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Ableist comments - should I say anything

Hi everyone

Just wondering what your opinions are on something that happened to me today and whether im overreacting?

I recently started doing to classes at my local leisure centre after being referred by OT and physio. I have a physical disability and because of this I use a wheelchair but as this has not always been the case j suffer with anxiety, mild agoraphobia and poor body image problems (I'm working on those). Anyway today I attended a low impact aqua fit class. The staff have been brilliant. They let me take my wheelchair poolside and showed me how to use the hoist etc. Everyone in the class was great and took no notice of me wobbling around 😄

After the class I was in the communal changing area and a class of children (about 10 years) came in... I was still in my costume but in my chair. One of the kids started laughing and stood in front of my face like he was talking to  a baby and said "you do know you can't take that in there!" then turned around to his friend and said "she's trying to swim in her wheelchair oh my god"... their teacher called to them and then another child shouted "someone needs to help that woman get changed" and another said "what? Change her nappies?" and the whole class started laughing and staring at me getting dry. The teacher laughed and didn't say anything to them at all which I was most shocked about. I have school age children myself and I forget how kind and understanding they are as I've been ill for most of their lives. The chikdren were from my daughter's school and I'm wondering whether I should mention it next time I'm there? Obviously not to get children in trouble, because they don't know any better! Just to suggest that someone could have a talk with them and let them know that yes wheelchair users can do sports and swimming, so they understand?

I'm laughing about it now but at the time I was really shocked! Was I being unreasonable?

Replies

  • PTSDdisabledPTSDdisabled Posts: 60Member, Member - under moderation Connected
    @siobhan1

    You should definitely mention it, especially the inaction of the teacher.
  • siobhan1siobhan1 Posts: 73Member Pioneering
    @siobhan1

    You should definitely mention it, especially the inaction of the teacher.
    Its good to know that someone else thinks the same thing. I never know whether I'm overreacting to the smallest things. If they were an adult I would have said something there and then but with them being kids I didn't know what to do. My partner came to help me get changed and they had already gone and he was furious when I told him. I'll mention it tomorrow.
  • topshoestopshoes Posts: 443Member Pioneering
    edited October 2018
    @siobhan1 i am so so sorry about this , this is so upsetting to read how them children was , i would phone up the school tomorrow dont leve it as they will say why has it took you so long to phone , also i think they need a letter home to each  of the child  to their parents so they can see what their have said x and please do say about that teacher , think you should say to where it happened to so they are aware 
  • siobhan1siobhan1 Posts: 73Member Pioneering
    topshoes said:
    @siobhan1 i am so so sorry about this , this is so upsetting to read how them children was , i would phone up the school tomorrow dont leve it as they will say why has it took you so long to phone , also i think they need a letter home to each  of the child  to their parents so they can see what their have said x and please do say about that teacher 
    I definitely will. I wasn't going to but then this afternoon I thought myself that I shouldn't feel embarrassed every week about doing something to help myself... and also if it goes unchallenged then they could potentially say or do something worse to othet people when they grow up. Also there are other people with disabilities at the class and I would feel so awful if I don't say anything and someone else was made to feel embarrassed like that. I just don't want to be someone who complains about the slightest thing but sometimes I think you have to say something.
  • topshoestopshoes Posts: 443Member Pioneering
    @siobhan1 you are in you right to complain , this is so disgraceful behaviour off any one ,and you want to know what is going to be done about it , yes you are right there you dont know what could happen to you or any one else there, please let me know how you get on x
  • Firefly123Firefly123 Posts: 298Member Pioneering
    So sorry to hear that yes I would definitely mention it to the school if only to educate the children 
  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Posts: 5,856Member Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    Goodness, I'm truly sorry you had to experience this @siobhan1.

    Above all else, that sort of behaviour definitely shouldn't have been permitted or encouraged by the teacher. As others have said, it certainly doesn't sound as though you're being unreasonable. If you do mention it, please do let us know how you get on. 
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Posts: 5,298Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I am so sorry you had to experience this @siobhan1 :(

    I agree with all the the comments above. A teacher should be setting a good example for the children, they definitely should have not been joining in laughing with the children! 

    Sending big hugs your way! :)
    You're a fighter. Look at everything you've overcome. Don't give up now!
  • WaylayWaylay Posts: 874Member Pioneering
    You're definitely not overreacting! I'd definitely complain!
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,580Administrator Scope community team
    Im so sorry this happened! I would agree with the other members and speak to the school.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • siobhan1siobhan1 Posts: 73Member Pioneering
    Thank you everyone for your advice. I meant to mention this to the staff today but I had a lot on my mind and forgot. I attended my town's first Disability Support Group and it was such a positive experience... I didn't want to ruin my good day by bringing this up but it's the first thing I'm doing tomorrow. I'll let you know how I get on x
  • topshoestopshoes Posts: 443Member Pioneering
    edited October 2018
    that is such  good news @siobhan1 that you like the group , i am so glad you had a good to today, thumbs up things will only get better for you all now , ok good luck and  yes please do x you are more then welcome x
  • GalDriverGalDriver Posts: 46Member Courageous
    Yes, the teacher needs teaching. Maybe a message (email?) to the head rather than stressing yourself out while you're there to pick up your daughter. 
  • cmcicmci Posts: 36Member Connected
    No wonder you felt as you did - I would have been mortified!  No over reaction!  If you know the school I'd take the advice to email the Head or look on their Web-site and find the Governor responsible for Equality and Disability and either phone or email to bring it to their attention. You could actually help the school by doing that when Ofsted visits because the policies will be reviewed and the issue will be addressed.  I'm a Governor, wheelchair dependent, Rubanesque and Link Governor - I would be grateful to get a mail or phone call.

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