Health Visitor questions my ability to parent because I’m in a wheelchair

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Over the past few months my children’s mother has been telling me about two health visitors questioning my ability to parent as I’m in a wheelchair. This week it hit a level I cannot stand by and ignore. They suggested to her that I take them separately instead of together.

Alex TiffinIt’s the 21st century the last time I checked, not the 18th. I say this is as we should be past making assumptions about people because they have a disability.

This is exactly what two health visitors in my area have been doing because I’m in a wheelchair.

This would be fine if they’d actually met me in person but they haven’t.

Assumptions

Around June time my children’s mother Nicola first alerted me to comments made by a senior health visitor. They had questioned my ability to look after my two boys. Their main reasoning was because I’m in a wheelchair. They also asked several questions about my health as they didn’t actually know what was the matter with me.

At first I had no issue with this as I thought if they’re questioning it, they would no doubt visit me and see that it’s clearly no the case. I put it out of my mind.

It was then raised with their mother again a few weeks later in a meeting. Our son has autism so frequently there are meetings to see what assistance can be given to support him better.

Minutes from meeting with health visitor who questions my ability to parent be a I'm in a wheelchair
Minutes from meeting including comments on my ability

The supposed “health professional” was assuming that I would be unable to contain my children within my own home and would ask her questions about how I cope. Nicola then explained that she drops them off every Friday and has seen what I have in place and has no worries at all when I have them.

Despite this the health visitor said that she was concerned about me having them. When I heard this I was annoyed to say the least as at no point had anyone contacted me. Instead, she saw fit to make a pretty broad assumption to a room full of people.

Questioning my awareness

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While having a disability does bring challenges to parenting it also brings its unique solutions. For example being in a wheelchair actually means it’s easier to carry your children as you can sit them on your lap.

Also in a time when more and more things are designed with disabled people in mind, it’s really no different from being an able-bodied parent. It’s mostly common sense.

I wouldn’t take my children if I thought I was risking them so for this to be said not only questions my ability to parent but also to keep them safe.

I’m not an idiot and know fine well if I am too ill I cannot take them. Does that make me sad? Of course it does but I’m not stupid enough to risk their well-being.

New Health Visitor, same questions

Last week Nicola told me how a new health visitor had questioned my abilities again. They wanted to know how I stopped them running out of the house or how I can control my eldest when he’s upset.

Like before their mother advised of measures I have in place. I have catches high up to stop my eldest escaping, just like she does I might add. Just because I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I move at a snail’s pace either. I was really getting annoyed at this point and was considering looking into it more.

However I didn’t have time as this week something was said that pushed me over the edge.

We need to talk about CMV –  Me, My Boy & CMV

Take them separately

Ashton and Alex
My sons Ashton and Alex

At another meeting at my eldest’s nursery the new health visitor, who still has not met me, made a comment that annoyed their mother and myself.

“Maybe he could take the boys alternate weekends?”

I wasn’t there but Nicola tells me she immediately spoke up against this. She correctly pointed out that it would be unfair on the boy’s to separate them every weekend. Plus why should I have too?

As my eldest is at nursery during the week, my boys main time together is at the weekend This so-called “professional on children” is suggesting that they are split up for every single one.

It is also important to note that the health visitor stated that they would not visit me as I “live too far away.”

So lets see the facts of everything here.

  • They’ve never met me
  • They’ve never been to my home
  • They’ve never contacted me
  • They don’t actually know about my health bar from hear-say
  • They don’t plan to visit my home to check

Next steps

I do not intend to let this lie. It’s unacceptable for a registered professional to make assumptions with absolutely no evidence. If the real reason was safe guarding my children they’d have visited me. This is why my question is; why haven’t they?

I mean they are saying that I am unsafe yet aren’t actually doing anything apart from spouting their mouths off to other people.

Health and Social care is integrated in my area with NHS Highland and the Highland Council working together on it. I will therefore have to actually check who is responsible for health visitors before I act.

My main reason for complaining is that they are singling me out because I’m in a wheelchair with no evidence. If they are doing it to me are they doing it to others?

I will let you know how it all goes and of any progress.

Alex Tiffin

@RespectIsVital on Twitter

Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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