People are far too quick to assume that children are lazy these days! Both of my children have a condition called hypermobility syndrome. Hypermobility is when your joints have a greater range of movement than normal – some people aren’t negatively affected at all, they can bend and really use it to their advantage, even as footballers, dancers and gymnasts! However, there are some that do have significant pain from this condition, and it can co-exist with other conditions or form part of a big one.
My children’s joints have to work so much harder than those of a normal child just to keep them upright and do things that every child should be able to do. A simple visit to the park is not simple. My children’s knees and ankles can and do like to slip, causing them to fall and hurt themselves. So if you see a child sitting down on that spare chair in a museum or in that disabled spot on the bus, please stop and think. They are not necessarily being lazy or inconsiderate – they might really need that seat! They may not have a visible disability, but they can be just as prone to have serious pain and just because they are a child, doesn’t mean they can’t have these issues. It annoys and upsets me to get the sly looks and the whispers from older generations, especially if I put my child in the disabled seat, or heaven forbid borrow the store wheelchair!
It is hard enough being the parent trying to just get on and do normal everyday things, go out have fun, when it can be such a huge issue. You can’t plan as what can start as a good day can and often does quickly turn into a bad one. Painkillers do not always do the trick either.
Not everything is clear cut and having invisible disabilities needs more understanding and care from people. Stop and think, don’t criticise – even in your head – without knowing the facts. Disability is not just confined to a wheelchair – far from it!