Continued from yesterday (thanks for all the comments).
Please note this what follows written yesterday and not edited as a result of the comments.
... I was absolutely stunned by what she had said. Before continuing, though, I need to say that I immediately understood what was happening. I've seen the 'inclusion run amok' approach to both parenting and service provision. The idea that people with disabilities should only interact with those without has taken strong root in the minds and hearts of many. The irony of including by excluding is obviously not considered. Even so, though I've seen it done to others, I've never had it happen to me. And I didn't like it. Made dispensable. Made irrelevant. Made unwelcome.
There was little time to do anything or say much.
And many will not like what I did.
I spoke to the boy: "I hope no one ever does to you what your mother just did to me." My voice would have communicated that I meant what I said. I couldn't speak to what he felt, I couldn't make that assumption, but I could speak, with authority, about how I felt.
Then, I took a breath, leaving space for protest. No one said anything, so I continued, "Sometimes other people with disabilities know what people without don't. Like what it's like to sit in the front seat, rather than being put into the back."
Mom, regained herself, shocked at what I'd said about her behaviour. Without speaking she grabbed hold of the handles on the back of his chair, and began to push him away. Never has a child, surrounded by family, seemed so utterly alone. He grabbed hold of his tires and held hard. For a second she was unable to move him. He was near crying when he asked, "Does it run well?"
I said, "It does," as he was forcibly pushed away.
It's time the disability community spoke up about COMMUNITY and fought back against the tyranny of the ideas of others.
But this may be hard.
A pipe dream.
Because one of the first things I noticed after becoming a wheelchair user was how my disability affected, not only those without disabilities, but those WITH. Often it seemed as if others with disabilities were embarrassed at being in the same place at the same time with me. As if they purposely avoided eye contact. As if they wanted it clear to others that THEY WEREN'T WITH ME. Sometimes I noticed others with disabilities plainly displaying their relationships with those without disabilities as a kind of, maybe, antidote to the assumption that they'd got off the same bus from the same home as me.
We've been taught, maybe indoctrinated, to believe that relationships with those without disabilities are the more valued. I've been lectured by some with disabilities that the idea of a disability community is ridiculous and the concept of disability pride farcical. Somehow, I believe (and I believe because I choose to believe) that we've been programmed by a constant barrage of messages of our own lack of value and that the value of others can rub off on us.
We have value.
We don't need to borrow the value of another.
And that boy.
The moment he grabbed his wheels in protest - proclaimed an independent spirit.
That moment gave me hope.