More often than not, parents of children with special needs find themselves in need of others' help. Having to rely on the help of others can prove difficult at times, especially when needing assistance to perform basic things.
Simple daily activities most people take for granted require a tremendous amount of planning and effort. No matter how hard it is to take, the reality is that disabled children's needs are more complex and challenging. They need greater protection, undivided attention, and continuing support to complete common tasks.
If day to day schedule is difficult, travelling with a disabled child may simply be perceived as a daunting task. Preparation and planning is extensive and exhausting.
I remember how it could take up to one month to coach my son mentally for a trip. Because of his condition, cerebral palsy, sudden changes in his daily routine can create emotional distress. A diligent and timely preparation for a trip ensures sparing him from most foreseeable stress.
Because of my self consciousness, having to ask others to assist with my son's needs made me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes my request was not even taken into consideration, others I'd be given some assistance in the form of "personal favour". Irrespectively of the outcome, I was grateful even for the least assistance given. It has taken me some time, but I have come to realize how wrong this approach is!
Truth of the matter is that my son has the same right to enjoy a trip and participate everyday activities just like any other child. Like any other human being, he has the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, the same dignity and fairness he has not received in several occasions.
It took a long time, but I finally realized that dignity was the key element missing in most of his previous trips. There is no dignity in having to beg for support one has the right to receive. There is no rational explanation to the systematic denial of the assistance that should ensure a disabled child can expect the same services all other children enjoy. It is unreasonable to have to hope for the best when assistance is to be made available on request.
I truly believe the time has come to make sure that anyone with a temporary or permanent disability will be treated with dignity and fairness, and given the assistance they may need. We have to make sure that we, as a society, make an effort and work towards the common goal of making life better for the most vulnerable amongst us, to preserve their dignity and develop their equality.