chobbler - I like the way children just ask their questions and move on. And hopefully that cow will mind her manners now grin

SunnyCarrie Thu 17-Nov-11 11:50:32

Oh boy this bugs me so much.

Society on the whole seems to misunderstand disability definition, they think that to be disabled you must look a vegetable. Good on you for not wanting to use crutches and trying to look normal, I understand that mentality.

I don't wish to look a spanner! I don't want to kit myself up in all the splints my doctors feel I should kit myself up in because they would make me more rubbish and disabled, not less. Putting great big hand splints on would mean I would not be able to hold my baby son at all! I would not be able to feed him as I have paediatric hands and splint gauntlets are far too huge so I can't flex my fingers. I would not be able to change his nappy without scratching him etc. I very much understand someone who does not want to be forced to use visual aids for the public.

I know some people who don't need to be in a wheelchair but choose to be because it means more is done for them,doors held open for them,given help by store workers to get things of the shelves,they are not challenged on disability.I do believe a lot of disability can be helped by a bit of positive thinking, you will always have the "I can't" people who by thinking they can't make themselves more disabled.Then there are the "I blooming well can even if I have to do it slowly or differently" people who keep trying, keep moving the best they can. We should not feel that we are in the wrong for being the "I can do it" people, don't use your crutches if you don't want to. If you would rather have the dignity of not using them and walking to a bench slowly then I say you go for it!

By the way if I was in that school playground I would instantly warm to you so you are not alone in your thoughts or ways of conducting yourself.


My blog for disabled parents:

madhairday Sat 19-Nov-11 18:03:27

That's awful, OP, how has that parent been with you since then?

I love SDTGs response, someone gave me that one a couple of years back and I've loved it since (but not used it, one day I will summon up the courage..)

I've usually gone quiet and stammered 'well you can't see lungs' or something similar, it's degrading and shameful that people are made to feel like this. All more products of a Daily Mailified society sad

chobbler Sat 26-Nov-11 11:41:16

UPDATE- I saw an old friend at the school gates as I was going to get DD, madam was behind me ( I already knew that) old friend called across street hello, haven't seen you in ages- got to be two years at least, what are you doing here? And OMG WHERE ARE THE STICKS?

I haven't laughed that hard in my head for ages. Guess what I got a chipper hello and spoken to the next day. Well Guess again madam I will be polite but you can f right off my Christmas card list.

worzelswife Sat 26-Nov-11 17:50:54

People like this are SO DAMNED RUDE, aren't they? They make me WANT TO SHOUT. They have no idea what life can be like with an invisible disability. I think I have just got to the stage where I shrug my shoulders and mentally tell them to fuck off. Or next time you see them turn up with every bit of equipment going - splints, wheelchair, crutches, whatever you use. Make them feel as guilty as possible.

But honestly, these people don't matter. They have no idea. They don't want to understand. So don't waste your breath with them.

And I'm glad about the update.

chobbler Sun 27-Nov-11 00:04:55

WW there was another mum in the playground moaning about these so called high strength painkillers she needed for her back. The weren't even prescription only. I'm going to look for a wheelchair after Christmas so I can go out with the family again, sick of staying home or waiting in the car or worse still going and having hubby huffing I can't walk quick enough. that would shut madam up once and for all.

sashh Fri 16-Dec-11 06:24:24

My usual come back - you don't look like a complete idiot.

fallenpetal Sun 18-Dec-11 22:59:12

Ug I get this all the time too it makes me so cross - she isnt disabled just fat and lazy! I dont use sticks all the time either, they are so cumbersome and the amount of people who still walk into them or accidently kick them causing me even more pain is amazing!
I find it even more amazing when I do use them people who have known me for years ask what Ive done! Errr nothing just a flare up!
So glad you got through to her!

SerenityNOT Fri 09-Mar-12 21:30:18

"I know I don't 'look' disabled, but you don't look 'thicky thicky thick thick. How do you cope with your appearance not matching the 'real' you?"

netime Thu 26-Apr-12 11:06:32

we had the same thing happen with my dh, as some days are good and he can shuffle along others not so good, i love some of his answers id never be that brave lol here goes "you dont look disabled"

1. you dont look like a dick head but i guess looks can be deceptive (with other variations ie twat prick or the awful c word)

2. want to check my underwear as i have no bowl control

3. want to see my prosthetic and starts unzipping his trousers!!!

4 or the most common one if he cba is basically F**K OFF

people have no right to judge others unless they want to be judged themselves

carernotasaint Thu 26-Apr-12 23:07:30

Its pure disabilism

zoeymlucas Thu 17-May-12 13:40:21

God dont I know how this feels only today I parked in a disabled bay and had an old lady complain that she wanted to park there (she was behind me in the que) and someone of my age (28) shouldnt be using disabled places, dont I know she had a hip replacement 3 years ago!!

If I had better legs I would of dropped kicked her accross the car park and saved her the walk into the shop! I proceeded to tell her how I had BOTH of my legs cut inhalf just below the hip socket and rotated and re built with plates, 3 pins and a bolt and on top of that one of the plates is wrong and does not sit on the bone but instead sticks into my muscle and because of the compensation of walking to try and ease the pain I will need my knee re surfaced!!! I might not 'look' disabled but thats more due to the morphine, tramodol and codermal cocktial I take daily to be able to actually get to the shops!!!

weegiemum Fri 25-May-12 08:55:57

I've had this too. I've got CIDP, a chronic nerve condition, and have no feeling in my lower arms, legs and face. On a good day I can walk half a mile easily. On a bad day, I can hardly take 5 steps and need a wheelchair. I only use the blue badge on a bad day and I've only had it 8 weeks and have already had 2 people challenge me about it using the "you don't look ....." line.
Not sure if it's relevant but both have been older women in their 70s/early 80s. Kind of feel that they think if they can manage so could everyone!!

I would love to use sdtg line! Or, I also heard "if you want my space you can have my disability to go with it!" <passive-aggressive grin>

hhhhhhh Sat 26-May-12 21:08:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

beabea81 Fri 15-Jun-12 12:25:36

i don't know why but i seem to get a lot of dirty looks from old people when using the disables parking bays, does anyone else?? yes, i am young compared to you, but it doesn't mean i can't be disabled & in as much pain as you! : (

yesterday i was parking in a disabled space & while i was straightening up a car pulled up alongside me & the 2 old people in it just stared at me, then the woman started shaking her head at me & tutting! i'm not sure what they wanted me to do - maybe to give up my space which was the last one, & drive off so they could have it because they are older?! So I held up my blue badge in my window to them & mouthed "i have a blue badge!". He didn't really do anything, just drove off, but the old woman in the passenger seat carried on shaking her head, gave me a really evil look & off they went!

Reenypip Thu 28-Jun-12 15:08:52

Has anyone else had this?
My partner and I pulled into a disabled space, and then we get 'old' people (65+) that give dirty looks and can even start to walk over to us mouthing some abuse.
For me, I use a wheelchair, so it's more visual, so once my partner gets my chair out they shut up and walk off.

Also, when we've been waiting for a disabled space, been waiting ages, another car comes along with 'old' people and they drive straight into the space we have been waiting for, for ages!

I also have a one year old son now, and when my partner, my baby boy and I first pull up into a disabled space, we have had comments such as 'you shouldn't be parking in these spaces with a child', well excuse me, just because we are young looking and have a baby, doesn't mean to say one of us isn't disabled!?

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