Family Magazine

When Judgement Becomes Dangerous

By Mmostynthomas @MostynThomasJou

That grin!


Issy really is as cheeky as she looks. The other week, I tried to get her to do handprints. Once in her coverall and shower cap (she has a plastic one shaped like a strawberry) and strapped in her floor-sitter, I held out the paint pot for Isobel to dip her hand in.

And then it stayed there. I watched her breathe, while slowly, a delicious smile spread over her face. It was all I could muster to get her hand out of the paint pot so she could start spreading it round on paper.

It’s not the first time Isobel has played up her disabilities.

“Nobody does floppy like Isobel,” Miles said, while trying to get her to practice sitting upright on the sofa. Of course she wouldn’t. Instead, she decided to drop down, so hard that Miles was forced to gently lower her to the floor, the two of them laughing all the while.

I filmed the whole episode. Every time we watch it, we wind up crying with laughter, it’s so funny. Isobel’s giggles indicate that clearly, she is enjoying every minute too.

But I can’t put it on the blog. We’re worried about how disabled she looks in it. It’s not that we’re ashamed of it; rather, we know from experience that very, very few people – outside of families with CP kids and people who themselves have CP – will ‘get’ that film clip. In other words, they won’t see past the disability.

Of course, I have uploaded other film clips of Isobel before. I have no qualms about those, because they clearly show her working hard on her progress. These are plenty of those going viral. But this particular video is an exception. It shows a little girl actually playing up her disabilities – a lighter side of life that people outside the family rarely know about or understand, unless they are disabled themselves.

Once, Miles went to pay for petrol and left Isobel asleep in the car. It took him longer than he liked, so upon his return he found himself facing the police. A woman driver had seen Isobel flopping forward, and misinterpreted it for distress. They wouldn’t believe Miles when he tried to explain, so he had to wake her up just to demonstrate how disabled she was.

Guess what Isobel did the moment she woke up? She beamed at her dad. Hardly the reaction of a distressed child.

Unfortunately, because the police chose to take the woman’s word for it – rather than Miles’ – they sent the social worker round and he had to explain himself all over again. The social worker practically told the police off for their over-reaction, and Miles himself considered a formal complaint, but decided against taking it further.

Especially now, while Operation Yewtree is continuing, there is far too much hyperbole around children with disabilities. I don’t dispute their vulnerable status for a minute – of course not. But ignorant, judgemental people do read into children’s behavior far too easily, without first understanding their condition.

I’d go so far as to say they can be dangerous, because they risk jeopardising the child’s safety, robbing them of a happy, loving family who could give them all the security they could ask for. It can and does happen – and in the Twitter age, we all know the consequences of untrue allegations spreading like wildfire.

That is why I will not put the film clip on the blog. I wouldn’t usually hesitate; both Miles and I are desperately proud to be Isobel’s parents, and we show her off willingly and without shame.

But it is for both Isobel’s protection and ours that the film is not available on YouTube. I am not prepared to allow our family lives to get ruined by empty judgment and gross stupidity on the basis of a video that in actuality, shows nothing more than a giggly little girl at play.

51.807220 -0.812766

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog