We love to spend days out as a family. We have visited some places that we would never take a wheelchair to again and some we will visit time and time again.
I always check via the websites how wheelchair-friendly places are before we go but there are other things that make the days less daunting and as a family these 5 things make a great day out.
It seems obvious, but some places say they are wheelchair-friendly – you get there and there are 15 steps up to the entrance. We once went to somewhere that claimed to be wheelchair-friendly and while the grounds were accessible none of the activities were. A good website will explain exactly where you cannot go with a wheelchair. We’ve been to some farms that have playgrounds for special needs children and they are amazing!
It sounds really cheeky but if I am at a theme park where my daughter cannot go on a lot of the rides, I want a discounted rate for either her or a carer (or both!). If we have to pay full price and we then get told she cannot go on the rides or her wheelchair cannot get in some of the cafes then I feel angry. If we have paid less, or Bella got in free, then I am quite happy to accept that she cannot access everything.
A lot of queues in bigger theme parks have steps, they are busy and they are really long. It can be quite daunting getting Bella on and off a ride from her wheelchair and so it’s easier to get her straight on and not worry in a queue for an hour how we are going to do it. Walking up to the exit and getting straight on a ride is good fun, I’m not going to lie! However, don’t give my daughter a bright red bracelet that says DISABLED in black writing; it just seems a bit mean.
Disabled access toilets that aren’t shared with Baby Changing
Why do disabled toilets always have to share with baby change? I have a four-year-old who is desperate for the toilet and I have to wait behind a queue of people wanting to change a nappy. I appreciate it has to be done somewhere but baby changing rooms should be separate. We’ve had many an accident because people take 15 minutes changing their baby and there is nowhere else to go. Also, it smells bad when people leave dirty nappies in the bin. I’m yet to find somewhere that has a children’s disabled toilet, but that would be amazing!
You can always tell when staff have had the correct training. They don’t bat an eyelid when you come along. They talk to Bella, they ask polite questions about any assistance you may need or not need, but most of the time they just know what to do. Some feel completely uncomfortable and out of their depth, some even ignore you and make you feel like you shouldn’t be there, needless to say this ruins a day out.
While we try to make any day-out a fun one for the children, it’s made so much easier if you’re visiting somewhere that obviously wants you to be there. We don’t want to be treated like royalty we just want to be able to access everything where possible and feel like they have made the effort to include everyone.
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