Mum and disabled girl abused while shopping
THE mum of a severely disabled girl says she is often challenged and abused after using disabled parking spots while shopping.
Despite having a disabled parking permit displayed in her car, Em Warner said some of the looks and comments she had received after using the parks were "absolutely appalling".
Ms Warner took to Facebook to plead with people to show some kindness and understanding.
"My child has very high needs. She is fully dependent on me, she cannot walk, talk or eat," she wrote.
"She's only got years left apparently and she's 20kg."
"So please, if you are reading this and are one of those people who make the comments, judge or give looks, how about you just look and give a smile instead?"
Ms Warner had hundreds of messages of support to her post about daughter Aishlyn who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
She also has an acquired brain injury, has had two strokes, and a blood clot on the brain.
Her mum uses a special stroller that looks very similar to a normal stroller, but costs four times as much.
"The basic stare, frown or head shake are the normal reactions we get from people, as she looks like a big baby," she said.
"We have a lot of things said, like 'why are you parked here?', 'go to the parents with prams park, you have no right to park here', and 'go park somewhere else' - all when we have a disability sticker showing."
But nothing could prepare Ms Warner for the cruellest comments of all.
"The nastiest of comments was 'why do you even keep her alive?'," she said.
"And the worst thing anyone has ever done was point and said: 'look at that retard' followed by a laugh."
As a sole parent, Ms Warner has no choice but to take Aishlyn grocery shopping, and the comments from strangers made things even more stressful.
"This pandemic has made things extremely tough, and it's mainly because we have been told by medical professionals that if Aishlyn gets COVID-19, she will be hospitalised pretty much straight away," she said.
"She's a high risk. Her immunity is extremely low, and coming into flu season is also bad every year for her. We were in hospital a few weeks ago to get tests for pneumonia and also sepsis, but she came back all good, thankfully."
Ms Warner said she had received negative comments frequently, mainly from middle-aged and older people in the community.
"All I'm wanting for Aishlyn and those with special needs is for people to have an understanding, bring awareness and to share knowledge," she said.
"Don't be afraid that someone's different. I'd rather someone ask a question than give a dirty look or say some rude comment. Or even smile - especially at a time like this, a smile goes a long way."
Originally published as Disabled mum and girl abused while shopping